Who is Engage Nova Scotia?
Engage Nova Scotia is a certified non-profit charity that is led by an experienced, non-partisan board of directors from around the province. Engage works to create opportunities for more Nova Scotians to be inclusive, embracing of change, collaborative and active in tackling the province’s challenges.
The Ivany Report and the One NS Coalition anchored their comments in three themes - our challenges of a) economy, b) demography and c) attitude/culture. The primary focus of Engage is on the third theme of attitude/culture. The Ivany Report specifically pointed to Engage as an organization that could bring new ideas and fresh attitudes to Nova Scotia (Page 67).
What are some examples of what Engage has done?
For two years, Engage has coordinated bringing together thousands of Nova Scotians and newcomers to Nova Scotia in dinner occasions on Thanksgiving weekend. The purpose is to break down the barriers that prevent newcomers from sinking roots in our province. In real numbers (not as percentages) this initiative has matched more families than any other part of Canada.
With a diverse group of partners, Engage led the convening of a first of its kind province-wide conversation about the future of the province. It linked 12 communities from Yarmouth to Sydney in a live-streamed experience that challenged Nova Scotians to “Step Up” and take action on what holds us back. Every one of the 12 communities was part of a follow up meeting to ensure action resulted. The event resulted in over 200 activities that participants committed to take action on – many of which continue to present. The event directly reached over 1600 participants.
Engage led the convening of another first of its kind conversation – this time between Mi’kmaq and non-Mi’kmaq Nova Scotians about what a “New Relationship” could look like. National Chief Perry Bellegarde and former Prime Minister Paul Martin led a large audience of Nova Scotians in a participant-engaged day of finding new solutions that have led to tangible new outcomes.
In cooperation with private sector leaders and visionary municipal leaders, Engage spearheaded community conversations in Cumberland County and Amherst which has engaged hundreds of people in workshops that have resulted in the creation 6 citizen-led groups tackling a) business growth b) retaining youth c) increasing tourism d) revitalising the downtown e) improving leisure and recreation and f) creating an age-friendly Amherst.
Engage commissioned a survey of the attitude of 1000 Nova Scotians toward Nova Scotia – Is Nova Scotia a good place to live? Are we willing to change? Are we unified in our efforts to improve the province? How do we rate the importance of improving our quality of life? Who is best to lead change? This resulted in a five-week series with CBC to unpack these issues. This is being followed up with four community conversation about the results of the research – in Digby, Pictou County, Sydney and Halifax.
Evaluation & Reports
Measuring the results of work on culture and attitude is challenging to quantify and success will not happen overnight, given the complex nature of the work. Engage is focused on various evaluation and measurement techniques. For example, with its attitude research, Engage has established 2015 baseline data to help gauge in future years whether, for example, more Nova Scotians are more collaborative, inclusive, embracing of change and active in addressing our challenges. It’s events are also evaluated by the participants to ensure continuous quality improvement.
Please find our 2015 Annual Report here.
How is Engage funded?
Engage appreciates the financial support it receives from the people of Nova Scotia. This comes through the substantial funding we receive from the provincial government, municipal governments, the private sector and institutions. All funding comes with the expectation that we will use it well and be accountable for how it is spent. A complete list of our donors can be found here.