Background on the Dashboard

The Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy proposed 19 “stretch” goals to encourage Nova Scotians to push our limits and aim for profound change. Stretch goals are visionary, ambitious, and difficult to achieve.

To signify if improvements are being made, each goal is assigned a progressing or not progressing status:

  • A goal is progressing if the indicator is moving substantially closer to the target, overall, or in recent periods.
  • A goal is not progressing if the indicator is moving away from the target or not moving substantially, overall, or in recent periods.

To signify if achievement of the stretch target is likely, the Current Situation section also explores whether each goal is on track or not on track:

  • A goal is on track if the trend from the baseline to the current value of the indicator would achieve the target if sustained.
  • A goal is not on track if the current trend is not enough to achieve the target.

What gets measured gets done

A fundamental message of ONE NS is that we all need to work together to reverse population trends and generate higher levels of economic growth. It’s important for Nova Scotians to know what progress we’ve made toward the 19 One NS Goals because of the many actions we’ve already taken together. That information can help us increase our chances of success.

This site aims to provide clear, credible information anyone can use to see how we are collectively doing, and to guide ongoing, multi-sectoral work toward the goals. It provides objective, reliable data to the many people working to make a difference. It is a work in progress and it will continue to evolve over time.

The One NS movement calls on all of us to work together toward common objectives, to think and do things differently, and to take bigger risks. This site reflects our willingness to do that, and to support others as they do the same.

Our Task

The Commission believed to change the future of our province Nova Scotians would “need to do things differently and to change old attitudes that limit our capacities to come together in common cause.” It encouraged Nova Scotians to “set a limited number of ambitious but concrete targets that everyone can understand and orient their decision-making and behavior towards.” It proposed a series of ‘stretch goals’…that leadership can focus on and use to construct their own roadmaps.”

The One NS goals are visionary in nature. They are intended to be ambitious and difficult to achieve, as well as encourage greater risk-taking -- something the Commission felt necessary for progress. They “convey the need for a quantum leap” toward profound change because of participation from all sectors.

The We Choose Now Playbook (One NS Coalition), Nov. 2015, also included recommendations on measurement and accountability. It suggested:

  1. An independent organization be tasked with measuring progress toward the goals on a periodic basis
  2. A public website with a dashboard summary of progress be created
  3. An annual report of the data be presented to all Nova Scotians
  • Commission

    Chaired by Ray Ivany, and supported by Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy

    Culminated in Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotia

    Identified the demographic and economic challenges NS faces and 19 Goals for a sustainable future

  • Coalition

    Chaired by the Hon. Stephen McNeil, Premier, co-chaired by party leaders and supported by a coalition of municipal officials, and private sector, non-profit, and community leaders

    Culminated in We Choose Now: A Playbook for Nova Scotians

    Outlined 60 actions in 7 areas to guide collective work towards the 19 Goals

  • Collective

    First convener Don Bureaux, supported by a group of local economic organizations, economists, and academics

    Tracks and reports objectively on collective progress towards the 19 Goals

    Open, public access to credible progress charts, data, and useful context

Who We Are

We are group of local, economic-focused representatives, individuals, and academics who have come together to take on the third phase of the One Nova Scotia work called for by the Commission and the Coalition – measurement.

Our independent group includes representatives from economic organizations, as well as economists and experts from, for example, Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s University, the Atlantic Province’s Economic Council, the Halifax Partnership, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, private businesses, and the Province of Nova Scotia.

Participating Organizations

  • Nova Scotia Community College
  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Nova Scotia Business Inc.
  • Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness
  • Halifax Partnership
  • Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
  • Now!NS - Chronicle Herald
  • Halifax Chamber of Commerce
  • SimplyCast
  • Cape Breton Partnership
  • Atlantic University Presidents
  • EY
  • Atlantic Provinces Economic Council
  • Saint Mary’s University
  • Province of Nova Scotia
  • Dalhousie University

How we work

We began our work in 2016 by reviewing the 19 One NS Goals and figuring out where reliable data that shows us how we are doing could be found. Our criteria:

  1. the data must be publicly accessible, so anyone can review our work;
  2. it must come from established, trusted sources; and
  3. it must be replicable year after year.

With the data in hand, together we come to an objective consensus about the story it tells and we share the information and data with you. We have decided to present this information in a digital dashboard — available to anyone at any time, and updated on a quarterly basis as new data becomes available — rather than as a traditional annual report.

The One NS Goals are ambitious, and progress is expected to take place over a decade or more. Our intent is to provide information on the long-term trends affecting the economy and demographics of our province. We will track and report on progress over the next several years to ensure Nova Scotia is headed toward a brighter future.

The One NS Digital Dashboard will be updated as soon as new source data becomes available for any measure – at least on an annual basis. As we move forward, we will also consider what other indicators or information can be included to better measure our progress.

The Data

The One NS Digital Dashboard is a work in progress.

In preparing this Dashboard it became clear that some of the 19 Goals are more challenging to measure than others, while other indicators may not be entirely consistent with the Commission’s original intent. The Commission expected this, writing: “more in-depth analysis, consultation and refinement will be required before the goals are formally adopted.”

We continue to develop new data sources and methodologies to measure a few of the Goals. Those will be added as soon as possible.

Any changes to the items on the site were carefully considered and discussed with the researchers who helped formulate the 19 One NS Goals. They are also explained in the deep dive section underlying the related Goal. We remained as close as possible to the letter and the spirit of the Goals. In some cases, however, historic data revisions necessitated adjustments. In others, the original data is not regularly available or reproducible, or the calculation of a baseline needed revision.

In some cases, the 19 One NS Goals identified target numbers. The Dashboard expresses some of these as percentages because the Canadian benchmarks the Nova Scotia goals are measured against are constantly shifting.

Any of these minor adjustments allow for accuracy, consistent reproduction, data accessibility, and year-over-year comparison.

We welcome input that would help us continue to improve the measurement of the Goals at