Immigration program for rural Ontario communities up for consultation

July 16, 2019

According to the Ontario government, a new immigration pilot program aimed at bringing foreign skilled workers to rural and small communities in Ontario may be approved by 2020.

Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade said in a statement that it is working with stakeholders in select community to determine interest in the proposed Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot, and research “existing community immigrant attraction and retention efforts.”

The names of the communities involved in the consultations have not been revealed.

The communities are a “geographically and culturally diverse sample” according the Ontario government, with a population size of 20,000 to 200,000, with undisclosed “economic characteristics”, and of which all have the appropriate institutions for newcomer support.

The government stated that the consultation will allow it to determine whether the selected communities have both local interest for immigration, as well as appropriate capacity. It would be operated by the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, a provincial immigration stream.

The update goes on to say, “final selection of pilot communities would be based on data analysis, along with the results of engagement with communities.”

No date has been determined when the selected communities will be revealed, or when prospect immigrants may apply.

Regional immigration streams a new trend in Canada

The Government of Ontario says it aims to support community-led efforts to attract foreign skilled workers.

In a statement, it reads “An Ontario pilot would specifically target the needs of Ontario communities and explore how to better regionalize the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program to better support Ontario employers in smaller communities.” It goes to clarify that the proposed pilot would not duplicate the federal government’s new immigration stream, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.

The federal immigration pilot works with six communities in Northern Ontario, as well as many more rural and remote communities in other provinces to attract foreign skilled workers and provide them permanent residence.

These pilots, and others such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) and British Columbia’s Regional Entrepreneur Pilot are vital to the country’s economy as they address the issue of an aging population and growing emigration of younger, skilled individuals to more populated towns and cities.

The proposed Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot comes after various businesses in Northern Ontario have asked the government to create an immigration program similar to those in other provinces, designed to hire foreign workers for positions they haven’t been able to fill locally.

For more information on how to take advantage of these immigrations streams, contact Green Light Canada.

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