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Canada’s Rural Northern Immigration Program Is Extended

Welcome. In today’s blog update, we will take a look at the proposed changes for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program.

The Rural Northern Immigration Pilot program is being hailed as a success by Canada’s immigration minister Sean Fraser. But, he has stated that since its launch in 2020, closures of borders due to pandemic didn’t give the program a chance to prove its worth for local employers.

That’s why, extending the pilot’s deadline to 2024 is included in the changes Fraser announced he’s making to the program this fall.

The Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship stated that extending it by a couple of years is going to provide employers with the chance to continue to bring people here. The other big change is the geographic expansion, to recognize in a lot of rural areas, people don’t live and work within the same municipal boundary.

Other adjustments include increasing the types of jobs employers can offer, including working at lower level positions while newcomers complete additional training, and decreasing the financial conditions for newcomers to settle in Canada.

The program has attracted more than 1,000 newcomers to its 11 participating communities, which include Sudbury, Timmins and North Bay.

According to Madison Mizzau, a community development consultant at the Timmins Economic Development Corporation, which monitors the Timmins subdivision of the pilot program, they are very excited, especially about the boundary expansion, because that’s something that the regional communities have really advocated for.

She further stated that there are a lot of opportunities to work with the local employers within the skilled trades, and they are encouraged to reach out to the TEDC, to talk about their challenges.

Mizzau said that the TEDC is getting applications from truck drivers, food service sector workers and early childhood educators.

According to the president of a renowned college, the area also requires accountants, bookkeepers, talent recruiters, skilled tradespeople and healthcare workers. She further said that if you talk to some of the different institutions and businesses in the community, it’s really quite alarming how many gaps there are.

The announcement included a town hall session, where community members raised concerns about international accreditation not being recognized, which would allow for more skilled immigrants to come to Canada. The cost of implementing the program was also a point of conflict.

Per the remarks of City of Timmins’ Chief Administrative Officer Dave Landers, it’s a mixture of municipal dollars and grants from upper levels of government, which isn’t really a sustainable way to have a proper infrastructure for something as important as this.

Landers asked the federal immigration minister if there would be any likelihood of sustainable federal funding, akin to its funding of Atlantic Canada’s immigration program.

The federal immigration minister said the performance of the Rural Northern and Immigration Pilot in the next two years will create opportunities to review any adjustments and updates that can be made to make the program more efficient and effective. So far, the program is encouraging.

Lastly, he added that his hope is that Canada will have a permanent program designed for rural and northern communities and he expects it will look something like the one that is currently in place.

This is the end of today’s blog update. We hope you found this blog useful. Please don’t forget to support us by subscribing to our newsletter and sharing this blog with your friends and family on Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter.

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