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Canadian Immigration Services 

New Federal Immigration Program to Support Middle Class Jobs in Rural and Northern Communities


New Federal Immigration Program to Support Middle Class Jobs in Rural and Northern Communities

Jade Calver

The Government of Canada announced the launch of a pilot program to assist in growing small rural and Northern communities, enhancing their economy, society, and demography. This program is a five-year federal pilot project that involves communities and selected provincial and territorial governments. The project works to help participating communities gain access to supports in order to assist newcomers in settling into life in Canada and integrating into the local community. This program is similar in nature to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, which was launched in March 2017 in an effort to stimulate economic growth in Atlantic Canada.  

IRCC is targeting communities in Ontario, Western Canada, and the territories in order to participate in the pilot. Interested communities must meet specific eligibility criteria, submit an application, and be able to demonstrate how immigration will promote economic development in their community. Those communities that submit applications will be examined to determine their current job demands and which positions are not being filled.

The deadline to apply for this program is March 1st, 2019.

Communities throughout rural and northern Canada are important to the growth and prosperity of our country. Regional economic development is a priority of our government, and we will continue to seek out innovative solutions like this pilot project to help our economy grow for all Canadians.
— The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

What are the eligibility requirements?

In order to participate, your community must:

  • Have a population of:

  • Be in: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan, or Yukon

  • Have job opportunities

  • Have an economic development plan

  • Have a local economic development organization that can manage the pilot for your community

  • Be able to settle new immigrants in the community by having or developing:

    • Relationships with local or regional immigrant-serving organizations as through mentoring or networking access to key services like: education, housing, transportation, and healthcare. 

    • Opportunities to connect newcomers with established members of the community, such as through mentoring or networking, and

    • Access to key services, such as education, housing, transportation, and health care

Your community’s application must also have the support, shown through letters of support, of:

  • the municipality (local leaders) and

  • a local or regional immigrant-serving organization

The Government of Canada also encourages communities with French-speaking populations to apply and identify themselves in their application.

What happens if your community is selected?

If your community is selected, the economic development organization that submits the application is expected to manage the pilot for your community. This means that the organizer will need to work with community stakeholders, including employers to attract newcomers and help them integrate into their new community.

What is the role of the community?

This pilot is community-driven, which means that the communities we select to participate must be actively involved in:

  • Attracting new immigrants

  • Matching potential new immigrants to jobs

  • Promoting a welcoming community for immigrants

  • Cconnecting immigrants to established members of the community and settlement services

The economic development organization that works with the community to complete the application must:

  • Submit the complete application and

  • Manage the pilot for the community, if their community is selected.