Immigration Policy Shift needed To Halt Rural Canada’s Population Decline

Immigration Policy Shift Need To Halt Rural Canada’s Population Decline
Canada immigration free assessment

A researcher at Western University says Canada’s rural communities will continue to face a population decline unless various levels of government make policy changes to direct immigrants to settle in small towns, villages, and hamlets instead of major urban centres.

Rural Canada has been witnessing a declining population trend for more than 55 years now, at a slow but steady rate.

For example, in Ontario in 1966, 2.6 million people inhabited rural communities, making up 37 per cent of the province’s total 7 million people.

In 2021, the rural population remained at 2.5 million people, while the total provincial population increased to 14.2 million people.

Proportionally, rural Ontarians now accounted for only 17 percent of the provincial population.

Read More Canada Immigration News

Canada’s Top 10 Most Affordable Places To Live
Manitoba Issues 282 Canada Immigration Invitations In New PNP Draw
Ontario PNP Draw: Province Targets Healthcare and Tech Jobs With 4,552 Invitations

Furthermore, rural Canada is becoming older than urban Canada. Since 2016, Ontario’s youth population has shrunk by 1.6 per cent, with the number of working-age adults falling by 4.5 percent and seniors falling by 12.4 per cent.

“The odds of immigrants moving into rural Canada have actually decreased over time rather than increased,” said Lindsay Finlay, PhD candidate in sociology at Western University and the lead author of The Places We’ll Go: Rural Migration in Canada.

“It’s the kind of things like a lack of transportation, a lack of employment, academic opportunities. There’s also the risk of potential discrimination in these areas.”

One of the main reasons for this is the vast number of settlement services and co-ethnic ties available to immigrants in the city, which allows them to feel like they can thrive and integrate into the communities they are landing in.

The problems caused by this trend are immense.

“You’re going to see these communities start to struggle as the older populations leave, one way or another,” said Finlay.

Watch Video

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)

RNIP is described by the government as a “community-driven program” designed to “spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in one of the participating communities.”

The participating communities are as follows:

Community Community Website
North Bay, ON
Sudbury, ON
Timmins, ON
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Thunder Bay, ON
Brandon, MB
Altona/Rhineland, MB
Moose Jaw, SK
Claresholm, AB
Vernon, BC
West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), BC

RNIP is community-driven, which means that the communities will: 

  • assess prospective candidates who
  • best fit the economic needs of the community
  • have an employment opportunity that meets their community requirements
  • have the intention of staying in the community
  • recommend candidates for permanent residence to IRCC for a final decision
  • connect immigrants with settlement services and mentoring opportunities with established members of the community
Canada immigration free assessment
Previous articleQuebec Immigrant Investor Program: How To Immigrate To Canada  From The Ivory Coast
Next articleBest Records For Immigrant Retention In Ontario, BC and Alberta
Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.