Make Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Permanent, Urge North Bay Business Leaders

Make Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Permanent, Urge North Bay Business Leaders
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The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce (NBDCC) is calling for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) to become a permanent immigration program.

Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota is lobbying for support towards this aim.

Rota is reportedly a “strong supporter” of RNIP himself and will “continue to advocate the benefits this pilot has played in addressing the labor shortage needs of businesses” in his riding, according to a BayToday story.

“As one of the five communities in Northern Ontario partnering with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to implement the pilot, we are very pleased with the results so far and the momentum of the pilot is just getting started,” said the chamber’s president and CEO Donna Backer in a news release.

“We have over 150 participating employers and have made over 300 community recommendations of newcomers to our catchment area.”

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The Chamber is not alone in its plea; across the North, many communities have re-enforced a similar sentiment.

Timmins is one of them, with 2022 seeing the issuance of 148 letters of recommendation. Meanwhile, the program was expanded to 515 spots for 2023 and 200 in 2024 in Sudbury.

Thunder Bay reports successes too, according to one report. RNIP generated a total of $11.6 million in wages for the local economy and offered 229 jobs to the applicants under it. This resultantly created an additional 92 jobs, for a total of 321 jobs in just one year.

Backer says that although RNIP is a proven mechanism for fixing labor shortages in most communities, this issue is not going away any time soon.”

“We need to continue to market our smaller communities to newcomers, spread the benefits of rural and Northern immigration to help communities relieve labour shortage pressures, allow communities to grow and offer alternative living options for newcomers who are not interested in settling down in a bigger city.”

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RNIP is a community-driven program designed to benefit smaller communities through economic immigration by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers wanting to work and live in one of the participating communities.

The participating communities in question are one of the following:

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

To be included within the pilot, communities must have a population of 50,000 or less and be located at least 75km from the core of a Census Metropolitan Area. Otherwise, they must have a population of up to 200,000 people and be considered remote from other larger cities, according to Statistics Canada Remoteness Index.

The “community-driven” aspect of the pilot means that communities will:

  • assess prospective candidates who best fit the economic needs of these community, have a genuine employment opportunity that meets their community requirements, and have the intention of staying in the community
  • recommend candidates for permanent residence to IRCC for a final decision
  • connect newcomers with settlement services and mentoring opportunities with established members of the community

The process to apply for permanent residence under the pilot involves four steps:

1. Check that you meet both the IRCC eligibility requirements and the community-specific requirements

2. Find an eligible job with an employer in one of the aforementioned participating communities

3. Once you have a job offer, submit your application for recommendation to the community

4. If a community recommends you, apply for permanent residence

Each community will also have its own additional eligibility requirements, job search process, and community recommendation application process.

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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.