Eleven towns selected for immigration pilot
October 22, 2019
Moose Jaw, SK, is among 11 communities welcoming immigrants under a three-pilot program. -- City of Moose Jaw
With record immigration of 318,000 people expected this year and annually for years to come, the federal government has chosen 11 communities across Canada to kick off a new pilot program aimed at attracting immigrants to rural and northern communities—five in Ontario, four on the Prairies and two in British Columbia.
The Ontario towns are: Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and North Bay. Western communities are Brandon and Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee in Manitoba; Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Claresholm, in southern Alberta; and the two B.C. centres of Vernon and the West Kootenays, where the program is centred in Nelson.
The goal of the program is to bring newcomers to regions confronting severe labour shortages due to a youth exodus, declining birth rate and aging population, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in announcing the pilot.
“We have tested a similar immigration pilot in Atlantic Canada and it has already shown tremendous results for both newcomers and Canadians,” Hussen said in a release.
The first immigrants under the pilot are expected to arrive in 2020.
Communities were selected as a representative sample of regions to lay out a "blueprint" for the rest of the country. Organizers in towns contacted by Home BUILDER expected to attract from 100 to 500 immigrants during the three-year pilot.
About 80 per cent of newcomers to Canada settle in big cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver under existing federal economic immigration programs.
The federal government will not provide financial assistance to immigrants involved in the rural and northern immigration program.