Canada’s immigration department has announced the 11 rural and northern communities that will invite newcomers to settle there permanently as part of a pilot project to attract skilled workers. The Canadian population is ageing and the birth rate declining resulting in a significant decrease in available workers.
About 78 percent of immigrants and refugees coming to Canada settle in large cities such as Toronto, Montreal and vancouver. This project aims to encourage skilled workers and their families to settle in smaller centres.
The communities themselves will be responsible for recruiting newcomers and endorsing them for permanent residency. Under this plan, newcomers are expected to begin arriving in 2020. A similar program launched in March 2017 is enabling the Atlantic Provinces to endorse up to 2,500 workers in 2019.
Many people retiring, few to replace them
Rural communities employ over four million Canadians and account for almost 30 per cent of Canada’s GDP, notes a government statement. It adds that between 2001 and 2016, the number of potential workers in Canada decreased by 23 per cent. At the same time the number of potential people retiring from work has increased by 40 per cent.
The communities involved in the pilot project are:
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
North Bay, Ontario
Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee, Manitoba
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
West Kootenay, British Columbia
Vernon, British Columbia
Project could become blueprint for Canada
The communities were chosen as a representative sample of Canada’s regions to help develop a blueprint for the rest of the country. At the same time Canada is working with the northern territories to address the unique needs for newcomers there.