by Patty Hajdu MP
THUNDER BAY – An ageing population, youth leaving, labour shortages; these are some very real challenges that rural and Northern communities face.
And attracting new people to settle in our more rural and northern communities is not easy. Often, new immigrants settle in major urban areas, making it difficult for some communities to grow their economies and find people to work in their businesses and industries. And because of our distance from urban centres, newcomers miss out on the incredible quality of life here in Northern Ontario.
From Thunder Bay to Manitouwadge to Armstrong and Nakina, I’ve heard from leaders working hard to grow their communities so everyone has a fair chance at success. Many leaders have called for an immigration strategy that can help smaller communities boost their economic, social and demographic growth. As a result of their advocacy, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen recently announced the brand new Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. This new economic pilot project will help spread the benefits of immigration to rural and Northern communities, giving them the tools they need to attract and retain skilled workers. Working with communities, other federal and provincial government partners and economic development agencies, this project will make sure the successful communities have the supports they need to attract newcomers to work and stay in the North.
Working together is the best way for a pilot like this to succeed, including employers who will identify the specific skills they need and local groups to promote the beauty and hospitality of our region.
How do we know it will work? In Atlantic Canada, this approach already is. Launched in 2017, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot has seen steady progress helping employers and communities find people with the skills they need to help that region thrive.
Communities interested in this incredible opportunity have until March 1 to apply. I know this pilot will go a long way to ensuring our communities have everything they need to have a fair chance at success.
Patty Hajdu MP