Successful Results from Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Project


THUNDER BAY – There is some success to celebrate with the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Project.

On Wednesday the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) hosted an outdoor event to celebrate the success of 32 foreign skilled workers who have received a community recommendation through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). The successful candidates have received full-time permanent jobs with over 16 local employers and can now apply for their permanent residency with the Federal Government.

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Project

“With over 30 positions supported in only 5 months, this program has proven to be very beneficial to both employers and applicants.” Says Emily Lauzon, Workforce Development Officer, Thunder Bay CEDC. ”An employer finds a candidate they want, and we help that employer retain their essential worker. The applicants receive assistance with both their immigration process and settlement into the community. It’s a win-win for Thunder Bay and we are very proud of our success so far.”

The Thunder Bay Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is an initiative supported by the Federal Government but is unique to Thunder Bay. The CEDC has developed specific eligibility guidelines for both the applicants and employers who wish to use the Pilot as an immigration pathway. In order to qualify to participate the applicant and employer must have a full-time permanent job in a priority occupation. The CEDC determines the priority occupations by using a variety of sources including local employers’ experiences, historical labour market reports, and future labour market projections.

“The economic impacts of this program are vast, building the workforce and filling local labour gaps are essential to the growth of Thunder Bay,” says Eric Zakrewski, Chief Executive Officer, Thunder Bay CEDC. “The priority occupations were carefully selected and will be updated over the course of the Pilot to ensure relevancy and maximum benefit to our community.”

There is an overwhelming amount of interest in Thunder Bay from people all across the globe. The CEDC receives hundreds of applications and inquires every day from people who wish to relocate and work in Thunder Bay. Over the three-year pilot, CEDC has the opportunity to make 300 community recommendations, which has the potential of securing 300 full-time permanent positions locally.

“Employers are crucial to the success of the Pilot because without employers there won’t be any jobs to fill,” says Emily Lauzon, “Thunder Bay CEDC requires more local employers who are interested in attracting, and/or retaining a foreign skilled worker. The program is easy to navigate, fully supported and free to participate in, not to mention there are enormous benefits for both the community and the employers”

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