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Regional immigration pilot to attract top talent to rural Ontario

The Ontario government is helping businesses in small and rural communities attract and retain skilled workers through a new Regional Immigration Pilot program.

Chatham-Kent, Cornwall and Belleville/Quinte West were selected to participate in an effort to fulfil labour needs that are not currently being met locally. The Regional Immigration Pilot – which is part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) – will be an opportunity for businesses in the three communities to fill talent gaps and support economic growth and also be a pathway for skilled foreign workers to become permanent residents.

Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, also called on the federal government to work in collaboration to further develop Ontario’s immigration strategy and give the province more choice and autonomy over the selection of economic immigrants.

While developing the pilot, the government gathered feedback from stakeholders in a number of small and rural communities across the province. Communities were chosen based on their specific skilled labour challenges, the ability to help newcomers get settled and interest from community stakeholders. Additionally, Cornwall’s Francophone business needs were also taken into consideration. Outcomes from the pilot will help inform further efforts to regionalize economic immigration in Ontario.

“The Regional Immigration Pilot will help lay the foundation for a strong economy that will benefit both newcomers and job creators,” said Fedeli. “We are creating a streamlined and cost-effective open-for-business climate that will help companies invest, innovate and grow.”

A few quick facts: The OINP will allocate approximately 150 nominations for the pilot through the OINP Employer Job Offer category. The OINP’s Employer Job Offer Category allows Ontario businesses to fill labour needs in professional, managerial and in-demand occupations with foreign workers and international students to fill their labour gaps. Recruited workers must have a job offer and may apply from within or outside of Canada.

The government will also be adding new manufacturing National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes to the In-Demand Skills Stream, which will take effect in the 2020 nomination year.

Immigration is a shared jurisdiction in Canada between the federal government and the provinces and territories. Ontario has the largest nominee program in the country with an allocation of 6,650 in 2019, plus an additional 250 nominations specifically for National Occupational Classification level C jobs that usually require high school and/or job-specific training.

Image credit: Matthew Henry from Burst.


Posted: Mar 9, 2020

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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