Through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the Government of Canada works with small and remote communities in Ontario, Western Canada and the three territories to attract and retain foreign workers. 

The five-year pilot supports eligible communities to:

  • utilize immigration to help meet local labour market needs and support regional economic development; 
  • establish a new pathway to permanent residence in rural Canada for skilled foreign nationals at various skill levels; and
  • create welcoming environments that attract and integrate newcomers.

Old sheds at Canola Field, Alberta, Canada

What is the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot?

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is community-driven, which means participating communities take the lead in attracting new immigrants and matching them with local job vacancies, promoting a welcoming community, and connecting newcomers to established members of the community and its settlement services. 

Community and Economic Development Organization Roles and Responsibilities

Communities must work with a local economic development organization to fulfil the pilot's eligibility criteria.

Selected communities and local economic development organizations must:

  • organize key players within the community, including employers, to identify opportunities where immigration can best support the local economy and share the importance and value of immigration with the community;
  • promote the pilot and the community to eligible foreign nationals;
  • recruit and assess suitable candidates for immigration by considering the economic needs of the community and an employment opportunity for the candidate;
  • prepare the community for the arrival of new immigrants by working with partners that provide services and develop strong support networks for new immigrants;
  • promote the integration of new immigrants in the community by connecting newcomers with established members of the community and settlement/social services (i.e. housing, education, transportation, and health care);
  • monitor and report on the results of the pilot in the community.

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Community Eligibility 

To be considered eligible to participate in the pilot, the community must:

  • have a population of 50,000 people or less and be located at least 75 km from the core of a Census Metropolitan Area OR up to 200,000 people and be considered remote from other larger cities (using Statistics Canada’s index of remoteness)
  • be located in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Yukon; 
  • have job opportunities;
  • have an economic development plan;
  • have a local economic development organization that can manage the pilot for your community;
  • have the capacity to settle new immigrants in the community by having or developing:
    • relationships with local or regional immigrant-serving organizations;
    • opportunities to connect newcomers with established members of the community, such as through mentoring or networking;
    • access to key services like education, housing, transportation, and health care.

How to Immigrate under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

The Government of Canada is yet to announce details on the immigration process through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. This page will be updated once further details on applicant requirements are provided by the government. 

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