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The Launch of Immigration Pilot Programs delayed in several communities

Five of the 11 communities taking part in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) were set to begin accepting applications on January 1, but CIC News has learned that it will be at least another month before they actually start the intake process.

The communities that were scheduled to start the pilot program on New Year’s Day include:

  • North Bay, Ontario
  • Timmins, Ontario
  • Claresholm, Alberta
  • Vernon, British Columbia
  • West Kootenay, British Columbia

In addition, Sudbury, Ontario, which was supposed to commence the pilot on November 1, is still not accepting applications. This also applies to Thunder Bay, despite a notice on its own webpage that says it would start accepting applications on January 2.

Communities participating in the pilot needed to have an economic development organization to manage the program in order to qualify. These organizations could be a community futures organization, a chamber of commerce, an independent or not-for-profit economic development organization, or a hybrid organization of a municipality with an independent board of directors.

These organizations are responsible for making sure the provisions on their community’s memorandum of understanding with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are appropriate for the community’s needs— including the start date for application intake.

In the case of Claresholm, Alberta, the economic development committee determined in December that their start date would not be until February 2020.

The economic development officer from the Town of Claresholm, Brady Schnell, told CIC News that many candidates have made contact with local employers, and some are already in town. These candidates will likely be the first approved through the community review process.

“The level of interest has been outstanding,” Schnell said, “We have been contacted by [people from] about 60 countries.”

Representatives from the Ontario communities of North Bay, and Timmins, also said the communities would not likely be starting until the end of January. A spokesperson from West Kootenay, B.C. said they would likely not start screening applicants until March.

CIC News contacted Vernon and is waiting on a reply.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is designed to help rural and remote Canadian towns attract foreign workers to their communities. The Pilot is meant to help these communities counter labour market shortages caused by declining birth rates, growing retirement rates, and the migration of youth to more populated areas of Canada.

So far, the pilot has been launched in the following communities:

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, is also participating in the pilot, but their program is not set to commence until April 1, 2020.

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