Could the new Immigration project boost Rural Ontario’s Population?
The province of Ontario accepts more immigrants than any other Canadian province. However, most of the immigrants who come to the province decide to settle in the province’s major urban areas, like Toronto. The towns in rural Ontario and northern parts of the province, which might have many jobs that need to be filled, don’t necessarily benefit from immigration. But soon there might be a way to change that!
Charles Cirtwill, of the Northern Policy Institute, has devised a plan to make sure that rural communities in Ontario can reap all the benefits that Canadian immigration has to offer. He has suggested adding a rural pilot project to Ontario’s already existing Provincial Nominee Program.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR RURAL ONTARIO
An immigration pilot project targeted specifically towards rural and northern portions of Ontario could level the playing field in terms of distribution of immigrants in the province. Rural towns would be able to expand their populations and develop their economies. Helping these communities fill vacant job opportunities is one of the primary goals of the proposed project.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMMIGRANTS
The pilot would provide significant benefits to immigrants who participate. Potential immigrants can be matched to jobs in rural Ontario towns that reflect their skills and experience. They would then receive invitations to come to Canada.
Immigrants who come through the program would have an easier time settling in Canada as they would already have a job in the country. Additionally, the program would target immigrants who are skilled in trades or do not meet the high-skill requirements of other Canadian immigration programs. These immigrants will be able to fill the jobs and provide the skills that town in rural Ontario need.
EXAMPLES OF SUCCESS
The program that Mr. Cirtwill has envisioned for Ontario is not unheard of. Different regions of the country have used very similar immigration programs to boost their populations and expand their labour forces.
One of these is the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. The Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador use this program. The program matches potential immigrants with available jobs in these provinces. The program helps to fast-track settlement in Atlantic Canada while giving the region a boost to its declining population. Prince Edward Island is also incentivising immigrants to move to rural parts of that province.
A similar project was started in the prairie province of Manitoba over ten years ago. Mr. Cirtwill gave the example of one small Manitoba town that was able to increase its population through the province’s program. Morden was able to grow by thirty-two percent between 2006 and 2016.
These programs offer significant evidence that the proposed program in Ontario could be highly effective and beneficial to rural communities in the province. A pilot project like this in Ontario might open up new, valuable opportunities for both immigrants and Canadian communities.