Canada Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

  • Country of destination: Canada
  • Country of origin: Not Specified
  • Skill level: Low
  • Timeline: December 2019 - 2024
  • Number of beneficiaries: About 150


The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is a five-year program aimed at testing community-driven approaches to address the labor market needs of small rural communities.

Why was it started?

Rural and northern communities in Canada face out-migration of youth, aging populations, and labor shortages. But most new immigrants settle in urban centers, missing out on the opportunities and quality of life in smaller communities. To attract migrants to rural areas, this project builds on the successful Canadian Atlantic Immigration Pilot, an innovative regional economic immigration program launched in 2017.

How does it work?

Prospective migrants must have relevant work or academic experience, speak English or French, and be financially self-sufficient to apply for a match with a host community. If these requirements are met, the applicant must search and apply for an eligible job with an employer in one of the participating communities. Once a job offer is secured, the person must submit an application for recommendation and once recommended, can apply for permanent residence. Each community may also have its own eligibility requirements, job search process, and community recommendation application process. Eleven rural communities in Northern Canada were participating in the program in 2022: North Bay, ON; Sudbury, ON; Timmins, ON; Sault Ste. Marie, ON; Thunder Bay, ON; Brandon, MB; Altona/Rhineland, MB; Moose Jaw, SK; Claresholm, AB; Vernon, BC; and the West Kootenay Region(Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), BC.

What impact has it had?

As of June 2022, 1,130 individuals have arrived in RNIP communities and it is estimated than an average of 125 participants and their families are welcomed into each participating community per year.

In August of 2022, the Minister of immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Sean Fraser announced the following improvements to the pilot:

  • Expansion of the geographic boundaries of North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, Thunder Bay, Moose Jaw, West Kootenay, and Vernon so that more employers are able to participate
  • Expansion of the range of job offers available to candidates with specific work experience, making it easier to fill labor market needs in healthcare and trades
  • Allowing communities to participate for a longer period – until August 2024 when the pilot ends
  • Helping community partners provide greater support to candidates and employers
  • Reducing the amount of settlement funds participants are required to have
  • Strengthening program integrity