The local Chamber of Commerce is urging the Federal government to renew a program that helps fill jobs at local businesses with identified labour shortages with immigrants.
The North Bay & Area Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) pilot project is set to end in July 2024.
The Chamber of Commerce (NBDCC) has advocated for permanent implementation or extension of the pilot and presented letters of support to MP Anthony Rota recently.
“As one of the five communities in northern Ontario partnering with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to implement the pilot, we are very pleased with the results so far and the momentum of the pilot is just getting started,” said Donna Backer, President of NBDCC. “We have over 150 participating employers and have made over 300 community recommendations of newcomers to our catchment area.”
RNIP encourages economic growth in the area workforce by hiring skilled foreign workers for positions that are unfilled locally.
"It also addresses diminishing population growth and provides a space for newcomers to live, contribute, and grow their families. Immigration and newcomer attraction continue to be strategic priorities for most rural and northern communities and this pilot has allowed such to make a mark on the map," says a news release.
“This pilot has proven to successfully fill key roles in labour shortages faced by most communities, but this issue is not going away any time soon,” said Backer. “We need to continue to market our smaller communities to newcomers, and spread the benefits of rural and northern immigration to help communities relieve labour shortage pressures, allow communities to grow, and offer alternative living options for newcomers who are not interested in settling down in a bigger city.”
“I am a strong supporter of RNIP and will continue to advocate the benefits this pilot has played in addressing the labour shortage needs of businesses in my riding”, added Rota.
"We have heard first-hand the significant positive impacts this pilot has had in mitigating some skilled labour shortages felt by the business community across a range of sectors” said Ryan Drouin, Chair of the NBDCC Board of Directors.