Thunder Bay CEDC Seeks to Bridge Local Labour Gap by Uniting Foreign Skilled Workers with Local Employers

Tuesday January 14, 2020 – The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) hosted an employer information session today aimed at educating local employers about the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). There was over 13 employers in attendance with a few already signed up to take part in the program. St. Joseph’s Care group is one of Thunder Bay’s the major employers and are one of the first employers to register for the Thunder Bay RNIP program.

“Unfortunately, staffing shortages are common, and in Northwestern Ontario, we are facing an aging cohort of citizens and a decreasing workforce population at a time when demand for care is increasing,” said Tracy Buckler, President and CEO, St. Joseph’s Care Group. “We have had to look beyond traditional recruitment strategies to try to meet this demand. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot creates both an immigration pathway for recruitment, and a way to retain international students who are already a part of our community and are enrolled in programs directly related to the skillsets that we need.” 

There are currently 25 local employers registered to participate in the program with room for many more. The economic impact of the program could mean a very positive change for Thunder Bay but more employers are needed to participate. With Thunder Bay being one out of 11 cities across Canada to be selected to participate in the RNIP program, this is an exceptional opportunity for the community to bridge the gaps in our local labour market.

“Employers in Thunder Bay are eager to retain international employees but have difficulty navigating the immigration process,” said Emily Lauzon, Workforce Development Officer, CEDC. “This pilot alleviates some major concerns that employers have about recruiting or retaining newcomers. There are no employer fees or cumbersome Labour Market Impact Assessments. Employers and candidates receive ongoing support through the CEDC and all of our settlement partners.”

Local employers are a key component to the RNIP program. To start the process an employer must offer fulltime permanent work in an in-demand occupation. RNIP seeks to engage employers across all sectors with the most in-demand jobs being in engineering, health care, and construction.

– 30 –

Contact: Emily Lauzon, Workforce Development Officer – CEDC, (807) 625-3960,

About CEDC: The CEDC is responsible for business development, retention and expansion, entrepreneurial support, opportunity promotion, and the collection and assessment of key business data. The CEDC receives formal proposals for projects that will contribute to economic development. It responds quickly to new opportunities and initiatives to attract direct financial involvement from the government and private sectors. For more information, visit

About the RNIP program: This program is employer lead and community-driven. It’s designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to Thunder Bay by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live here. The end goal of the program is to use immigration to help meet local labour market needs, support regional economic development, and create welcoming environments to support new immigrants staying in rural communities. For more information visit:

Translate »
Skip to content