Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Continues to Fill Local Healthcare Needs

Wednesday June 24, 2020 – The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) continues to move forward with the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is continuing remotely with great success. This past week Emily Lauzon, Workforce Development Officer with CEDC, announced that 12 healthcare workers including Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and Personal Support Workers have received community recommendations through the RNIP program. All 12 healthcare workers have been offered full-time, permanent jobs in Thunder Bay and can now apply for permanent residency with the community recommendation.

Currently there have been 19 out of the potential 100 community recommendations made through the Thunder Bay RNIP. Healthcare workers make up more than half of the skilled workers that have received a community recommendation.

“With the potential to give 100 community recommendations in the first year of operation, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will make a significant impact to our growing healthcare sector,” said Eric Zakrewski, CEO of Thunder Bay CEDC. “The program is designed to be job offer dependent, therefore creating a direct pathway for skilled healthcare professionals to stay and work in Thunder Bay.”

The Thunder Bay RNIP allows eligible employers to make full-time, permanent job offers to skilled foreign workers to help fill identified labour shortages in the city. When compared to other avenues for immigration, the RNIP program is able to directly fill priority occupations for all levels of jobs, while the other forms of obtaining a permanent residency in Canada focus mostly on higher occupational skills with no guarantees for obtaining a job or residency. Personal Support Workers are considered an occupation in demand, but without the RNIP program, many of these essential workers may not have a pathway to permanent residency. Thunder Bay’s RNIP is now helping certified skilled healthcare workers stay in Canada and work here locally.

“The long term care staffing shortage has been an ongoing concern,” said Emily Lauzon, Workforce Development Officer, Thunder Bay CEDC. “Until recently, temporary workers have had few opportunities to immigrate and permanently resettle in our community. The Rural and Northern Immigration is a unique pathway that is helping retain these valuable workers while ensuring their successful integration into the community.”

All 12 healthcare workers have been offered full time, permanent jobs in Thunder Bay, and can now apply for permanent residency with their community recommendation. The positions are spread across two local healthcare facilities, St. Joseph’s Care Group and Southbridge Roseview. The good news comes at a time when healthcare workers are needed more now than ever to fill the gaps in the local healthcare sector.

About the Thunder Bay Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot: The Thunder Bay RNIP is a community-driven immigration program. It is 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 in our city. Once the recommendation has been made, the applications must then must apply for permanent residency. From there the Government of Canada makes the final decision to approve applications for permanent residence. For more information visit:


Contact: Emily Lauzon, Workforce Development Officer – CEDC, Tel: (807)629-8359, Email:

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 government and private sectors. For more information, visit

Translate »
Skip to content