Thunder Bay CEDC concludes Year 1 of Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP); changes planned for Year 2

December 18, 2020 – Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) is concluding its first year of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) with a total of 69 recommendations made to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent resident status. The RNIP is a three-year program designed to spread the benefits of immigration to smaller communities by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to live in Thunder Bay. Thunder Bay CEDC was granted a maximum of 100 recommendations for Year 1.

Recommended candidates are employed with 33 local organizations and span various employment sectors and industries. A breakdown of the number of candidates working in each employment sector is as follows:

–          34 healthcare (nurses, personal support workers, dental assistants)

–          15 food service (cooks, chefs, supervisors, bakers)

–          6 transportation and automotive

–          5 Engineering

–          3 Construction

–          3 Geochemical research

–          2 Business & financial administration

–          1 Education administration (French-speaking)

Thunder Bay CEDC Workforce Development Officer, Emily Lauzon, is calling Year 1 an incredible success.

“The Pilot has been tremendously valuable for both candidates and employers. It has been a huge relief for businesses to retain their workers or source qualified new hires. We are a leading community of the RNIP and are proud to be administering a project that is advancing our economy so meaningfully.”

Year 2 is expected to be even more impactful, with the potential for up to 150 allotted recommendations and changes to candidate eligibility. The RNIP will soon allow foreign workers employed in a job under any National Occupation Classification (NOC) code to apply for a community recommendation if they have been living in Thunder Bay for at least two years hold a valid work permit.

“We are tweaking the eligibility criteria to enable newcomers who have been building their lives here for years but do not necessarily work in what we consider to be a priority occupation,” tells Lauzon. “They are ingrained in our city and now there will be an immigration pathway for them.”

The existing list of eligible occupations has also been expanded to include occupations under NOC 0, which are management positions, a recently identified labour shortage.

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