On August 26, 2022, Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the expansion of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).
The government of Canada expanded the geographic boundaries of some participating communities to encompass more employers. North Bay (ON), Sudbury (ON), Timmins (ON), Thunder Bay (ON), Moose Jaw (SK), West Kootenay (BC), and Vernon (BC) are the newly added municipalities. IRCC also expanded the range of job offers available to candidates and reduced the number of settlement funds participants is required to have.
The RNIP is a regional immigration program that is becoming increasingly important to the sustainable growth of our country. It builds on the success of the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP), launched in March 2022, which has continued to assist the Atlantic provinces in recruiting skilled newcomers to address the region's labor shortage and demographic challenges. Since the launch, 167 applications have been confirmed under the program.
Rural and northern communities also rely heavily on francophone immigration. The immigration process is one of the most important factors in maintaining, and even increasing, the populations of Francophone minority communities. As a result, the government is working with partners, provinces, and territories to give French-speaking immigrants the resources and opportunity they need to settle in and contribute to Francophone communities across Canada. However, their goal will be to increase the number of French-speaking newcomers to welcoming Francophone communities outside Quebec and increase their retention.
Over 4 million Canadians work in rural communities, and almost 30% of the country's GDP comes from rural areas. Food, water, and energy are supplied to urban centers, sustaining industries that contribute to Canada's prosperity.