A program to attract immigrants to North Bay to fill a skilled worker shortage appears to be successful, according to the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.
More than 150 businesses have participated in the North Bay and area Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), noted the chamber in a recent news release.
See: Rural and Northern Immigration pilot project sees 21 new immigrants settling in this area
The pilot encourages economic growth and the development of the North Bay and area workforce by hiring skilled foreign workers for positions that are going unfilled locally. Some of the positions include supervisory, managerial, and senior executive-level employment, says the release.
The two-year-old program is a partnership between the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In 2022, 143 applicants received a letter of recommendation from the Chamber, making them eligible to apply for permanent residence. These candidates secured full-time, permanent positions with local businesses.
“We are very pleased with the results of the second year of the RNIP Program and as more businesses become aware of the program the more positive results we will see”, said Donna Backer, president of the local Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the pilot.
Of those, 80 applicants have received their permanent residence, and are working, living, and contributing to the local economy added Backer.
Some principal applicants bring along a spouse or dependents as well.
“These spouses and dependents go to school here, some will, or are working here, they play sports, they are contributing members of our communities and economy,” said Backer. “These new families are making roots here because our communities continue to embrace and welcome these individuals. They also are great ambassadors and tell their friends about the great sense of community that they feel here.”
This past year, the catchment boundary of the program expanded. The boundary now includes Mattawa to the east, West Nipissing to the west, Burk's Falls to the south, and Temagami to the north.
“With expanded catchment for the Pilot, RNIP is able to assist more employers with their labour shortage needs,” said Backer.
Employers or organizations that are interested in hiring through the RNIP should visit this website.