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Immigration pilot is paying off for Thunder Bay and newcomers to Canada

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot helps fill more than 300 jobs for northwestern Ontario city
City of Thunder Bay (Northern Ontario Business photo)

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is estimated to have greatly benefitted Thunder Bay’s economy and newcomers to Canada and the northwestern Ontario city in delivering 321 jobs within a year of being activated, according to a research paper from the Northern Policy Institute.

The paper’s author, Bryanne de Castro Rocha, found that after one year, the RNIP program in the City of Thunder Bay is estimated to have generated a total of $11.6 million in wages in the local economy and offered 229 jobs to its applicants, which in turn generated an additional 92 jobs in the local economy for a total of 321 jobs after one year.

The federal Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot does not directly create jobs, but it does provide an immigration pathway to aid employers in attracting talent to fill vacant positions.

It was created to better distribute and direct immigrants to opportunity beyond the major cities of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Eleven rural and northern communities participated including the City of Thunder Bay.

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RNIP is mutually beneficial program by giving smaller communities the opportunity to select which workers have the most desired skills by their local industries and are the most likely to settle and stay in that northern or rural community in the long term.

Thunder Bay’s pilot was designed for an initial run from November 2019 through December 2022. It’s since been extended until August 2024.

And the pilot boundaries were expanded last September beyond the Thunder Bay area to take a greater swath of northwestern Ontario including the Rainy River district communities Atikokan, Fort Frances and Emo, Dryden, Sioux Lookout and up along the north shore of Lake Superior and Lake Nipigon, taking in Greenstone, Marathon, Manitouwadge, Nipigon, Schreiber, Terrace Bay, the Township of Red Rock and Ignace.

This is all good, according to the paper, as immigrants positively contribute to the local economy. They pay taxes that fund public services, spend their money on “goods, housing and transportation,” stimulating the economy, and allow employers to find qualified workers for their businesses,

All this creates a ripple effect in multiple other economic factors, such as the income and spending of other parties.