Sault Ste. Marie has exceeded its goal of attracting newcomers in 2022 under a pilot program to support economic development.
When announced in June 2019, the Rural Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program was designed to support economic development in rural and Northern communities. It was also meant to strengthen local capacity for businesses to recruit and retain a skilled workforce.
In November 2019, Sault Ste. Marie was the first of the 11 RNIP cities to accept applications for the program.
Each community assesses prospective candidates, recommends candidates for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and connects newcomers with settlement services and mentoring opportunities with established members of the community.
In 2022, the Sault exceeded its goal of 125 allocated recommendations issuing 213 recommendation letters to applicants who then apply to IRCC for permanent residency, the city said in a news release.
These candidates successfully secured full-time, permanent positions with 137 local Sault Ste. Marie businesses and organizations.
Top positions included roles in a supervisory, managerial position, followed by senior executive functions. Most of the candidates were already residing in Canada, with only 30 coming from international locations.
This number will likely grow in the future. Since the program’s inception in late 2019, the city has assisted 137 eligible employers such as Soo Foundry and Machine Ltd., Tenaris and JD Aero Technical Inc. to recruit or retain more than 349 skilled workers, resulting in hundreds of newcomers to Sault Ste. Marie.
Receiving a community recommendation under the program allows individuals and their families to apply for permanent residency status and settle in Sault Ste. Marie.
The city noted that newcomers are vital to the future of rural and northern communities across the country and that the Sault is committed to expanding immigration to address local labour shortages and help businesses grow.
“It is great to support local employers by assisting them to find skilled labour while at the same time, assisting newcomers to live and work in our community,” said Travis Anderson, director of tourism and community development.
“When the RNIP was announced, the City committed to being a leader, and secured the first applicants in Canada approved for the program. The RNIP program is increasingly important to address labour shortages in our community and contributes to our sustainable growth. These numbers demonstrate our commitment to this program and the positive development we have seen.”
This program is being managed in partnership between the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp., FutureSSM, the Sault Ste. Marie Local Immigration Partnership and the Sault Community Career Centre. For more information, visit welcometossm.com/rnip.