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Sault gets boost to federal immigration program

The city will use $500,000 in federal dollars to initiate Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Sault Ste. Marie has received $550,000 to help the city roll out its portion of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program.

The funding, announced on Aug. 5, comes from FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, diversification and business growth.

Announced in 2019, the RNIP is a five-year federal government initiative to encourage more skilled workers to settle in rural and northern communities.

The Sault – along with North Bay, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timmins – are among 11 communities Canada-wide that were chosen to participate in the program, which runs until 2025.

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Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano welcomed the news.

“The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is an important opportunity to attract skilled newcomers to our community and to support our employers,” Provenzano said in a news release.

“As a welcoming and inclusive community, Sault Ste. Marie is pleased that we are one of 11 Canadian communities selected for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. I want to thank the Government of Canada and FedNor for their support in helping us meet our workforce needs and maximizing the social and economic potential of the region.”

FedNor said the funding will be used to support outreach, training, administration, communications and marketing needed to identify, select and support businesses and newcomers in relocating to Sault Ste. Marie.

As part of the project, the city will also assist employers in identifying and targeting potential applicants for positions that have gone unfilled.

In May, Sudbury received $480,000 toward the implementation of the RNIP in that city.