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Skilled newcomers filling the workforce ranks in Timmins

Economic development corporation marks first anniversary of immigration pilot program
Timmins aerial (Timmins EDC)
(Supplied by the Timmins EDC)

With one year under its belt, the Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) reported its successes of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program.

More than 60 applications were received with the corporation issuing 41 recommendations to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in support of their applications for permanent resident status.

The TEDC said these folks are employed in a variety of industries and sectors including health care, community and education services, information technology, and food services.

The Timmins pilot received nearly 3,000 inquiries from around the world from people interested in finding a job and settling in Timmins.

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“We are thrilled with the response from the first year,” said Fred Gibbons, chair of the TEDC board of directors, in a news release.

“Not only are these individuals filling employment gaps within the city, but many applicants are Northern College graduates and have been living in Timmins for a few years already, actively contributing to the community."

Two years ago, Timmins was selected as one of 11 communities across Canada to participate in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, designed to encourage skilled foreign workers to stay in smaller communities while creating a path to permanent residence.

The TEDC is assisting employers using the pilot to address labour demands and fill positions that many have tried to fill.

In a statement, Courtney Berlinghoff, regional manager of the YMCA of Timmins, said her organization has struggled to find qualified employees.

“Through this program we have been able to hire employees with their early childhood education diplomas and who are registered with the College of ECEs. This has allowed us to continue to serve the child care needs in our community and continue to offer high quality care to families."

The immigration pilot has also helped local grocer Pick of the Crop.

“Hiring foreign employees has allowed us to fill some key positions that we had struggled to fill, and in turn has helped us to grow our business,” said store manager Isabelle Godmaire.

In the second year of the pilot, the TEDC has a total of 150 recommendations that can be issued in 2021.

The criteria has also been updated in order to better identify candidates who fit the community’s needs and intend to reside in Timmins long term.

A survey is being conducted to gather feedback on the program and employers may need in order to participate in the program.