Is your community interested in growth and development? Does it have an established organization dedicated to economic development, one that has been studying and planning ways to promote the community? Does it have an economic base that could use some skilled and even semi-skilled workers from abroad? Is it an open-minded community looking to integrate newcomers into your region as they help you grow and diversify?

If your community can answered yes to these questions, and especially if your community is a rural and/or northern community with francophone community within it (as in Northern Ontario or Rural Manitoba, for example), then there is a new pilot program that may be just what you need.


The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program

Dryden Mill by Dhscommtech at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

by Dhscommtech at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

This is a program that eligible communities should apply to, with a deadline of March 1, 2019. What this is intended to do is to provide supporting services and planning to rural and northern communities who can then benefit from economic migration.

Because Canada’s Census Metropolitan Areas (big cities) are now world-class examples of the growth and development that economic migration can bring to Canada. What the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program intends to do is to bring those benefits – using the experience gained in Canada’s larger cities over the past decades – to rural areas and northern areas and to give a jump start to qualifying communities’ development plans.

You might say: I’m a foreign worker who wants to find out about opportunities in Canada. Why should this interest me?

It should. Because later in 2019, once qualified communities develop an immigration plan, you will start to see increasing job offers in smaller towns that have joined this pilot program. Why should you care? Think about:

  • Affordable housing
  • A less stressful lifestyle surrounded by nature
  • A chance to build a business or grow your career where you’re not competing with half of the recent arrivals to Canada, as is the case in places like Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary etc.

So, both job seekers and communities should pay close attention to this pilot program. It may indeed be where many of the future opportunities for economic migrants are to be found.


How does the process work?

Initially it will be a communities-based process where interested qualified communities apply to be part of the Northern and Rural Immigration Pilot. To be eligible, a community must:

  • Have a population of 50,000 or less residents AND be located at least 75 km from the core of a Census Metropolitan Area OR
  • Have a population of 200,000 or less residents AND be considered remote as per Statistics Canada’s remoteness index.
  • Be located in the following provinces or territories (Canada excluding Quebec and the Atlantic provinces):
    • Ontario
    • Manitoba
    • Saskatchewan
    • Alberta
    • BC
    • Yukon
    • Northwest Territories
    • Nunavut.
  • Have a local economy that offers job opportunities to newcomers.
  • Have an economic development plan.
  • Have a local economic development organization that has the ability to manage the pilot program on behalf of the community it represents.
  • Facilitate the settling of new immigrants in the community by having or developing:
    • Relationships with local or regional immigrant-based organizations
    • Mentoring or networking opportunities for newcomers
    • Access to: education, housing, transportation, and health care among other services.
  • Have the written support of municipal leaders/authorities.
  • Have the written support of local/regional immigrant-serving organizations.

French-speaking communities are encouraged to identify themselves and apply to the pilot program.


What are the roles and responsibilities during the process?

The community and its economic development organization will be responsible for:

  • Putting together and submitting the application (in conjunction with the community)
  • Managing the pilot program if their community’s application is accepted
  • Attracting new immigrants
  • Matching new immigrants to available jobs
  • Promoting a welcoming community for new migrants
  • Connecting immigrants to established members of the community
  • Connecting immigrants to settlement services.

An economic development organization is one that:

  • Has economic development as its central mandate
  • Has a strategic development plan for the community
  • Has the available resources to be able to participate in the pilot program.

Some examples of an economic development organization are:

  • A community futures organization
  • A local chamber of commerce
  • A not-for-profit economic development organization
  • A hybrid organization made up of the municipality along with an independent board of directors that represent community stakeholders.


How do communities apply?


Step 1: Eligibility

Ensure your community is eligible according to the above-listed criteria and have a strategic development plan for your community.


Step 2: Get the Application

Go here and scroll half-way down the page to the download button for the application form (PDF).


Step 3: Complete the Application and Assemble the Supporting Documentation

Fill out the form and include the following documents:

  • A community economic development plan that has been put together in the last 3 years (2016 – 2019)
  • A letter of support from your municipality’s leader(s)
  • A letter of support from a local or regional immigrant-serving organization
  • You may also include the following type of optional documents:
    • Letters of support from major employers or key community members
    • Demographic and economic data.


Step 4: Submit the Application

Email your completed application along with copies of supporting documents to [email protected] You will receive an automatic email reply acknowledging receipt of your application. If you do not receive the acknowledgement email, please email so the Pilot program can manually acknowledge receipt of your application.

Mail your completed application form along with supporting documents to:>

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Expression of Community Interest
Economic Immigration Policy and Programs
8th floor Jean Edmonds Tower South
365 Laurier Ave. West
Ottawa ON K1A 1L1

If you are mailing your application, please send an email to the above email address notifying the Pilot program of your mailed application. Your envelope must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2019. Any questions should be sent by email to the same email address linked above.

You will receive an email confirming receipt of your mailed application.


Step 5: Assessment and Selection

Not every community that applies will be accepted into this Pilot Program. The submissions will be reviewed and assessed based on the following:

  • Your application form has been competed and all supporting documents are included
  • Your community is eligible in terms of its size and location
  • Your community’s need for immigration to support its economic development program
  • Your community’s resources and partners ready to participate and support your development program
  • Your community’s ability to attract French-speaking economic migrants
  • Whether your community has existing Federal government settlement partners in the area as well as supporting resources.

Your community will be contacted and informed of the Pilot Program’s decision:

  • If you have been selected, you will work with the Pilot program to prepare your community for the program and start to select applicants
  • If you have not been selected, you will also be informed.

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