Immigrate to Canada through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Project

Table of Contents

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?

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

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

Canada wants to ship you off to smaller cities in rural and northern areas. Are they crazy? Actually, not at all. As we’ve written about previously here  there’s a new Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program that’s being rolled out in about a dozen communities across Canada. These are small to mid-sized cities or towns with post-secondary institutions (mostly colleges) and employers who are seeking new Canadians to help grow their local economy. The program is now open to people interested in immigrating to these communities, finding work, and settling there as permanent residents. As we explain below, it’s a case of you the applicant reviewing the employment opportunities (as well as reviewing the added requirements of each of these communities) and finding a match for your job skills.

But it’s more than just the employment opportunities. These communities offer something that’s becoming increasingly expensive in larger cities in Canada:

Quality of Life. For example:

  • Affordable housing
  • Green spaces
  • Recreational and outdoors offerings
  • Close-knit family-friendly communities
  • Quality post-secondary educational institutions
  • Employment opportunities.

And you’re getting in early on in the process. As new Canadians discover new corners of Canada and settle in these participating cities and towns away from the large Census Metropolitan Areas, these smaller cities will grow and prosper as they transform themselves the way Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, etc. have been transformed. You could say you’re getting in on the ground floor. So, let’s dive in and see how the process works.


How the Rural & Northern Pilot Program Works

There are 4 main steps you have to follow:

  1. Ensure that you:
    • are eligible under IRCC general requirements, and
    • are eligible under community-specific requirements;
  2. Find an eligible job with a participating employer in the community you wish to settle in;
  3. After you obtain a job offer, submit your application for recommendation to the community;
  4. If you receive a recommendation from the community, apply for permanent residence.


Which Communities are Participating in the Rural & Northern Pilot Program?

Here is a table showing the communities participating in the Rural & Northern Pilot:

Community Website
North Bay, Ontario Coming soon
Sudbury, Ontario Coming soon
Timmins, Ontario Coming soon
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Brandon, Manitoba Coming soon
Alton/Rhineland, Manitoba
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Coming soon
Claresholm, Alberta Coming soon
Vernon, British Columbia Coming soon
West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), British Columbia Coming soon

As you can see, some community websites are still not up and running. As soon as they are we will post the change right here. You should use the community websites to:

  • Find out what additional community requirements you will need to fulfill to be eligible;
  • Find out about the local economy and what some employment opportunities might be;
  • Find out about life in the community and what they have to offer.


Who is Eligible for the Rural & Northern Pilot Program?

You must meet the following conditions to be able to apply to the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program:

  • You have at least 1 full year continuous work experience that also:
    • has occurred during the past 3 years and have taken place over a period of at least 12 months,
    • has been inside of Canada (as long as it is legal work based on a work permit) or outside of Canada,
    • has been paid work – Self-employment does NOT count
    • has involved all the essential duties, and most of the main duties listed in the NOC job description that corresponds to your work. (Go here to find your NOC occupation.)
    • International Students who meet the following conditions are exempt from the work requirements listed directly above. To qualify for the international student exemption you must meet the following criteria:
      • You have a credential (degree, diploma, certificate, apprenticeship) from a post-secondary institution in Canada of at least 2 years in length, AND
      • You were a full-time student for the entire 2 or more years, AND
      • You received your credential not more than 18 months before you apply for permanent residence (under this pilot program), AND
      • You were in the community for at least 16 of the 24 months you spent studying. This means the post-secondary institution must be located in the community to which you are applying for permanent residence.


      • You have a Master’s Degree or higher (PhD etc.), AND
      • You were studying as a full-time student for the entire time, AND
      • You obtained your degree no more than 18 months before you apply for permanent residence, AND
      • You were in the community throughout your studies meaning the institution you studied at must be located in the community you are applying to.

      Please note:

      • English and French language courses cannot make up more than half of your course load
      • Distance learning cannot make up more than half of your program
      • You cannot have been awarded a scholarship or fellowship which requires you to return to your home country upon graduation.
  • You have met the following English and/or French language benchmarks:
    • For NOC 0 and A jobs, you must have CLB/NCLC 6
    • For NOC B jobs, you must have CLB/NCLC 5
    • For NOC C and D jobs, you must have CLB/NCLC 4.
    • (CLB = Canadian Languages Benchmark. NCLC = Niveaux de competence linguistique Canadiens.)
  • Your educational requirements (assuming you are NOT an international student and instead are meeting the work requirements) are as follows:
    • You have a Canadian high school (secondary school) diploma, OR
    • You have an ECA (educational credential assessment) for a secondary school diploma/degree from abroad that is less than 5 years old on the date of your application
    • Your ECA has been issued by a designated organization which had already been designated by Canadian authorities when it produced your ECA. Please ensure that the organization you choose to get your ECA is one designated by Canadian authorities. They consist of the following:
      • Comparative Education Services – U of T School of Continuing Studies – Designated April 17, 2013
      • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada – Designated April 17, 2013
      • World Education Services – Designated April 17, 2013
      • International Credential Evaluation Service – Designated August 6, 2015
      • International Qualifications Assessment Service – IQAS will NOT offer services between Nov. 19, 2019 and May 19, 2020.
  • Unless you are already working legally in Canada on a valid work permit, you will need to show you have sufficient funds to settle in Canada. The following are generally accepted as proof of settlement funds:
    • Bank statements showing your account balances
    • Stock, bond, or money market certificates or investment statements showing your investment account balance
    • Banker’s Drafts, Money Orders, Traveller’s Cheques, Bank Cheques etc.
  • You must plan to settle in the community that will be sponsoring your permanent residence application. This means you will need a job offer from a local employer as will be detailed below. You must prove you do not intend to use a brief period in the community as a way to obtain permanent resident status and then move to somewhere like Toronto or Vancouver.
  • Finally, you must meet any other community-specific requirements that each participating community will develop and communicate through their websites. As the plan has recently been developed, some communities are still in the process of putting together any additional requirements so check back with us to see when their websites are fully functional. Or contact the community directly through their website.


Details About the Language Requirement:

You are responsible for booking and paying for one of the language tests listed below. Please do NOT have the results sent directly to IRCC. Instead have them mail the test results to you and then include a copy with your application form. The test results must be less than 2 years old when you apply.

There are 2 tests you can take to prove your English language ability:

  • CELPIP (You must take the CELPIP General test NOT the CELPIP General-LS)
  • IELTS (You must take the IELTS General NOT the IELTS Academic test).

The following table shows equivalent scores in the CELPIP (which is Canadian) and IELTS (which is British based but widely used around the world) and the CLB required levels:

CLB level CELPIP Reading CELPIP Writing CELPIP Listening CELPIP Speaking
10 10 10 10 10
9 9 9 9 9
8 8 8 8 8
7 7 7 7 7
6 6 6 6 6
CLB level IELTS Reading IELTS Writing IELTS Listening IELTS Speaking
10 8.0 7.5 8.5 7.5
9 7.0 7.0 8.0 7.0
8 6.5 6.5 7.5 6.5
7 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
6 5.0 5.5 5.5 5.5
5 4.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
4 3.5 4.0 4.5 4.0

There are 2 tests you can take to prove your ability in French:

  • TEF Canada
  • TCF Canada.

The following table shows equivalent scores in both test against CLB required levels:

CLB level TEF Reading TEF Writing TEF Listening TEF Speaking
10 263-277 393-415 316-333 393-415
9 248-262 371-392 298-315 371-392
8 233-247 349-370 280-297 34-370
7 207-232 310-348 249-279 310-348
6 181-206 271-309 217-248 271-309
5 151-180 226-270 181-216 226-270
4 121-150 181-225 145-180 181-225
CLB level TCF Reading TCF Writing TCF Listening TCF Speaking
10 549-699 16-20 549-699 16-20
9 524-548 14-15 523-548 14-15
8 499-523 12-13 503-522 12-13
7 453-498 10-11 458-502 10-11
6 406-452 7-9 398-457 7-9
5 375-405 6 369-397 6
4 342-374 4-5 331-368 4-5


Details About the Sufficient Funds Requirement:

The following table shows the amounts you need to have based on how many people are in your immediate family:

Number of Family Members (including those who will not be moving to Canada) Required Settlement Funds in Canadian Dollars
1 $8,722
2 $10,858
3 $13,348
4 $16,206
5 $18,380
6 $20,731
7 or more $23,080


Finding a Job in Your Chosen Community

  • You must an offer of employment from an employer in one of the above participating communities.
  • The offer of employment must be:
    • Full-time with at least 30 hours per week paid work
    • Non-seasonal
    • Permanent with no termination date
    • The wage offered must meet or exceed Job Bank’s minimum wage for your NOC-listed occupation
    • You must have the required experience to perform the duties listed in your NOC job description
  • Your job offer must generally be within a 1 skill level range of the skill level corresponding to your work experience, with an exception for job offers in skill level D.


Applying for a Community Recommendation

Your next step is to apply to one of the communities listed at the beginning of this article. As of now, not all communities have their websites fully up and running, but here are a few essential tips on how you should apply.

  • Each community website will tell you:
    • How to apply
    • What documents you will need:
      • Do NOT send original copies of your documents with your application for community recommendation.
      • Keep your original copies for your application for permanent residence when they will be needed.
  • You will have to prove to your chosen community that:
    • You meet all the eligibility requirements listed above, AND
    • You have a valid job offer with an employer in that community.


Applying for Permanent Residence through the Rural & Northern Pilot Project

This is the final step in the process and can only happen if and when your chosen community decides to sponsor your application for permanent residence. Here are the main steps you must follow when applying for permanent residence under the Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot.

  • Find out if you need to give biometrics by going here. Next you should pay your biometric fees online when you submit your application for permanent residence. Once you have paid your biometric fees, you will receive a biometrics instruction letter that tells you where you can go to give biometrics. Bring the letter with you when you go to have your digital fingerprints and photographs taken.
  • Your employer will need to fill out form IMM 5984 – Offer of Employment to a Foreign National – Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
  • Your sponsoring community will need to fill out form IMM 0112 – Recommendation from the designated Economic Development Organization.
  • You will need to fill out the following forms:
    • IMM 008 – Generic Application Form for Canada
    • Additional Dependants/Declaration (if applicable)
    • IMM 5669 – Background/Declaration
    • IMM 5911 – Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
    • IMM 5406 – Additional Family Information
    • IMM 5562 – Supplementary Information – your travels
    • IMM 5604 – Separation Declaration for Minors Travelling to Canada (if applicable)
    • IMM 5409 – Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (if applicable)
    • IMM 5987 – Document Checklist
    • IMM 5476 – Use of a Representative (if applicable).
    • Read IMM 0118 – Instruction Guide; go here to read the guide.
    • IMM 008 is a barcode form which means you must:
      • Click the Validate button at the top and bottom of the form before printing the form
      • Print the form using a high-quality laser printer if you are able to
      • Date and sign the printed form
      • Make sure to include the printed barcode page which you should place at the top of your application package.
  • You generally pay your fees online but depending what you are applying for and where you are applying from, there may be other methods of payment available. Go here and
    • select the country/territory you are applying from and
    • the type of application you are submitting
    • to find out about payment options.
  • Mail your completed application for permanent residence with all supporting documents to the Central Intake Office (CIO) in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada:

    Immigration Refugees & Citizenship Canada
    Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot Program
    Centralized Intake Office
    PO BOX 1500
    Sydney, NS
    B1P, 0J4M

The CIO in Sydney, NS will ensure your application is complete. If your application is complete it will then send your application to another IRRC office to be processed. You may receive requests for further documentation from this other office which is processing your application.


Original Article: Rural & Northern Pilot Project Guide for Communities

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

This is a program that eligible communities had to apply to before March 1, 2019. What this program 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, as of December 2019, 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’s 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

Please note: The application page has been removed.


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.

Have someone from our team call you back and answer all your questions.


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