Minister for Seniors Filomena Tassi, right, visiting the Okanagan this week, announced Saturday the City of Vernon is one of 11 communities chosen Canada-wide to participate in a program that will attract immigrants to the Okanagan Valley. (Black Press - photo)

Okanagan city chosen for immigration pilot project

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot invites newcomers to make Vernon their forever home.

Vernon is one of 11 rural and northern communities selected as part of the new Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot to invite newcomers to make the North Okanagan community their forever home.

Filomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors, met with partners in Vernon Saturday to discuss next steps of the pilot over the coming months.

“Rural communities like Vernon are the beating heart of our country,” said Tassi. “Attracting immigrants to make the Okanagan Valley their new home will help grow the economy and create and support jobs.”

Tassi called Vernon “an eclectic community with a diverse economic base, driven by agriculture, construction, tourism and manufacturing.” Vernon’s experience in welcoming newcomers and their families will help facilitate the new rural pilot and help support middle-class jobs in the area.

READ MORE: One of B.C.’s newest citizens reflects on the value of immigration

The participating rural and northern communities will have access to a range of supports to test this new innovative, community-driven model that will help fill labour gaps. The participating communities were selected as a representative sample of the regions across Canada to assist in laying out the blueprint for the rest of the country.

“The equation is quite simple. Attracting and retaining newcomers with the needed skills equals a recipe for success for Canada’s rural and northern communities,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “We have tested a similar immigration pilot in Atlantic Canada and it has already shown tremendous results for both newcomers and Canadians.”

READ MORE: Education rates, commute times and time at work all growing, census shows

To complement the Rural and Northern Pilot, Canada is also working with the Territories to address the unique immigration needs in Canada’s North.

Throughout the summer, the government will begin working with selected communities to position them to identify candidates for permanent residence as early as the fall 2019. Communities will be responsible for candidate recruitment and endorsement for permanent residence.

Newcomers are expected to begin to arrive under this pilot in 2020.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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