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.
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.”
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.