Vernon to embark on immigration pilot project | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon to embark on immigration pilot project

Vernon City Hall
December 29, 2019 - 10:25 AM

As Vernon attempts to get ahead of a looming skilled labour shortage, it’s embarking on the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program.

Similar to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot that was launched in March 2017, the program which is getting underway next month in Vernon is intended to bring skilled immigrants to cities and towns outside of the larger metropolitan areas of  Canada.

Only 11 communities have been chosen to participate. In B.C., the West Kootenay is the only other location, with the bulk of the program rolling out in Ontario.

In Vernon’s case, the program will be administered by Community Futures North Okanagan, and available to employers within a 40 kilometre radius of Vernon.

Vernon is currently developing community criteria in conjunction with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for skilled immigrant worker applicants.

It is anticipated that the criteria will be finalized in late 2019 and that we will begin accepting applications in January 2020.

“One of the challenges facing business in Vernon, British Columbia and Canada as a whole is a skilled labour shortage,” a description of the program on the City of Vernon website reads.

“Work BC has estimated that the Thompson Okanagan Region will require 71,700 workers due to retirement and an additional 19,500 workers due to new economic growth from 2018 - 2028. This equates to over 90,000 workers in the region required to ensure businesses can continue to thrive. This challenge is even greater at a provincial level with an estimated 903,000 job openings anticipated during this time.”

The challenge for communities is that due to the amount of looming vacancies the labour shortage cannot be filled solely by local residents or those entering the labour force.

The community will need to recruit workers not only locally and provincially, but nationally and internationally to meet the growing demands of employers. 

The program provides communities with the opportunity to work directly with employers along with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to create a permanent residency opportunity to attract skilled workers to the region.

Applicants must meet community-specific eligibility, federal selection criteria and have a full-time permanent job with a local employer. 

Ontario locations include  North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, Sautés Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. In Manitoba, there’s Brandon and Altona/Rhineland. In Western Canada there’s also Moose Jaw, Sask, and Claresholm, Alta.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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