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Hussen announces 11 communities chosen for new rural immigration pilot

OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says 11 communities the federal government is choosing for a new rural immigration program will gain new workers and citizens that are badly needed to boost dwindling economies.

Hussen is announcing the communities chosen for a program that will give rural employers the ability to directly select immigrants to hire and will also give immigrants the ability to choose one of these 11 communities to make their permanent residence.

By taking the decisions on matching immigrants to employers and communities out of Ottawa’s hands, rural and northern areas struggling with population declines and worker shortages hope to find newcomers who want to come and stay.

Hussen says he has spoken to rural employers desperate for workers, some of whom are turning away contracts because they can’t find skilled labour.

The 11 communities chosen for this pilot will get a range of supports and programs to test this new pilot, which is based on the Atlantic immigration pilot that has seen a boost in immigrant retention rates in the Atlantic region.

The selected communities are Thunder Bay, Sault-Ste-Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and North Bay in Ontario; Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee and Brandon in Manitoba; Moose Jaw, Sask., Claresholm, Alta., and West Kootenay and Vernon, B.C.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press