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Canada To Make RNIP Permanent And Launches Two New Pilots

Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced Wednesday Ottawa is making the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot  (RNIP) a permanent immigration program this autumn and he also launched two new pilots to expand the ability of rural communities to attract more immigrants, in particular francophones.

“I am here to confirm that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will make the RNIP permanent,” said Miller in Sudbury on March 6.

The new, permanent program will be called the Rural Immigration Program (RIP) and will be launched this autumn along with the new pilot programs.

The two new pilots will be the Rural Community Immigration Pilot (RCIP) and the Francophone Community Immigration Pilot (FCIP).

That new pilot will try to ensure rural communities continue to have the ability to access programs that address labour shortages and help local businesses find the workers they need. It will provide pathways to permanent residence for newcomers who can help to overcome critical labour job shortages and want to live long-term in these smaller communities.

The FCIP, which will also be launched this autumn, will focus on increasing the number of French-speaking newcomers settling in francophone minority communities outside of Quebec and will help ensure the economic development of francophone minority communities, while also helping to restore and increase their demographic weight.

The number of francophones is expected to increase with a new pilot program

“It has the capacity of doubling the number of people coming to this community,” Miller said in Sudbury.

Businesses in the biggest city in northern Ontario were worried about the pending end of the RNIP this year and had called on Ottawa to make the RNIP permanent.

In an open letter to local Members of Parliament, Viviane Lapointe and Nickel Belt Marc Serré, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce had urged that the RNIP become a permanent program.

“If you talk to any business owner and our members, a big challenge they’ve had over the last few years is finding talented labour and skilled labour and the … program is something that facilitates that,” Geoffrey Hatton, chair of that chamber of commerce and president and CEO of Spectrum Telecom Group, reportedly told CTV News.

“Twenty per cent of our staff (are) international hires, so it’s a big impact for us.”

As of the end of last year, 4,595 newcomers had gotten their permanent residence through the RNIP.

The latest IRCC data reveals that Canada welcomed 2,855 new permanent residents through the RNIP.

Ontario received the lion’s share of RNIP immigrants last year, 1,865, while British Columbia welcomed 665 new permanent residents through the program.

Through the RNIP, Manitoba welcomed 190 new permanent residents last year, Saskatchewan 90, and Alberta 45 in 2023.

This year, the RNIP started off strong with 680 new permanent residents arriving through the program in January alone.

The findings of a Northern Policy Institute report, Community Immigration Pilot Making Economic ‘Cents’: How the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is Growing the Local Economy in Thunder Bay, highlight the importance of that immigration program to rural and northern communities.

“The RNIP helps to attract immigrants to smaller communities by providing them with a path to permanent residency,” states the report.

“In turn, it gives communities the opportunity to select which workers have the most desired skills by their local industries and are the most likely to settle and stay in that northern or rural community in the long term.

“By doing so, the RNIP benefits both skilled immigrants and smaller communities at the same time.”

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