New federal immigration program to support middle class jobs in rural and northern communities

News release

January 24, 2019—Ottawa, ON— The Government of Canada is committed to supporting immigration strategies that will enable smaller communities to enhance their economic, social and demographic vitality.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, announced the creation of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, a five-year federal immigration pilot involving communities and selected provincial and territorial governments that works to help participating communities gain access to a range of support to help newcomers settle in as part of the local community.

This innovative economic immigration pilot is aimed at testing new, community-driven approaches to address the diverse labour market needs of smaller communities. This initiative builds on the success of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot that was launched in March 2017 to help drive economic growth in Atlantic Canada. As of today, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is seeking applications from interested communities in Ontario, Western Canada, and the territories in order to select communities to participate in the pilot. Interested communities must work with a local economic development organization to submit an application, demonstrating how they meet the eligibility criteria and how immigration will promote economic development in their community.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will complement other economic immigration initiatives, including the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and the Provincial Nominee Program. It will also provide an opportunity for IRCC to support the Government of Canada’s commitment to support the vitality of Francophone communities outside Quebec.


“Immigration is a central pillar of Canada’s economic success. The economic and social benefits of immigration are apparent in communities across Canada. By creating an immigration pilot aimed at rural and northern communities, we’re looking to ensure that the benefits of immigration are shared across the country.”

 – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Removing barriers to economic development and promoting growth in local communities across the country is a priority for the Government of Canada. This Pilot will support the economic development of smaller communities by testing new, community-driven approaches to address their diverse labour market needs.”

– The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development Canada

“Communities throughout rural and northern Canada are important to the growth and prosperity of our country. Regional economic development is a priority of our government, and we will continue to seek out innovative solutions like this pilot project to help our economy grow for all Canadians.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Quick facts

  • Find out if your community is eligible to apply.

  • Interested communities have until March 1, 2019 to submit a complete application.

  • Selected communities will be announced in spring 2019.

  • IRCC will work with selected communities to position them to begin identifying candidates for permanent residence in summer 2019.

  • The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was launched in March 2017 as part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The four Atlantic provinces are able to nominate up to 2,500 workers in 2018 under that pilot to meet labour market needs in the region.

  • Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, the Government of Quebec has the authority to select economic permanent residents destined to Quebec.

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Contacts for media only

Mathieu Genest
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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