Vernon selected to participate in Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

News release

July 6, 2019—Vernon, BC— 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 this B.C. community their forever home.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors, met with partners in Vernon to discuss next steps of the pilot over the coming months.

Vernon, an eclectic community located in the Okanagan Valley, has 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 selected communities are: Thunder Bay (ON), Sault Ste. Marie (ON), Sudbury (ON), Timmins (ON), North Bay (ON), Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee (MB), Brandon (MB), Moose Jaw (SK), Claresholm (AB), West Kootenay (BC), and Vernon (BC). 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.

To complement the Rural and Northern Pilot, Canada is also working with the territories to address the unique immigration needs in Canada’s North.

Canada is committed to attracting the best talent around the world to fill skill shortages and drive local economies in rural Canada that will benefit all Canadians.


“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. We have tested a similar immigration pilot in Atlantic Canada and it has already shown tremendous results for both newcomers and Canadians.”

– 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 these communities by testing new, community-driven approaches to address their diverse labour market needs. The initial results of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot show that it has been a great success. I’m pleased we are able to introduce this new pilot to continue experimenting with how immigration can help ensure the continued vibrancy of rural areas across the country.”

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

“Rural communities like Vernon are the beating heart of our country. Attracting immigrants to make the Okanagan Valley their new home will help grow the economy and create and support jobs.”

– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • Communities worked with local economic development organizations to submit an application which demonstrated how they met the eligibility criteria – archive by March 11, 2019.

  • The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was launched in March 2017 as part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The 4 Atlantic provinces are able to endorse up to 2,500 workers in 2019 under that pilot to meet labour market needs in the region.

  • Rural communities employ over 4 million Canadians and account for almost 30% of the national GDP.

  • Rural Canada supplies food, water, and energy for urban centres, sustaining the industries that contribute to Canada’s prosperous economy.

  • Between 2001 and 2016, the number of potential workers has decreased by 23% percent, while the number of potential retirees has increased by 40%.

Associated links


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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