Government of Canada funds program to address labour shortages and attract newcomers in the Southern Interior of B.C.

News release

Image of a man stands at a computer. Image reads: $484k+ to expand the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot and help B.C. communities find skilled workers

This innovative initiative will help smaller communities find skilled workers in sectors such as health care, trades, childcare and hospitality

February 2nd, 2023 – Vernon, British Columbia – PacifiCan

Newcomers to Canada enrich our country. They also bring valuable skills that help fill labour shortages across Canada.

Finding qualified employees can be challenging, especially for employers in communities outside large cities. In 2020, the Government of Canada launched the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot to help smaller communities attract newcomers. Delivered by local economic development organizations across Canada, this initiative has already helped fill skill shortages in a variety of sectors, including health care, trades, childcare, and hospitality.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced $485,410 in PacifiCan funding for Community Futures North Okanagan to expand the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot in the Southern Interior of B.C.

PacifiCan funding will help Community Futures North Okanagan continue the Pilot in the North Okanagan and West Kootenays, while also expanding to include businesses in the Shuswap region. This investment will support training, marketing, and outreach activities to match local businesses with skilled foreign workers.

Funding will also help newcomers access settlement services and mentoring opportunities in their new communities. To date, Community Futures North Okanagan has already helped hundreds of local businesses meet their workforce needs, while supporting newcomers as they establish roots in the region.

This announcement builds on the recent opening of PacifiCan offices in Kelowna and Cranbrook. With new officers living and providing service locally, PacifiCan is more accessible to all communities in the region. 

Quick facts

  • Community Future North Okanagan’s Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot has already supported nearly 400 employers to attract and retain skilled workers in the Southern Interior of B.C.

  • Over 1,000 newcomers and their families have accessed the initiative and settled in B.C.’s Southern Interior.

  • PacifiCan is the federal economic development agency dedicated to British Columbians. PacifiCan works with partners who are building innovative businesses, creating quality jobs, and supporting inclusive growth throughout British Columbia.

  • In 2022, PacifiCan opened new offices in Victoria, Campbell River, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Prince George, Prince Rupert and Fort St John, serving businesses and communities across the province. 

Associated links


Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Pacific Economic Development Canada

Jillian Glover
Communications Manager

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