OTTAWA — The federal government is launching a pilot program to boost immigration in rural and northern communities struggling with labour shortages and population decline.
The vast majority of immigrants to Canada settle in bigger cities but municipal leaders in smaller towns and communities have been calling on Ottawa to do more to help them attract newcomers.
They believe immigration is key to helping their communities fill labour gaps as more people leave small town Canada for urban centres.
Rural and northern communities that want to be part of the pilot will have to prove they can welcome and integrate newcomers and their families, with employers taking a big role in this effort.
The pilot is designed after an Atlantic immigration pilot, which has seen success in growing the population and filling labour market needs in the Atlantic provinces.
This new program is expected to welcome just under 3,000 people, or about 100 newcomers and their family members, per community.
The Canadian Press