Sault named as one of 11 communities for rural immigration experiment


OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says 11 communities the federal government is choosing for a new rural immigration program will gain new workers and citizens that are badly needed to boost dwindling economies.

On Friday Hussen announced the communities chosen for the “rural and northern immigration pilot” — a program that will give rural employers the ability to directly select immigrants to hire in their businesses and will also give immigrants the ability to choose one of these 11 communities to make their permanent residence.

By taking the decisions on matching immigrants to employers and communities out of Ottawa’s hands, rural and northern areas struggling with population declines and worker shortages hope to find newcomers who want to come and stay.

“People don’t realize just how much the rural economy needs immigration,” Hussen said.

He has spoken to rural employers desperate for workers, some of whom are turning away multimillion-dollar contracts because of a lack of skilled labour.

“Some of them are saying, ‘We’re going to make decisions to move if we don’t have the workers that we need,’ and that’s just unacceptable. And I know how much these small towns are relying on that large employer to stay in place.”

With more than two-thirds of immigrants to Canada settling in bigger cities, municipal leaders in smaller towns and communities have been calling on Ottawa to do more to help them attract newcomers.

A number of rural communities have already been investing in settlement and integration supports for newcomers to make their towns more attractive to immigrants looking for permanent homes in Canada.

That’s what Ottawa was looking for when choosing the 11 communities. Now, those areas will receive a range of supports to test the new program.

The selected communities are:

—Thunder Bay, Sault-Ste-Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and North Bay, Ont.

—Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee and Brandon, Man.

—Moose Jaw, Sask.

—Claresholm, Alta.

—West Kootenay and Vernon, B.C.

This new program is designed after an experiment that has seen success in expanding the population and filling labour needs in the Atlantic provinces.

The Atlantic model sees immigrants arriving in the region with job offers and settlement plans for them and their families. Before the program was introduced, the retention rate for newcomers in Nova Scotia was at 60 per cent — four in 10 immigrants moved on before long. Now, more than 90 per cent of immigrants who arrive in Nova Scotia through this program are staying.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press


  1. I am amazed how people from the Soo forget where their grandparents came from. I was the minority in my grade school class. Everybody else was Italian or Portuguese. I loved our multicultural class. Everybody just gotta lighten up and be kind to each other!

  2. Maybe your people should calm tf down 🤷🏽‍♂️ & it doesn’t benefit the first peoples of Canada when our government is handing money out to everyone except the First Nations peoples of Canada, explain the equality in that when for millions of years my people have fought racism segregation and still get the shitty end of the stick. We have treaties with this so called “government” but they cater to every other race that decides to cross into OUR HOME LAND.

  3. My family is immigrants also. Please do keep in mind when people came here back in the day if immigration from all countries that they helped build this country to what it is today. They built buildings they were loggers, carpenters, they were bricklayers they were electricians, nurses, doctors Etc and came with a grateful heart. Times have certainly changed now to 2019 people that are coming now as immigrants or so-called refugees are not here to build our country they are here to take advantage of one that has already had blood, sweat and tears to make it the way it is. With this government and the people that they have brought are far far far different from the immigrants that came here to build Canada to what she is today. I am all for people wanting a better life but not getting it for free or taking advantage of the goodness and the kindness of what Canada has always stood for. We were known as the friendly country and the loving country in the world… better look at our status now because of what has been going on in our country .. whether you like it or not some of you need to grow up learn your history and know what a lot of is going on really means.

  4. Pretty much everyone commenting negatively here were born of immigrants. Sadly this thread echoes negative comments and opinions that existed in the mid 1900s. Look at all the great culture, trades, families, work ethic, commerce, foods and friendships that resulted from immigration to The Soo then. We could use a boost in those categories and perhaps this is just the thing.

  5. I’m glad to hear 😊 I’m under the impression that employers who have open positions post those positions to job boards such as Employment Solutions and Sault Community Career Centre so they can build a pool of applicants and they decide which candidate is best suited for the position and advance the businesses interests. If that’s true, I’d understand if I applied for a job along with someone who is more qualified, experienced and equipped for the job that they may be selected for the position by the employer even if they’re from out of town, province, country or the continent. Not sure how a person who is prepared and actively seeking employment are looking for a handout though since they’re literally willing to gain employment to exchange their limited time and services for a wage and steady source of income; even to the extent to leave their homelands, their families and friends in order to apply their skills to our workforce, contribute to our tax base & GDP, spend money in our economy and add to our society.

  6. ਸਰਦਾਰ ਗੁਰਵਿਂਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੂਸਾਂਝ I got a job buddy, I’m talking about the other people of this country who were born here not some one from a foreign country looking for a handout

  7. Many of these comments are reminiscent of how my Polish grandfather was treated when he came to Sault Ste. Marie, often by the Italians that had arrived before that who endured similar racism…. we are all the same and if people genuinely want to find work, they will.

    • Well said, the industry had been sounding the alarm for years that a critical shortage of young trades people was coming and now its here. A little late but at least now there’s some much needed action. Hopefully, immigrating trades people won’t be subjected to the ignorance of the past, regardless of ethnicity.

  8. I keep reading comments that our young people are lazy and want more money. Did anyone ever consider that maybe it is the employer that these young people do not want to work for. Not all employers are good employers and a lot of workplaces are toxic and no fun to be in

  9. This pilot has been amazing for communities in Nova Scotia. The comments here should look at the evidence that shows immigrants create jobs and lift wages. Honestly, it has done a lot of good in Nova Scotia. Hopefully it can do the same in the Soo.

  10. Algoma Steel is desperate for trades people and no one locally has what they are looking for in certain trades…if this system helps Algoma and other businesses, then it helps the entire community, doesn’t it? Puts more money into local businesses, the housing market benefits as well as furniture stores and so on and so on.

  11. Translation: “We want to increase tax revenues in the Sault because the poverty rate is getting too high. Let’s exploit some immigrants! They’ll buy and sell more stuff, revenues will go up and we won’t even have to pay anyone higher wages because they’ll all be fighting over the same jobs.”

  12. As a tax paying resident I did not volunteer or consent to be a part of any experiment that is being pushed in our city. Are the residents of Sault Ste Marie the guinea pigs/lab rats or are the immigrants?

  13. Ya, dwindling economy should be the key words here. How is bringing more people here going to help us? How about bringing down the housing costs, taxes and bring more companies here first, then we can bring more people here. Bringing them here now would only end up in a worse situation than we are in now!!! If our local companies would rather hire illegals vs our own people, shame on you. Yes you get a tax break and only have to pay 1/2 the wages, but continuing to line your pockets at the cost of our already in trouble city, is all your faults. We don’t need more immigration, we just got 10,000 which set us back on our housing problem already existing. Pick Timmins or Sudbury, cities that have better economies than the Sault. Do your homework!

  14. Another horrible idea that will bury the government and this city in more debt than ever. Look after our own first and foremost.

  15. they have all taken over Circle K and Max Mart
    And from what I see they don’t hire anybody but their own so it does not help Sault Ste. Marie at all
    Has anyone tried to get a job at Walmart lately?
    We need businesses here not more immigrants

  16. Its unfortunate that we cant first go after our own unemployed and those using/abusing the systems.
    If our city is so understaffed why is there anyone unemployed?

  17. Great for the city and economy…..bad for the poor immigrants who end up stuck in racism town. I mean Italian people who’s families came to the sault in 1945 are still called wops ( without papers) by some saultites. I can just hear it now ” oh ,they are going to take our jobs”. 😂😂😂😂

    • Tracey Drexler really I haven’t heard those terms used in a long time and my neighbours are all Italian I love them they’re awesome people.
      However I do not want more immigration here at this point in time there is no housing there’s no jobs Have you gone to try to get a job at Walmart lately have you seen what happens to Circle K and Max Mart..
      unless they bring a business event that is going to hire people from Sault Sault Ste
      Marie then yes or if they have skills that can offer benefits to Sault Sainte Marie then yes but I do not want more welfare people.
      I also do not want them taking housing that people here in the Sault have been waiting for years to get in.

    • Lisa Gjos I visited for a week last summer and heard that term more than once. Many businesses have tried to bring jobs to the sault but many people there don’t really want to work. You need demand (more people with money to buy) to be able to increase the supply and bring jobs.

    • Educate don’t proclimate, there aren’t enough jobs here as it is. This is why people move away!!! There aren’t enough housing for rent/sale. Then those that are for sale, sit for a long time because there is no money here. This town has been dying for years because our local MP’s and politicians refuse to bring new business’s here. Then they bring a cancer causing company here behind everyone’s backs, and announce it AFTER they said ya, move to the sault and infect all the local people, the city is dying already. There is so much wrong with this city before we bring anyone here, by the way, we’ve already brought 15k here to our little city. The number is probably higher, but we see them all in the local stores. Our stores like Food Basics, has a sale for them from 9-10pm every night, all the items in the store go on sale just for them, how about that…more special treatment… this for the already existing people who are having a hard time keeping food in their homes because of taxes and gas, groceries and hydro/puc. The local business’s only have to pay 1/2 their (refugee’s, unvetted/illegals) wages because they are illegals/unvetted/refugee’s. Of course the business’s would rather hire them first over our local people. This is so wrong. SO wrong…so educate yourselves before spewing things like we’re a racist city. We have every nationality here and have since the 1800’s. Ottawa is already shipping all the refugee’s/illegals from their city to ontario as it is because they don’t want them in their cities. AND when there have been so much integration in our bigger cities that the government can’t keep up with programs involved, this is a problem. So wait, yes..let’s just keep bringing more in, but we’ll send them to dying cities…muah haha, the people don’t care!!!

    • Sue Tonkin there’s lots of jobs in the Soo, except people don’t want to work them because they are either minimum wage, they don’t have the training or one of the many entitled excuses they might have.

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