North Bay, a city in northeastern Ontario, will soon be accepting immigration applications through the federal pilot program.

The City of North Bay is slated to launch the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot in the next couple of weeks.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a community-driven program designed to enable small communities to benefit from the contributions of economic immigration by providing potential candidates with a pathway to permanent residence. The program is intended for skilled foreign workers who wish to work and live in one of the participating communities.

North Bay, a small city located approximately 300 km north of Toronto, will become the tenth community to accept applications through the RNIP once it launches its website in the coming weeks.

North Bay, like the other 11 RNIP participating communities, has a quota of 100 community recommendations for the first year of the pilot project.

The RNIP is designed to connect foreign workers with employers facing labour shortages in small Canadian communities. Each community is selected for its size, location, employment opportunities, and ability to help newcomers settle.

Once the North Bay site is online, it will be possible for candidates to submit applications and for employers to post job offers.

An eligible offer of permanent full-time employment in one of the participating communities is required and only applicants who receive a community referral through the RNIP may apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Because RNIP is community-driven, participating communities take the lead in attracting new immigrants or temporary foreign workers already in Canada and matching them with local job opportunities.

The matching process varies from community to community. In North Bay’s case, interested candidates who get involved in the community and who are bilingual may have an advantage.

“We would hope the newcomers want to be involved in the community; then the likelihood of them wanting to stay here once they receive PR and not moving to larger or other centers [would be another requirement],” Patti Carr, vice-president of policy and communications for the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce and project manager for the RNIP, told CIC News.

“Bilingualism […] would be an asset. The ability for the spouse to also fill one of the high demand employment opportunities would also be a great fit for our community,” she said.

According to Carr, North Bay’s family-friendly amenities, freshwater lakes and proximity to major centres, as well as reasonable housing prices, make this community a very attractive option for newcomers.

North Bay will begin reviewing applications immediately following the launch of its program, starting with candidates who are already in the country and have full-time employment in high-demand areas.

In the long term, Carr hopes that the RNIP will help “maintain and increase the population and help fill positions that have been vacant for some time and have been preventing some businesses from expanding or taking on new contracts for products and services.”

In addition to North Bay, the following participating communities are already accepting applications: