The path for permanent residency has become easier for people moving to Timmins this year.
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) has been extended for another year, after successfully issuing 148 community recommendations in 2022.
That is a 42 per cent jump from 2021’s numbers and brings the total number community recommendations to 293 since its launch in 2020.
In the summer, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser was in Timmins to announce changes to the program and hear from local people involved.
The updates included expanding the range of job offers available to candidates in the health care and trades sector, helping community partners provide greater support to candidates and employers, and reducing the amount of money participants are required to have.
Timmins was also one of the communities that saw its boundaries extended. The area now covers the Highway 11 corridor from Hearst to the Cobalt area and west on Highway 101 to Foleyet.
“A lot of our applicants are past international students from Northern College,” said Bailey Campbell, RNIP program coordinator, explaining the two most likely candidates for the program. “Or an employer is looking to hire someone and they can’t find the talent in Timmins, so they want to bring someone in from overseas.”
Community recommendations are one path to permanent residence in Canada and they are done monthly throughout the year.
Applicants through the RNIP program have to submit an application for permanent residence within six months of their recommendation.
The program is hopeful in the new year to see an increase in francophone applicants as well.
“We haven’t seen as many as we’d hoped at this point,” said Campbell.
In an effort to make Timmins more appealing, the Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) launched a diversity program and worked hard to promote an inclusive environment.
The major projects this year that attempted to accomplish this were the video series, highlighting different communities within Timmins, and the workplace inclusion charter, which launched in November.
There have been 11 signatories to the inclusion charter so far, and there will be celebrations of those ‘community inclusion champions’ in the new year.
“When we talk about equity and diversity and inclusion, we have to understand that it’s a journey that starts with each of us,” said Nicola Alexander, TEDC’s community development consultant. “But the reception that we’ve seen and the raising of awareness has been encouraging, and I think increasingly Timmins is being perceived as a warm and welcoming place for newcomers.”
There was a highly visible campaign promoting diversity in Timmins throughout the fall on billboards and on city buses, and TEDC’s social media campaign is ongoing.
The focus for TDEC in the new year will be to help those companies and organizations take further steps toward their inclusion goals.
“A lot of employers are recognizing this is a very important thing they need to deal with but they’re not sure where or how to start,” said Alexander. “The workplace inclusion charter sets up how they can start to move forward.”
Organizations that are looking to get involved in the workplace inclusion charter can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and a copy of the charter.
Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com