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More immigrants in Northern Ontario would be beneficial

Jamaica To Canada

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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Dear Mr Brown,

I heard that Ontario will scrap a programme that targets populating areas of Northern Ontario. I think the programme would be good for jobs. Please give me your insights.

— BM

Dear BM:

During a recent debate between the candidates for the Ontario election, the Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford stated that he had concerns about replicating a federal pilot project under way in Atlantic Canada to attract newcomers to remote, sparsely populated northern Ontario.

Taking care of our own first

He stated that the province of Ontario should be “taking care of our own first” before bringing more immigrants. Furthermore, he stated: “Once we take care of our own and we exhaust every single avenue and we don't have anyone that can fulfil the job, then I'd be open to that.”

When pressed for an explanation regarding the comment, Ford has repeatedly refused to explain his comments, instead saying he is supportive of new Canadians and immigration. However, he has stated that his Government would create more spaces for apprenticeships and break down barriers that keep credentials held by new immigrants from being recognised.

Proposed pilot programme

The Northern Policy Institute, an independent think tank dedicated to issues in Northern Ontario, has proposed Ontario Rural and Remote Pilot programme to address persistent labour shortages and population decline. The creation of a rural-focused immigration stream for Ontario would help correct the current imbalance that sees the vast majority of immigrants coming into the province settle in and around Toronto.

The Ontario pilot programme is expected to:

• Pair designated employers with suitable foreign workers or recent international graduates of universities; or

• Identify eligible foreign workers who meet labour needs in targeted occupations; and

• Involve a separate nomination allotment from the federal government that would be over and above Ontario's annual Provincial Nominee Programme quota.

In response to your question, I do believe the programme would be beneficial in addressing the population and labour shortages of Northern Ontario. Furthermore, I perceive Ford's comments to be xenophobic.

The leaders of the other major political parties in Ontario support the pilot initiative. The Ontario provincial election will be on June 7, 2018.

Please visit jamaica2canada.com for additional information on Canadian Permanent Residence programmes, including Express Entry, The Study & Work programme, Visas or Appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to jamaica2canada@gmail.com .

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