News, Success Stories

Immigration pilot helps with worker shortage

Ainsworth Hot Springs supports manager to attain permanent residency

When Community Futures Central Kootenay announced it would deliver a new federal immigration pilot to attract foreign workers to rural communities, it was good news for Ainsworth Hot Springs.

“Even though the jobs are here, we need the workers,” says Jane, Director of Human Resources at Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort. “We’ve had to get creative as far as retaining staff out here because we’re so remote.”

The tiny village of Ainsworth Hot Springs (pop. 50) is located 45 minutes north of Nelson, BC. The resort is the heart of the village. Owned by the Lower Kootenay Band, it caters to locals and tourists alike with 54 rooms with beautiful natural hot springs, a spa, gift shop and restaurant.

“Especially in hospitality, we’re always looking for employees,” Jane says. The resort already had foreign workers on staff, and now the West Kootenay Rural and Northern Immigrant Pilot (RNIP) makes it easier for them to get permanent residency, so they can stay and work in the community.

Ainsworth Hot Springs’ reception manager, Mark, was the first among their staff to use the pilot. He’d been at Ainsworth on a temporary work permit and was trying to get his permanent residency, using a different avenue.

“I know he was feeling pretty discouraged,” says Jane. “Especially because he was already so established in the community. His kids are going to school here. He and his wife bought a house here. Finding out he might not be able to stay just sounded odd. He’s very well-natured and funny. We’re really lucky to have him, and he’s a great fit.”

Mark achieved his permanent residency through RNIP in October of 2021 and continues to do fantastic work for Ainsworth!

The resort is also hoping to get another of its employees through the program. Their front desk agent, Kim, is from the Philippines. “Kim is so meticulous. She’s super organized. She’s worked in a big resort and for airlines as well. So she’s great with the customers because she really knows her stuff. That’s hard to find in this area.”

Jane loves that the RNIP brings cultural diversity to Ainsworth. “I think it’s really great to have different ethnicities and cultures come together and learn more about other religions and celebrations. It makes for such a varied life, which I think is really important.”

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort is one of more than 125 West Kootenay employers that have used RNIP to hire skilled workers, since the launch in 2020. Learn more at

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