West Kootenay Immigration Pilot Helps Kootenay Businesses Address Workforce Shortages

WEST KOOTENAY—On June 14th, 150 people attended a gathering to celebrate the 211 people (including spouses and dependents) who received their Canadian Permanent Residency through the West Kootenay Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.

The Pilot is a community-led immigration program that brings skilled workers to rural communities in Canada. The goal is to spread the benefits of economic immigration to communities outside large metropolitan centers.

“In 2019, Community Futures applied on behalf of the West Kootenays to be part of this Pilot to meet the workforce needs of our local businesses.” Said Andrea Wilkey, Executive Director at Community Futures Central Kootenay. “The Pilot was just getting started when the pandemic began. Not only did this restrict immigration, but it also created a worker shortage. This Pilot has been timely for many local employers who’ve been able to find workers during this challenging time.”

Since the launch in 2020, 114 West Kootenay employers have used the Pilot, hiring skilled workers for jobs such as Health Care Aide, Truck Driver, and Cook.

In addition to the 211 people who have received their permanent residency so far, another 233 people have received community recommendations to apply for permanent residency.

“Seeing everyone in the room together is so gratifying, after years of mostly meeting people on Zoom,” said Pilot Coordinator Erin Rooney who has been with the Pilot since the beginning. “It’s a cause for celebration after all of the hard work it’s taken each person to go through the immigration process.”

To learn more about the candidates and employers who have participated in the Pilot, check out the recently launched Success Stories.

Interested in hiring skilled workers through the pilot?


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