TORONTO, Ont. – Eleven communities will participate in a new Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, which is looking to attract newcomers to work in occupations like truck drivers.
The selected communities are: Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, and North Bay, Ont.; Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee and Brandon, Man.; Moose Jaw, Sask.; Claresholm, Alta.; and West Kootenay and Vernon, B.C.
“As baby boomers leave the transportation industry, a gap is being created that our local labor pool cannot sufficiently fill. For many organizations, filling these gaps helps grow and create more opportunities for locals looking for other positions,” said Doug Sutherland of Sutco Transportation Specialists.
Sutco participated in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in the past, but the new rural immigration program focuses more on attracting workers as long-term employees, he said.
“This program is really driven by partners at the local level,” said Jonathan Blackham, the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s director – policy and public affairs. “This means, if there is a need for drivers in one of the selected areas, it will be important for the local trucking association to work with local carriers and community support groups to utilize of this new program.”
The government will begin working with communities this summer to help identify candidates for permanent residence as early as this fall. The first newcomers under the pilot are expected to arrive in 2020.
“It’s our hope that this program’s success will evolve [into] a permanent program, which will allow all qualifying Canadian fleets, regardless of location, to attract truck drivers from overseas to become Canadian citizens employed in the trucking industry,” said Blackham.