SolidVisa Canada immigration blog

Canada’s Rural and Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

Challenges of Rural Communities in Canada 


A large number of immigrants in Canada prefers to settle in major urban regions and this triggers certain issues for small towns, remote and rural territories of the country. What are those challenges? Rural and northern territories face lack of workforce, the aging population, and young people leaving and not returning.

To address the problem, the Canadian government launched Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot and Atlantic Pilot. Both pilots work together and aim to facilitate the market needs of those regions. They will work on creating conditions that will encourage newcomers to stay in their communities. The government of Canada has already implemented programs to increase job opportunities for skilled immigrants.

The very first initiative that proved to be of great success was introduced in Morden, Manitoba under the so-called Morden Community Driven Immigration Initiative (MCDI). If the population of Morden in 2006 was nearly 6, 571, in 2016 it reached 8,668. The initiative helped not only to draw immigrants but to retain them in the town as well.

Rural communities, indeed, are rich in natural resources such as lumber, mining, and fishing. So there’s potential for developing more employment opportunities, establishing more farms and in general, encouraging small, medium as well as large industries.

The federal government is already working on creating more employment opportunities for middle-skilled workers. In fact, it is a priority for the pilot. In addition, it will allow for land purchasing at low market prices.

So, if you are a person who wants to immigrate to Canada, it’s worthwhile to consider rural and northern communities for these many factors. You will be able to purchase a house or land at more affordable prices than in cities to launch a small business.

About the pilot


Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot was introduced in March 2017 in the frames of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The outcome was that the four Atlantic provinces selected 2,500 workers in 2018 under the pilot to fill gaps in the workforce and these people were also eligible for a permanent residence.

The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) is looking for interested communities in Ontario, Western Canada, and the territories to participate in the program. There are certain requirements they need to meet and a deadline for submitting an application is March 1, 2019.

The communities will assess immigration applicants that match local economic needs, find employment opportunities for them and recommend selected candidates for permanent residence.

Which communities are eligible?


Communities in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Yukon with a population of up to 200,000 are considered eligible for the pilot.

These communities must have a local development organization that should present an economic development or strategic plan, which includes:

  • settlement plan for new immigrants;
  • available jobs;
  • providing mentoring or networking;
  • providing access to education, housing, transportation and healthcare.

In addition, the communities will have to provide a letter of support from the local authorities and newcomer-serving organizations.

Occupations that are in demand in rural Canada


Life in major urban cities is quite expensive. And if you are a newcomer, finding a job in such cities might be very difficult as most employers want to hire workers who have Canadian work experience. So why to wait and waste your time when you can simply avail of the careers that are even better in rural Canada. Consider these occupations in the following fields:


Everyone knows that rural areas are experiencing a shortage of physicians and nurses. Only 9% of physician work here while 21% of Canada’s population lives in rural regions. The same is for nursing. The Canadian Nurses Association is projecting a 60,000-job shortage in nursing by 2022. And the picture is even gloomier for people living in northern, remote, and rural regions. The aging population results in high demand of nurses and registered practical nurses across the country.


It isn’t big cities, but small communities that need young lawyers. For example, the median age of lawyers in small centers is between 52-65. So, if you have experience working as a general law practitioner, you can find attracting opportunities in a smaller town.

Website design and development 

Any job related to website design or development can be performed remotely. Consider working for one of the companies in the northern territories. The advantage is that you will not have to spend hours in commuting. Instead, an occasional trip to meet with clients will bring some variety to your life.


Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – jobs in those fields are the most sought-after careers and will be even in greater demand in the future as a larger number of businesses and organizations are going to innovate and modernize their businesses.

Farming and agriculture

Both, processing facilities and primary production face shortage of farm workers. In fact, due to the shortfall of workers, farmers lose about $1,5 billion annually. The government of Canada has reduced processing time for the Temporary Foreign Worker program to bring foreigners to pick up vegetables, feed cattle and help harvest.


There’s also a shortage of teachers in rural areas of Canada. The country is in need of teachers at the Elementary, Middle and Secondary Level with different disciplines, such as Music, Arts, etc. There are interesting opportunities available at First Nations schools throughout the country.


Currently, there’s a need for rural road construction jobs such as construction blaster, road maintenance worker, heavy equipment operator and so on. The job positions with the highest foreign workers include carpenters, construction managers, electricians, and operating engineers.


Remote and rural areas of Canada, face a deficit of truck drivers, in particular, long-haul drivers. If you are an experienced diver planning your immigration, consider choosing smaller rural cities where you can have bigger chances to be admitted and excellent opportunities.


Most foreigners arrive in Canada as economic immigrants. Skilled workers in many occupations are required throughout the country, including sales managers, sales representatives, which seem to be in high demand this year.


Chefs and cooks are in high demand in rural regions and the Atlantic provinces. For example, Prince Edward Island needs cooks during the summer months. Young professionals should apply for a holiday work permit. This is an excellent chance to acquire Canadian work experience which might lead to a permanent residence.


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