The owner of a welding shop in Sudbury, ON is applauding the recently announced federal Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, a program to encourage skilled immigrants to settle in rural and remote parts of the country.
Robert Brouillette, president and owner of City Welding, could even have been what inspired Ottawa to launch the program. He’s been seeking out and hiring skilled immigrants for his shop since 2008. “We currently have nine foreign workers who are now permanent residents of Canada,” Brouillette told CBC News. “They’ve had children born here [and] they own homes.”
He also says that he has been very proactive in helping his new hires to get on their feet, helping them get a driver’s licence, partnering with local colleges to help them learn English and supporting their efforts to get permanent residency. He even picks them up at the airport when they arrive.
The effort has paid off with a 100 per cent retention rate, Brouillette says. Some of the immigrants he’s hired have also been promoted to supervisory roles.
Brouillette says he started to look for immigrant candidates because of the “critical” shortage of labour in the trades. While there are programs to encourage young Canadians to enter the trades, so far there hasn’t been much in the way of results, at least as far as Brouillette has seen.
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is a five-year program patterned on the successful Atlantic Immigration Pilot, an initiative to settle more young, skilled immigrants in the four Atlantic provinces. It is currently open only to communities.