Canada - Attracting immigrants to smaller communities

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The federal government of Canada is partnering with provincial and local governments to attract immigrants to smaller communities.

Parliamentary Secretary Ed Komarnicki joined provincial, municipal, and community stakeholders in launching a new resource set up to attract immigrants to less densely populated areas and assisting them with integration into the community.

A comprehensive guide entitled 'Attracting and Retaining Immigrants: A Tool Box of Ideas for Smaller Centers' will be released to communities wishing to create their own immigration strategy. The guide includes information on immigration and employment, as well as recommendations on strategies for building support, reducing barriers, and creating welcoming communities.

"The Government of Canada believes in the importance of immigration, and we are a proud partner in this initiative," Komarnicki said. "We want to help smaller communities across the country to benefit from immigration and this tool box will help them develop their own immigration strategies."

A recent study by Statistics Canada found that migrants have less of an income gap outside of large urban areas when compared to native-born Canadians, with the income gap decreasing over time. In small towns and rural areas, migrants averaged more than their Canadian counterparts, even after only one year of permanent residence.

"The Tool Kit is a practical tool for smaller centres to use as they build a strategy to address the issues surrounding the attraction and retention of immigrants to their community," said Jean McRae, Executive Director of the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria. "It allows communities to be creative while encouraging active participation from existing community members as they build an inclusive plan for newcomers."

The Tool Box was funded through a contribution agreement from Citizenship and Immigration Canada in helping new immigrants settle in Canada. Overall, the Canadian government is investing CAD $1.4 billion in settlement funding over five years to provinces and territories except for Quebec, which receives annual funding through a separate agreement.