Posted on - Dec 17, 2019

By Catherine Sas Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

This past November the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) was introduced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) opening a path for permanent residence for applicants willing to settle permanently in smaller, northern communities across Canada. Following upon the success of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program, IRCC solicited communities to participate and at the time of introduction of the program, 11 communities across western Canada and Ontario had registered. However, of those communities who registered for the RNIP, at the introduction of the program only three have finalized their selection criteria with the other 8 communities listed as posting their community criteria in early 2020. For prospective immigrant applicants, there remains much to be learned about the RNIP.

The goal of the RNIP is to encourage economic immigration to Canada’s smaller communities by creating a path to permanent residence for foreign workers who intend to reside in these communities and who might otherwise not be able to qualify for Canada’s other economic immigration programs. The communities that are registered with the RNIP are as follows:

  • North Bay, Ontario
  • Sudbury, Ontario
  • Timmins, Ontario
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Brandon, Manitoba
  • Altona/Rhineland, Manitoba
  • Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • Claresholm, Albert
  • Vernon, British Columbia
  • West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson) , British Columbia

Currently only three communities are actively participating in the pilot program – Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Altona/Rhineland, Manitoba and Thunder Bay, Ontario – and have launched their websites for both employers and prospective applicants. The other communities are anticipated to launch their websites early in the New Year.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the RNIP, you must obtain a full time and permanent job offer from an employer that carries on business within a participating community and you must demonstrate the intention to live permanently within the community. You must also have one year of continuous, full time, paid employment related to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) description for the position being offered by your prospective employer. (See our former blog: https://canadian-visa-lawyer.com/immigration-essentials-getting-the-reference-letter-right/ for more information about proof of work experience.) International students who have graduated from a public university, college or trade school within the community that they are applying to, may be exempt from the work experience requirement. In addition, you must demonstrate that you

have either a Canadian high school diploma or a foreign equivalent confirmed by an educational credential assessment (ECA) and proof of English or French language proficiency with a designated language test in accordance with the minimum requirements associated with the NOC description for your occupation.

Application Process

In order to apply under the RNIP you must first obtain an eligible job offer from an approved employer in the community in which you intend to reside. Once you receive an eligible job offer, you will need to apply for a community recommendation. You will need the community recommendation letter in order to be able to submit an application for permanent residence to IRCC.

Obviously, the individual community criteria are crucial to the RNIP application process. With only three communities having launched their websites there is much left to learn about the RNIP process for prospective immigrants. Stay tuned as the remaining eight communities launch their websites and fully engage in the RNIP in 2020!


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 8 consecutive years.


To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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