A novel plan to attract GTA immigrants to a rural county

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Many newcomers as well as recent immigrants are frustrated in the GTA. Poor job prospects and the high cost of owning a home are some of the factors. No wonder there has been so much enthusiasm from newcomers for a great initiative–considering a life in rural Ontario.

The Grey county government along with the Newcomer Centre of Peel, a settlement agency took a bunch of new immigrants from Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto for a field trip and the region’s annual job fair in Owen Sound.

Rural Ontario has been losing its population for years now and finding professionals and farm workers is a challenge. The county’s New to Grey pilot project, funded by the province, is a well-meaning attempt by the communities to attract and retain new residents and educating immigrants about the possibility of moving to a region where their skills could be used is not a bad idea.
Many newcomers are reluctant to settle in smaller communities due to a lack of social support and professional connections.

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This new model to mix and match newcomers with smaller communities and rural employers through partnerships with immigrant settlement agencies, if successful, could be a new way for Canada to spread the benefits of immigration and ease the pressure on big cities in absorbing newcomers, more than three-quarters of whom settle in just seven Canadian cities.

Leading up to the field trip, many of the newcomers connected with job recruiters at The Agency, an Owen Sound recruitment company, about their resumes, skill sets, previous job experiences, employers’ expectations and the local labour market.

A rural employment job fair will be held at Mississauga’s Maple Banquet Hall on March 20, where employers and officials from 10 rural municipalities will be present to recruit newcomers from the GTA.

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What is really needed is an integrated approach where all rural communities get together and create a strategy to harness the potential of immigrants who land up in urban centres by default and are forced to stay there despite not being able to find the right employment. In rural communities there are ample opportunities to contribute their skills benefiting themselves as well as help moribund rural communities. – CINEWS

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