Through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the Government of Canada works with small and remote communities in Ontario, Western Canada and the three territories to attract and retain foreign workers. 

The five-year pilot supports eligible communities to:

  • utilise immigration to help meet local labour market needs and support regional economic development; 
  • establish a new pathway to permanent residence in rural Canada for skilled foreign nationals at various skill levels; and
  • create welcoming environments that attract and integrate newcomers.

What is the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot?

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is community-driven, which means participating communities take the lead in attracting new immigrants and matching them with local job vacancies, promoting a welcoming community, and connecting newcomers to established members of the community and its settlement services. 

Community and Economic Development Organization Roles and Responsibilities

Communities must work with a local economic development organization to fulfill the pilot’s eligibility criteria.

Selected communities and local economic development organizations must:

  • organize key players within the community, including employers, to identify opportunities where immigration can best support the local economy and share the importance and value of immigration with the community;
  • promote the pilot and the community to eligible foreign nationals;
  • recruit and assess suitable candidates for immigration by considering the economic needs of the community and an employment opportunity for the candidate;
  • prepare the community for the arrival of new immigrants by working with partners that provide services and develop strong support networks for new immigrants;
  • promote the integration of new immigrants in the community by connecting newcomers with established members of the community and settlement/social services (i.e. housing, education, transportation, and health care);
  • monitor and report on the results of the pilot in the community.

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Community Eligibility

To be considered eligible to participate in the pilot, the community must:

  • have a population of 50,000 people or less and be located at least 75 km from the core of a Census Metropolitan Area OR up to 200,000 people and be considered remote from other larger cities (using Statistics Canada’s index of remoteness)
  • be located in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Yukon; 
  • have job opportunities;
  • have an economic development plan;
  • have a local economic development organization that can manage the pilot for your community;
  • have the capacity to settle new immigrants in the community by having or developing:
    • relationships with local or regional immigrant-serving organizations;
    • opportunities to connect newcomers with established members of the community, such as through mentoring or networking;
    • access to key services like education, housing, transportation, and health care.


Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food industry is a vital component of the Canadian economy and contributes more than $110 billion annually to the country’s gross domestic product.

In order to attract and retain the workers needed to sustain and grow this output, the Government of Canada introduced the three-year Agri-Food Immigration Pilot to provide eligible temporary foreign workers in the sector with a pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

​Agri-Food Immigration Pilot: Eligible occupations

The occupations and industries eligible under the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot include:

  • meat processing
    • retail butcher
    • industrial butcher
    • food processing labourer
  • harvesting labourer for year-round mushroom production and greenhouse crop production
  • general farm worker for year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production, or livestock raising
  • farm supervisor and specialized livestock worker for meat processing, year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production or livestock raising

Agri-Food Immigration Pilot: Eligibility requirements

Candidates with work experience in the above occupations must also meet the following eligibility requirements in order to be considered for Canadian permanent residence under the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot.

  • 12 months of full-time, non-seasonal Canadian work experience in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in one of the eligible occupations.
  • a Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French
  • the foreign equivalent of a high school level education or greater
  • an indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada, outside of Quebec, at or above the prevailing wage.

Agri-Food Immigration Pilot: 2-year LMIA for employers

Eligible employers in the meat processing sector who use the pilot will be issued a two-year Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

In order to be eligible, meat processors will be required to outline their plans to support the temporary foreign worker in obtaining permanent residency.

Unionized meat processors will require a letter of support from their union and non-unionized meat processors will have to meet additional requirements to ensure the labour market and migrant workers are protected, IRCC says.