Sudbury·Audio

Sault Ste. Marie nurses first in Canada to become permanent residents through new pilot program

Two skilled immigrants in Sault Ste Marie are the first in Canada to receive permanent residency through a new federal program.

There are 11 communities across the country participating in Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program

Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, Thunder Bay, North Bay and Sudbury are all taking part in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program. (CBC)

Two skilled immigrants in Sault Ste Marie are the first in Canada to receive permanent residency through a new federal program.

A man from Ghana and a woman from India were part of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program, which is intended to identify skilled workers who can help ease the labour shortage in rural and remote areas. The two are nurses who studied at Sault College and work in long term care homes.

Paul Sayers, who is the labour force development coordinator with Sault Ste. Marie's economic development team, says the program has been incredibly popular.

"A lot of these candidates are very savvy and they were contacting everybody under the sun and in the city," he said.

"Eventually these emails and contact information were funnelled through me ... we roughly estimated 20,000 people have expressed interest."

There are 11 communities across country that are participating in this program, including Timmins, Thunder Bay, North Bay and Sudbury. Foreign workers are being sought in the sectors of manufacturing, skilled trades, healthcare, and hospitality, among others.

Sault Ste. Marie now has two new permanent residents to Canada living in their community. And they are both registered nurses. The candidates are the first to be accepted through a bran new pilot project that was created to help with job shortages in smaller communities in the country. Other cities who were chosen for the project are Timmins, Thunder Bay, North Bay and Sudbury. It is called the Rural and Northern Immigration Project. Paul Sayers is the Labour Force Development Coordinator with Future for Sault Ste. Marie. He spoke with the CBC's Jessica Pope earlier. 7:31

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