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Northern Ontario needs 162,000 new immigrants

Canada Immigration

As per the recently released Conference Report – Come North, Let’s Do It Together –  “to maintain our historical, healthy, ratio of dependents to workers, Ontario’s northern regions would need to retain everyone who is currently here and attract some 8,100 additional people every year for the next twenty years.”

The Report has been funded by the federal government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario [FedNor]. An Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada program.

300+ individuals, representing around 100 different organizations, gathered – in February 2020 – across 6 days for laying out a plan for population growth specifically in the Northern Regions of Ontario.

Meeting first in the city of Temiskaming Shores, followed by meeting again in Thunder Bay, northerners discussed ways for making their communities more welcoming.

The Report has been released in January 2021.

As per the Report, in order to match the expected Ontario level by 2041, Northern Ontario will be requiring around 1,700 individuals annually for the next 20 years. While 34,000 new northerners would be needed for slowing down the decline, Ontario would need 162,000 newcomers to halt it.

This will be assuming, for obvious reasons, that all that are already in Ontario – or are born here anytime across the upcoming 20 years – remain within Ontario.

Even with Ontario currently being the Canadian province with the most population, many more will be needed, especially in Northern Ontario, over the next 2 decades merely for maintaining a healthy workforce.

Referring to the Come North 10-point Action Plan, Ryan Reynard, Executive Director of one of the hosts of the Come North conferences said, “The action plan released today must be implemented immediately.”

Key points in the Come North 10-point Action Plan
  • Northern communities in Ontario must become “welcoming communities”
  • Northern Ontario needs a coordinated marketing plan allowing large as well as small communities to leverage shared resources.
  • Greater linkages will be required to be maintained.
  • The existing immigration portals will have to be updated, be better resourced and be more directly accountable to the community.

The conferences aimed at discussing population growth strategies for Northern Ontario.

With the conferences designed around coordination, information sharing and planning, those who attended the conferences left with a better understanding of the resources available for attracting, supporting, and retaining population in rural and remote communities across Northern Ontario.

As per the findings of the Report, “Of the 11 census districts in Northern Ontario, all of them are currently experiencing labour shortages, population decline, or population aging. If we fail to improve our population retention and attraction numbers, our communities will become economically unsustainable in their current form.

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