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City Hall hammered with enquiries about immigration pilot program

4,500 expressions of interest received. And that was before the program official launched today
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Even before the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program launched today, Sault Ste. Marie City Hall had received 3,000 resumes and 4,500 expressions of interest, City Council learned tonight.

"It just went live today on the Immigration Canada website, so we expect those numbers to increase dramatically," Travis Anderson, Future SSM project manager, told councillors.

"We're definitely feeling the effects of the program already," Anderson said.

"Some of my staff have had at least 10 calls a day from international parties that are interested. One individual has received about 1,500 emails so far."

"It's been really strong interest and we're hoping to grow that."

Ahmed Hussen, federal minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, announced in June that Sault Ste. Marie was one of 11 rural and northern communities chosen to participate in the pilot, aimed at attracting skilled foreign workers to smaller communities.

Of five northern Ontario cities selected for the program, only the Sault and Thunder Bay already have websites devoted to the pilot.

Sudbury, Timmins and North Bay have not yet launched immigration pilot initiatives, the federal website indicates.

Sault Ste. Marie City Council tonight approved applying to Ontario's labour market partnership program for us much as $250,000 to hire a co-ordinator to oversee the federal pilot project, and to support marketing, promotion and management.

David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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