News Pilot program designed to boost immigration to B.C.’s small communities SHARE ON: Ethan Ready, staff Thursday, Mar. 14th, 2019 Photo: BCNDP Immigration is set up to boom in Northern B.C. This comes as the provincial government announced the pilot launch of the Entrepreneur Immigration Project on March 14, designed to promote immigration to BC’s smaller communities as a way to boost the province’s economy. The Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology, Bruce Ralston was in Courtenay, B.C. to make the announcement. “We know that smaller centres can face challenges in growing their economies, sometimes due to an aging workforce, sometimes due to young people seeking opportunities elsewhere,” said Ralston. “Our government recently invited communities to participate in a new Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot.” With the shared jurisdiction between the federal government and provincial government when it comes to immigration, the purpose of the project is designed to promote the advantages of entrepreneurial opportunities in smaller communities. “I think what many communities have faced outside of the metropolitan areas are experiencing is a frustration in their ability to attract immigrants who are valued to their communities. So the design of this program — focusing on communities fewer than 75,000 population and 30 kilometres or more from a community of 75,000 or more — will help in the attracting and meeting the needs of communities throughout the province.” Currently, there are 27 communities enrolled in the program, including Burns Lake, Prince George, and Quesnel. Ralston states he is aware that it is simply a pilot program, however, he truly believes that it has the potential of meeting the needs of some communities looking to draw immigrants to their area. “As you build out an economy, there are some of the other services besides simply industrial jobs,” said Ralston. “So service jobs, whether it’s in a range of services, that entrepreneurs will focus on and see market opportunities.” In Northern B.C., the industrial sector is a large contributor to the economy. However, with a pilot project like this, the government is hoping the service sector will benefit from the implementation of this particular pilot project as the province welcomes immigrants to Canada and the province of B.C. “I think it will be a healthy complement to the economic growth,” said Ralston.