Pilot project aims to fill labour gaps in Vernon with skilled foreign workers

Pilot project aims to fill labour gaps in Vernon with skilled foreign workers

Employers may begin posting jobs on Feb. 1 seeking workers at home and abroad

In just a few weeks, local employers will be able to post jobs that could help bring up to 100 skilled foreign workers to the North Okanagan every year until 2022 — bolstering the economy and helping employers overcome a looming skilled labour shortage that can’t be filled solely by residents.

Vernon is one of two communities in B.C. and one of 11 in Canada selected to participate in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), which aims to help smaller communities benefit from the immigration of skilled workers by creating a path to permanent residence. RNIP Vernon will see Community Futures North Okanagan (CFNO) endorse qualifying job postings and support the local committee that recommends the applications of eligible skilled international workers.

“Our region is extremely fortunate to have been selected to participate in this project,” CFNO general manager Leigha Horsfield said. “The opportunities it presents to enhance and fill gaps in our workforce needs is exceptional. One of the many outcomes we’d like to see is the promotion of the North Okanagan as a destination of choice for skilled immigrants and their families.”

READ MORE: Vernon joins immigration pilot program

The pilot is scheduled to begin in Vernon Feb. 1 and this week CFNO begins hosting ongoing RNIP training sessions for employers, who must meet several eligibility requirements, including being within a 40-kilometre radius (except for Kelowna), already having at least three full-time employees, and being able to pay a living wage of at least $25/hr for a full-time permanent position. As of Feb. 1, employers can post a position on the new RNIP Vernon website, which goes live today for information, and employers will also be required to post the job locally so current residents can apply.

On Feb. 3, RNIP candidates will be able to create a profile on the RNIP Vernon site and can then apply for postings. To be considered eligible, candidates must meet federal permanent residency criteria as well as language benchmarks, and intend to live in the community. Once there’s a match between qualified employers and applicants, a CFNO committee reviews applications monthly and can recommend up to 100 applicants per year.

“If we can target skilled workers who can earn a living wage, and if they have job security and a welcoming community, these people and their families are more likely to stay and continue contributing to our region,” RNIP regional coordinator Ward Mercer said, adding with an aging population, only 47 per cent of Vernon residents are active in the workforce, and that number will continue to shrink as baby boomers retire.

“This is a proactive solution that supports our region’s economic development goals. Vancouver and Kelowna are such draws, how do we attract and keep skilled workers? They need to have good jobs and a good place to live,” Mercer said.

The pilot runs February 2020-22. The maximum number of recommended applicants would be 300 over the three-year period, in addition to applicants’ spouses and children, if their applications are also successful.

The RNIP project is supported by the City of Vernon, Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

READ MORE: Vernon chosen for immigration pilot project


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

EmploymentImmigration

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Friends Fraser O'Brien, Chris and Ben Reinhardt and Youngbin Kim enjoy a game of hockey on Okanagan Lake off Kin Beach Friday afternoon. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Synthetic ice an option for proposed outdoor rink in Vernon

Council to consider 3 options identified by staff regarding a new rink

Al Kowalko shows off the province's first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Okanagan schools shifting gears to electric buses

Vernon, Central Okanagan, Rocky Mountain and Okanagan-Skaha on board

Flooding around the entrance of Mission Creek into Okanagan Lake has been a reflection of the impact of climate change on the spring snowmelt across the Okanagan Valley watershed. (File photo)
B.C. water sustainability plan pitched to Okanagan stakeholders

Seeking resolution to water and land-use conflicts

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a car fire on Anderson Way Friday, May 7, 2021. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Car fire snuffed in Vernon parking lot

The vehicle was fully engulfed upon crews’ arrival, according to Anderson Way Home Depot staff

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
Vernon Mounties respond to 287 mental health calls in 5 months

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being during national week

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News file)
People aged 30+ in Summerland, Rutland offered vaccine amid high transmission risk

Interior Health offers residents of Rutland and Summerland aged 30 and up chance at vaccine

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Alex Hegedus (left) with his wife and two young children. (Contributed/Kelowna RCMP)
Family offers reward for information about Peachland man’s suspicious 2018 death

Alex Hegedus died under suspicious circumstances in March 2018

Revelstoke’s Mayor Gary Sulz getting his COVID-19 vaccination on April 5. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke is leading B.C.’s interior on vaccinations: Interior Health

Approximately 70% of the community has first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

An unused fruit stand at Highway 97 and Road 1 went up in flames Thursday night. (Oliver Fire Department)
Abandoned South Okanagan fruit stand fire considered suspicious

The timing of the midnight fire is one reason the fire is suspicious

Most Read