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Feds announce funding for Thunder Bay immigration pilot project

Money is also approved for projects for the Red Rock Indian Band.
Aakash Rathod John Murray Immigration Pilot
This August 2020 photo shows John Murray (left), owner of Red Lion Smokehouse, and Aakash Rathod, a native of India who has embarked on the immigration process under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (TBNewswatch)

THUNDER BAY — The federal government has approved nearly half a million dollars to support the implementation of its Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot in the Thunder Bay area.

Coordinated by the Community Economic Development Commission, the project provides outreach and education activities with employers regarding immigration pathways to help them meet their workforce needs.

It also supports employer diversity-readiness training, and the marketing and promotion of in-demand jobs to newcomers from Canada and from other countries.

Thunder Bay is one of 11 communities approved for participation by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Last August, 32 immigrants were working for 16 different employers in Thunder Bay as participants in the pilot.

Four other communities across Northern Ontario are involved in the program as well.

The Northern Policy Institute will use a federal contribution of about $182,000 to collect data and evaluate the successes and challenges of the immigration pilot in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay and Timmins.

Thunder Bay-area MPs Patty Hajdu and Marcus Powlowski on Wednesday also announced $237,000 for the Red Rock Indian Band to help pay for the transformation of the Chalet Lodge into an all-season tourism hub.

In addition, the community will receive $25,000 for a feasibility study for a proposed wild rice cultivation and processing operation.

Nearby, the Township of Nipigon will use $96,500 to upgrade and improve local tourist attractions including the Edge Arts Studio and Gallery and the Bridgeview Lookout.