Create a Regional Immigration Strategy
Although the conference board recognizes the steps the municipal and provincial governments’ in Ontario has taken to regionalize immigration and the new Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot of the federal governments, the board points out that creation of an Ontario Regional Immigration Study can assist such efforts.
The goal of the strategy would be encompassing a vision that is shared for the future including short-medium-and long term regional economic priorities, regionalization targets, performance measures that track the progress and a plan that is operational and that features the responsibilities and roles of each party in achieving the objectives.
Parties to the strategy would include government representatives, Municipal Immigration Committee in Ontario, and stakeholders such as universities and colleges, workforce development groups, businesses, immigrant-serving organizations, among others.
The Conference Board study has provided an example of a medium-term target. This target will ensure a 35 percent increase for the newcomers who want to settle outside the GTA by 2030.
Refine the OINP
The study says that it is also possible to use the Ontario Immigration Nominee Program (OINP) to move more immigrants to CMAs and beyond the GTA. The OINP enables Ontario to nominate a given number of applicants for the economic class principal. These applicants must meet its economic development and labor market priorities for Canadian permanent residence every year.
The OINP could also establish a regional allocation target for those areas with difficulties in recruiting immigrants. They would then refine the eligibility requirements for various immigration streams to show the local economic conditions.
The study also recommends that new Family and Community Support Stream be created under the OINP.