The Western Regional Enterprise Network announced September 12 that Gino Thibeault was hired as part of a partnership with the province’s Office of Immigration to help interested businesses register with the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and get connected with a new pool of potential employees.
This pilot project is part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy on which all four Atlantic provinces are partnered to get more immigrants interested in settling, to help stimulate the region's economy.
Western REN’s chief executive officer Angélique LeBlanc said this partnership addresses challenges facing labour markets in Western Nova Scotia.
“Labour shortages… are a complex issue. There’s no magic solution to solve it entirely, but immigration and foreign workers play a key role,” said LeBlanc.
“It’s critical, where shortages are common – immigrants are vital to the growth of our region.”
The program aims to help increase awareness within companies of current immigration programs that do exist and increase access in doing so.
LeBlanc explains that while many businesses know government support exists, they cannot keep up with changing programs. This is where Thibeault will come in.
“It’s the job of Thibeault and the rest of our organization to keep up with these programs, to help better connect businesses with these opportunities,” she said.
And those opportunities, she said, start with engaging immigrants and foreign workers with the job market.
“We have an aging population. This would help revitalize Western Nova Scotia,” said LeBlanc.
“Getting immigrants and foreign workers into jobs would really help with that.”
To be designated for the Atlantic Immigration Program, businesses must:
· Be operating in good standing;
· Provide info on labour needs; and
· Commit to partnering with service provider organization on settlement and retention
To become endorsed through the program, businesses must:
· Demonstrate local hiring efforts were unsuccessful;
· Recruit a foreign worker;
· Provide this worker with a valid, full-time, non-seasonable co-signed offer; and
· Provide an individualized settlement co-signed plan with this worker.