Bruce County joins Grey Immigration partnership photo

A formal partnership is being formed between Bruce and Grey County councils to attract more immigrants to the area.

Bruce County council voted to endorse a local immigration partnership with Grey County, which will see the formation of a partnership council, including an application for a five-year grant from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a staff position to be split between the two counties.

Bruce County’s Manager of Economic Development Jill Roote said the local immigration partnership model helps identify what immigrants are looking for as they settle in Canada, and will develop action plans for attracting and retaining new Canadians.

She said the labour shortage is well documented and increasing settlement of immigrants would help.

“We need people in order to fill jobs that are going vacant, we need people to make a more diverse community, we want to attract skills and innovation smarts, and that sort of thing,” said Roote.

Roote added attracting immigrants has not always been an issue, but retaining them has been more of a challenge.

Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau said a formal strategy for breaking down barriers for new Canadians is a good start.

“Immigrants want to come to Canada, and I think they would find opportunity in Bruce County, but we have some gaps for integrating them into our communities, we know that, we’ve had it presented to us,” said Charbonneau. “This is an opportunity for us to actually identify what those gaps are and to fill them, so I think it’s a great opportunity.”

Charbonneau pointed out access to English-as-a-second language programs, as well as affordable housing are two of the bigger issues that require a solution.