Smith welcomes Fedeli to announce OINP regional pilots

BELLEVILLE - The Ontario Government is helping businesses in small and rural communities attract and retain skilled workers through a new Regional Immigration Pilot program. Chatham-Kent, Cornwall and Belleville/Quinte West were selected to participate in an effort to fulfill labour needs that are not currently being met locally.

The Regional Immigration Pilot — which is part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — will be an opportunity for businesses in the three communities to fill talent gaps and support economic growth and a pathway for skilled foreign workers to become permanent residents.

In a recent letter, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade also called on the federal government to work in collaboration to further develop Ontario's immigration strategy and give the province more choice and autonomy over the selection of economic immigrants.

"Our government is committed to growing economic immigration and connecting job creators in small and rural communities with the talent they need to expand and succeed," said Fedeli. "Through the Regional Immigration Pilot, businesses in Belleville/Quinte West, Chatham-Kent and Cornwall now have the ability to meet their employment requirements and create even more good jobs."

"Belleville and Quinte West have a fantastic infrastructure and capacity to welcome newcomers and help them get settled," said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and MPP Bay of Quinte. "Through the Regional Immigration Pilot, we will help alleviate skilled labour challenges in the region, so our job creators can continue to grow their businesses and boost our local economy."

While developing the pilot, the government gathered feedback from stakeholders in a number of small and rural communities across the province. Communities were chosen based on their specific skilled labour challenges, the ability to help newcomers get settled and interest from community stakeholders. Additionally, Cornwall's Francophone business needs were also taken into consideration. Outcomes from the pilot will help inform further efforts to regionalize economic immigration in Ontario. 

"The Regional Immigration Pilot will help lay the foundation for a strong economy that will benefit both newcomers and job creators," said Fedeli. "We are creating a streamlined and cost-effective open for business climate that will help companies invest, innovate and grow across the province."

Quick Facts

  • The OINP will allocate approximately 150 nominations for the pilot through the OINP Employer Job Offer category.
  • The OINP’s Employer Job Offer Category allows Ontario businesses to fill labour needs in professional, managerial and in-demand occupations with foreign workers and international students to fill their labour gaps. Recruited workers must have a job offer and may apply from within or outside of Canada.
  • The government will also be adding new manufacturing National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes to the In-Demand Skills Stream, which will take effect in the 2020 nomination year.
  • Immigration is a shared jurisdiction in Canada between the federal government and the provinces and territories. Ontario has the largest nominee program in the country with an allocation of 6,650 in 2019, plus an additional 250 nominations specifically for National Occupational Classification level C jobs that usually require high school and/or job-specific training.
  • Ontario asked the federal government for an increase to its nomination allocation in 2019 and expects to begin discussions for 2020 nomination allocation soon to ensure Ontario can meet demand for the program.
  • For more information on other changes introduced this year, visit Ontario’s Regulatory Registry.

Additional Resources


“Many of Ontario’s regional economic challenges are exacerbated by a lack of workers. Immigration can be a powerful tool to mitigate these challenges. The OCC welcomes today’s announcement, as the rollout of the Regional Immigration Pilot will make it easier to connect highly skilled immigrants with the smaller communities that need them.”

Rocco Rossi

President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce

“The labour shortage in our region affects many sectors and is especially challenging in manufacturing, construction, agriculture and tourism/hospitality. Giving our businesses assistance to attract and retain immigrants with the skills they need could really help to fill vacant positions and allow for the projected growth many companies are trying to manage.”

Suzanne Andrews

CEO, Quinte West Chamber of Commerce

“We are delighted that the Bay of Quinte Region is a pilot community for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. The Bay of Quinte Region has an affordable quality of life and a diverse and growing business base with identified workforce needs and gaps. This pilot project will position the Bay of Quinte Region and its employers to attract the skilled workforce they need to fill in-demand positions through immigration.”

Chris King

CEO, Quinte Economic Development Commission

Smith announces $900,000 investment in hands-on training for those facing barriers to employment



BELLEVILLE – Ontario is committed to putting people back to work with a focus on job training and personal development. A commitment of $900,000 will help multi-barriered individuals in the Quinte region get job-ready, by teaching them hard and soft skills to better position them for sustainable, long-term employment.

The project - funded through the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and run through Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA-HPE) – will connect people with food service industry jobs, including those with disabilities, a lack of formal education or homelessness.

“I’m very proud of the work that the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Hastings and Prince Edward branch is doing to ensure people of all abilities are able to contribute to our community,” said Todd Smith, MPP for the Bay of Quinte. “Having a job is so much more than collecting a paycheque, it’s about the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching one’s potential.”

Today’s announcement builds on Ontario government’s work to create meaningful paths to employment, and ensure people have the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy. Within 10 weeks, IN-Spire Futures plans to take on its first cohort of candidates who will complete a 10-week course. The skills obtained through programs like IN-Spire Futures are extremely valuable for those seeking to enter or re-enter the workforce.

“This is an incredible project that will help those who face barriers when it comes to finding work,” said Smith. “This will have a transformative impact not only on these individuals, but also on the public services that support them, and on our broader Quinte region economy.”

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training, and Skills Development for Ontario agreed the program will benefit both participants and employers within the region.

"Our government is committed to helping people develop the skills and knowledge to get good jobs in high-demand areas," said McNaughton. "By funding this project, we are creating potential careers for people with barriers to employment and helping employers get the talent they need to support their businesses."

CMHA’s training will be delivering its training at the industrial kitchen on-site at “IN-Spire Café”, a social enterprise partnership with Continuing on in Education.


Smith recognizes Chicken Farmers of Ontario for supplying over 1.5 million meals to food banks in 2019


FRIDAY, DEC. 13, 2019

Belleville – Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services, recognized the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) for their efforts to ensure all of the province’s citizens have access to healthy, nutritious food throughout the year.

Speaking at the Gleaners Food Bank, Smith noted that through its CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program in partnership with Feed Ontario, CFO makes it possible for each of its members to donate 300 chickens each year to local food banks. This year, about 500 chicken farmers donated through the program, translating to over 1.5 million meals. Since 2015, the program has supplied 4 million meals.

“In recent years, more and more Ontario residents have turned to food banks regularly. Programs like CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks ensure they have access to fresh, nutritious options on the dinner table,” said Smith. “I congratulate our local chicken farmers for taking care to ensure their neighbours can visit welcoming community spaces across the province - like Gleaners - and take fresh chicken home.”

Smith added the Government of Ontario also plays a role in supporting the vital partnership.  Thorough the Food Donation Tax Credit for Farmers, the government promotes local food contributions by offering farmers a 25-per-cent tax credit for the fresh food they donate.

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman added the government is pleased to support the Chicken Farmers of Ontario in their giving.

“It’s incredible to see the Chicken Farmers of Ontario make such a positive difference to so many people across our province,” said Hardeman. “The CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program demonstrates the huge generosity of Ontario’s chicken farmers and the hard work they do all year round to make this remarkable contribution possible.”

CFO board director Tim Klompmaker said Ontario’s chicken farmers value its partnership with Feed Ontario and the government.

“Hundreds of farmers have already jumped up at the opportunity to donate chicken and help those in need. It is truly amazing how chicken farmers have responded, and it is only made possible through strong partnership with government, Feed Ontario, and local food banks,” said Klompmaker.

“When chicken farmers donate fresh, nutritious, locally-grown chicken, it takes many food bank volunteers to sort it, portion it, and deliver it to people in need. The food bank staff and volunteers are the real heroes in helping tackle hunger in our community.”

Gleaners Food Bank public relations and fundraising co-ordinator Sarah Kring said the partnership is well received by its clients, adding the donations also allow the not-for-profit charity to dedicate fundraised dollars to address other client needs.

“Our clients’ incomes are spent on rent and utilities first and then, after those bills are paid, there may be limited or no funds remaining to purchase food. Fresh proteins and produce are expensive and, therefore, our clients choose less food items in order to stretch their dollars further,” said Kring. ”Our organization is thrilled to be a part of this program and recognize the CFO donors as it has provided our clients with a protein item that normally they would not be able to afford otherwise.”

Smith encouraged Bay of Quinte residents to follow the CFO’s lead by considering donations to their local food banks this holiday season to address food insecurity.