Immigration minister visits the north
Published Thursday, August 9, 2018 12:47PM EDT
Canada's minister of immigration, Ahmed Hussen, was in Sault Ste.Marie Wednesday as part of his "Why immigration matters" Northern Ontario tour.
The minister was there to update the community on the work his office is doing, but he ended up leaving with a call for help to get more immigrants to settle in the north.
A round table discussion was only supposed to last an hour, but that didn't happen.
"Well the round table discussion went into overtime, about an hour and half, because there was such a robust discussion”, said Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen spent time talking about the successes his government has had in attracting Francophone immigrants to Canada.
But those around the table shared their concerns over the lack of new immigrants in the Sault.
"I've heard the message loud and clear that we need more workers in Northern Ontario. We need more international students, we need to transition those international students into the work force, we need specialized workers to come to Northern Ontario,” said Hussen.
During the 90 minute discussion and in a private meeting the city’s mayor pushed for the minister to grant a big request.
"Him coming here, he gets to hear from the people on the front line. He gets to hear from the employers that work in settlement, he gets to hear from everybody about the challenges we are
having." said Sault Ste. Marie mayor Christian Provenzano.
With an aging population and a shortage of skilled workers, those who took part in the meeting stressed the importance of bringing new blood to the Sault. Some people saying it's the only way to keep the Sault an attractive choice for companies who choose to do business in the city.