Nov. 7, 2022, FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments today announced a new immigration stream called the New Brunswick Critical Worker Pilot to attract skilled workers into occupations that are difficult to fill.

The new stream provides more flexibility by allowing participating employers to provide skills and language training as well as guidance and support to the newcomers they bring into the province.

“New Brunswick has a successful track record with immigration-related pilot programs, which is why we are grateful that the federal government has chosen our province for this one,” said Arlene Dunn, minister responsible for Immigration and Opportunities NB. “Participating employers will greatly benefit from filling critical vacancies and applicants will find meaningful work in a welcoming community.”

“Immigration is not only good for our communities, it is essential. Newcomers play a key role in Atlantic Canadian communities, and in helping businesses succeed,” said federal Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser. “New Brunswick’s Critical Worker Pilot is an innovative approach that will help employers across New Brunswick meet their specific labour market needs.”

Six employers have been identified to participate in the pilot: Cooke Aquaculture, Groupe Savoie Inc., Groupe Westco, Imperial Manufacturing, J.D. Irving Ltd., and McCain Foods. These employers: have been in good standing with the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program; have demonstrated consistent immigrant recruitment practices; have newcomer settlement programs in place; are willing to provide on-the-job training as well as language support.

Participating employers are required to fulfil several requirements. They must:

  • have robust settlement plans for housing and transportation to best support the successful establishment of candidates into their new jobs and communities, with strong commitments to long-term retention;
  • have comprehensive human resources planning in place for recruiting and hiring skilled international talent, and for on-the-job skills enhancement;
  • provide up to 200 hours of language training, as required, to recruited candidates; and
  • offer guidance and support to candidates who may wish to pursue their Canadian secondary education equivalency.

“The positive impact our workers from more than 15 nationalities have demonstrated working together at Groupe Savoie and in the Saint-Quentin region is incalculable,” said Alain Bossé, president and chief operating officer at Groupe Savoie Inc. “We have a collective goal in mind: the growth of our community, our workforce, schools, and services. The Saint-Quentin region and Groupe Savoie are thriving thanks to our newcomers, and we continue to support welcoming them in rural New Brunswick.”

The five-year pilot program will be monitored and evaluated regularly so that it remains responsive to immigration needs and delivers the highest possible outcomes for the province.

“Meaningful employment is consistently cited as the number one most important factor impacting our newcomer community’s long-term retention,” said Moncef Lakouas, board president of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council (NBMC). “The Critical Worker Pilot Program is exciting and innovative in that it guarantees jobs to newcomers while also delivering vital settlement services such as language training and access to housing. I appreciate how the program uses a mutual-benefit approach to support newcomers and employers. The benefit also extends to New Brunswick overall by providing solutions to our labour shortage and desire for economic growth. NBMC is thrilled to champion this pilot program and eager to participate in its ultimate success.”

Opportunities NB is a Crown corporation and the lead economic development agency for the province. It seeks to attract and support opportunities to stimulate the economy and create jobs by providing support services for businesses across the province.

Media Contacts:

Michel LeBlanc, communications, Opportunities NB,

Bahoz Dara Aziz, press secretary, Minister’s Office, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship,