News release

December 17, 2021—Ottawa—Immigration is vital to the future of communities across the country, and nowhere more so than Atlantic Canada. Over the past few years, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot has brought and retained thousands of newcomers to the region. These new Canadians have helped communities thrive, businesses prosper and the region’s population grow.

Building on the success of the pilot, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced the launch of the Atlantic Immigration Program. This new permanent program will officially open on January 1, 2022, helping the Atlantic provinces attract the skilled newcomers they need to address economic and demographic challenges, such as the labour shortage in the region.

Originally launched in 2017, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot has now brought over 10,000 new permanent residents to Atlantic Canada. Participating employers have made over 9,800 job offers in key sectors, including health care, accommodations, food services and manufacturing. Most significantly, over 90% of applicants were still living in the region after 1 year; a much higher retention rate than other programs.

The permanent program retains the 3 features that made the pilot such a success: a focus on employers, enhanced settlement support and a collaborative approach across all Atlantic provinces. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Atlantic provinces worked closely together to design the permanent program based on lessons learned and recommendations from the pilot evaluation. The changes include clarifying roles between partners, increasing employer support through training and strengthening program requirements to ensure newcomers can successfully establish themselves in the region.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is working closely with employers and provincial governments to ensure a smooth transition between the pilot and the permanent program. Candidates with a valid endorsement can begin submitting applications for permanent residence under the new program on March 6, 2022.


“Over the past few years, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot has made an incredible difference in communities across our region. It has brought us the resource we need most: more people. They’re skilled, they’re young and they’re staying. Now, we’re doubling down on what works by making it permanent, so we can continue attracting the best and brightest to our region and build a vibrant, prosperous future for Atlantic Canada.”

– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Nova Scotia is preparing for its next chapter of strategic growth and our goal of reaching 2 million people by 2060. The Atlantic Immigration Program is one innovative option that will help us focus on our specific labour needs. We’re very glad that the Government of Canada is making sure the program is here to stay.”

– The Honourable Tim Houston, Premier of Nova Scotia

“The Atlantic Immigration Pilot has been an important part of New Brunswick’s population growth strategy and integral to building more cohesive, diverse and inclusive communities in our province. We are delighted to see this highly successful pilot become a permanent program, and we look forward to partnering with our federal colleagues on this innovative initiative and being part of its continued success in Atlantic Canada.”

– The Honourable Arlene Dunn, Minister of Immigration, New Brunswick

“Without a doubt, the Atlantic Immigration Program contributes greatly to the overall growth and success of Prince Edward Island. For a province of our size, programs like this go a long way and make a big impact on the Island. We’re very pleased to know the AIP is here to stay, so we can continue to welcome more people to our province to live, work and stay.”

– The Honourable Matthew MacKay, Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, Prince Edward Island

“The Atlantic Immigration Pilot’s great success for Newfoundland and Labrador resulted from it being both flexible and precise in responding to our province’s challenges in attracting newcomers. 2021 will be the first year that targets were not only met, but exceeded. This demonstrates that flexibility is crucial to resolving the unique challenges we face as a province, while also building on and maximizing the many strengths of the Federation. We will now make every effort to ensure our new Atlantic Immigration Program builds on work to accelerate the arrival of more newcomers to Newfoundland and Labrador than ever before, while also being responsive to the needs of employers to meet evolving labour demands.”

– The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Immigration, Population Growth and Skills, Newfoundland and Labrador

“The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is a prime example of what we can achieve as governments when we work together. Immigration is key to Atlantic Canada’s long-term economic prosperity, and through sustained, ongoing federal-provincial collaboration, we can ensure that the now-permanent Atlantic Immigration Program remains a resounding success.”

– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

“Over the past few years, I have witnessed firsthand the impact that the Atlantic Immigration Pilot has had on our region’s economy and I am thrilled it is being made permanent. This important program will help our businesses attract the talent they need to succeed, and help our communities welcome the newcomers they need to thrive. I am excited to see the difference it will make in communities across Atlantic Canada for years to come.

– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Quick facts

  • As part of the Government of Canada’s Atlantic Growth Strategy, the pilot aimed to accelerate the growth of Atlantic Canada’s economy and was designed to test new approaches to attract and retain skilled immigrants in the region. It responded to the region’s acute demographic and economic challenges, including slow growth, chronic labour market shortages, an aging workforce, and difficulty attracting and retaining immigrants.
  • With at least 6,000 admission spaces available yearly, the Atlantic Immigration Program will complement the Provincial Nominee Programs in each Atlantic province.
  • In 2018–2019, the Atlantic provinces saw their highest population growth since the 1970s, with immigration, including from the pilot, being the main driver of this trend.
  • The regulations for the permanent Atlantic Immigration Program come into force on January 1, 2022.


Contacts for media only

Alex Cohen
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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