Two Manitoba communities have been selected to take part in a pilot project with the goal of bringing in newcomers to help drive the economy.

“The equation is quite simple. Attracting and retaining newcomers with the needed skills equals a recipe for success for Canada’s rural and northern communities. We have tested a similar immigration pilot in Atlantic Canada and it has already shown tremendous results for both newcomers and Canadians,” said Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in a news release.

Under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot newcomers will move to Brandon and Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee to help fill the labour gap. According to the federal government, the workforce in rural Canada is seeing a decline in workers because of an aging population and declining birth rates. The pilot project is aimed at growing the economy in these communities and supporting the middle-class job sector.

“Removing barriers to economic development and promoting growth in local communities across the country is a priority for the Government of Canada,” said Minister of Rural Economic Development Canada Bernadette Jordan.

“This pilot will support the economic development of these communities by testing new, community-driven approaches to address their diverse labour market needs.”

Nine other northern and rural communities across Canada will also be participating in the pilot project, including Thunder Bay, Ont., Moose Jaw, Sask., and Claresholm, Alta.

During the summer, the government will work with the communities to help them find candidates, but the communities are responsible for recruitment and endorsement of permanent residence.

The newcomers under this pilot are expected to begin to arrive in 2020.