Ontario Liberal northern platform focuses on immigration, infrastructure

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca announced his party's platform for the northern region Tuesday morning in North Bay with a focus on skilled worker immigration and infrastructure.


With a shortage of skilled workers and a number of big mining projects ramping up, Del Duca wants Ontario to "take over its own immigration" from the feds and "gain control over who we welcome to the province, just like Québec."

If elected, he said he would appoint a dedicated minister of immigration in a news release Tuesday.

"Ontario should be in the immigration driver's seat to ensure we are filling the skilled jobs needed to build more homes and staff our emergency rooms. Northern towns and cities stand to benefit most from a new focus on skilled immigration," Del Duca said.

All of the major cities in northern Ontario are currently participating in the federal immigration pilot project that helps skilled foreign workers create a path to permanent residency, but the Ontario Liberal leader said the region needs a long-term approach. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot started in November 2019 and does not currently have an expiration date.


Another focus of the Ontario Liberal Party's northern platform is infrastructure.

Del Duca promises to advance several road projects such as the continued four-laning of Highway 69 with a goal to complete it by 2025 along with Highway 77/7 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon.

The platform also mentions "ensuring the highest possible level of winter maintenance on Highways 11 and 17," adding a winter tire tax credit and "advancing the proven '2+1' highway model" to increase safe passing on major northern roads.

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