Immigration: Newcomers Wanted

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Northwestern Ontario is inviting people from Canada and across the world to find a new home, job or business opportunity in the region. With a choice of 32 communities, Northwestern Ontario promises newcomers the best of all worlds; be it the busy city or quiet living by the lake.

To welcome the world, the 32 communities of Northwestern Ontario have come together to launch a new immigration portal at With over 500 pages of content, translation into 11 languages and more than 30 photo galleries, is said to be the largest municipal immigration website in Canada.

The Portal was funded by the Ontario and federal governments through the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement that supports municipalities in attracting newcomers. It provides essential information, resources and referrals to help newcomers before and after they arrive in the region.

“Prospective newcomers can now find everything they need to know about living, working, learning and doing business in Northwestern Ontario and its communities at the click of a mouse,” said Rebecca Johnson, a member of the project’s advisory committee. “As a region, we need to increase our efforts to attract immigrants and retain newcomers who can bring new investment, skills and culture to our communities. Immigration Northwestern is a unique example of how we can work together to promote the rare lifestyle qualities and opportunities that are waiting to be discovered around our region.”

As one of Canada’s largest yet most sparsely populated regions, Northwestern Ontario’s communities want to grow their local populations. By attracting new consumers, knowledge and skills, they also hope to encourage economic growth and investment.

Richard Harvey, Mayor of Nipigon, recognizes the economic benefits that immigrants bring to his community on Lake Superior’s north shore. “Nipigon has a long history of new Canadians working alongside residents to build a diverse and welcoming community,” he said. “Recently, several immigrants have become business owners in our community and we appreciate their investment in our town.”

In addition to investment opportunities, Northwestern Ontario’s regional labour market also has an urgent need for professionals in several knowledge sectors. There are currently more positions to be filled in health care, science and technology than there are qualified candidates.

So what is the lifestyle like in Northwestern Ontario?

The region is best-known for its pristine nature and high quality of life. From the beauty of Lake Superior; the world’s largest freshwater lake, to the modern City of Thunder Bay; voted the most affordable urban centre to live in the world in 2008, Northwestern Ontario certainly offers a higher standard of living.

It doesn’t matter whether you live in the city or in one of the region’s smaller towns, you can expect to find spectacular scenery, excellent education, affordable housing (a detached, single family home can be purchased for less than $75,000 Cdn), world-class health care, low crime rates, vibrant culture and four-season outdoor recreation in a clean environment.
Deputy Mayor, James Brohm from Sioux Lookout, a community also known as the hub of the north, says that his municipality is committed to providing a welcoming environment for current and new residents alike. “As part of our emerging profile as a centre for culture, tourism and recreation, we are developing a Cultural Centre for Youth and the Arts in our downtown core,” he said. “This facility will serve as a hub of cultural diversity and a focal point for the revitalization of our downtown.”

Reading the newcomer stories that are featured at Immigration Northwestern, it seems that many people from diverse countries and cultures are making their home in Northwestern Ontario and with great success.

Mital Desai and her family moved to Northwestern Ontario from India in 2006. “I have earned a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Business Administration in India and got a job at Cook Engineering in Thunder Bay,” says Mital. “I like Thunder Bay very much despite the cold winters,” she laughs.

Another success story is Ildiko Apavaloae, originally from Romania. “My life has changed greatly since my arrival to Atikokan,” she claims. “No sooner have you landed and you find yourself skiing, biking or walking on kilometres of wonderful park trails, gorgeous lakes and boreal forests.” She notes, “This move was not only rewarding on a personal level but on a professional level as well. In 2008, I was recognized as “Forester of the Year” by the Ontario Professional Foresters Association. None of this would have been possible without moving here.”Reading more of the newcomer stories, it is clear that Northwestern Ontario is a welcoming and friendly region – the perfect place to live well and raise a family.

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