Destination of Choice for Newcomers

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With a population of over 500,000, Hamilton, Canada’s 9th largest city, sits in the middle of Ontario’s ‘Golden Horseshoe’, half-way between Niagara Falls and Toronto. Hamilton is home to more than 80 ethnic groups who speak more than 90 languages. The top ten non-official languages spoken are Italian, Polish, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Croatian, Chinese, Serbian, Arabic and Dutch. Hamilton is considered a destination of choice for new immigrants.

Between 1996 and 2005 approximately 8,000 professionals and tradespeople immigrated to Hamilton. Locally, immigration accounts for 82 per cent of the labour force growth. According to Stats Canada, Hamilton shows an overall job growth, particularly in the service sector, with an increased need for more highly educated skilled workers. Due to an aging workforce and an increasing number of retirements, businesses in Hamilton are starting to feel the skill shortage pinch.

Traditionally, the local economy has revolved around the steel and heavy manufacturing industries. In the recent years a shift has occurred towards the health and sciences sector, while biotechnology and film industry are expanding considerably. Other economic highlights include the development of a large research campus, and expansion of two additional Industrial Parks. The Hamilton Airport is the busiest air cargo hub and fastest growing airport in Canada. According to a Canadian Business Magazine survey from 2006, Hamilton is the number one location in Ontario for doing business and provincially designated place to grow.

Hamilton offers a variety of services to support the settlement and integration of newcomers. SISO (Settlement and Integration Services Organization) offers a variety of settlement, employment, language and social integration services, as well as bridging programs for professionals and tradespeople. They recently launched Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) intended to make the city even more inclusive (multicultural). The City of Hamilton has set a long term vision, which aims at “Making Hamilton the Best Place to Raise a Child”.

If you are a newcomer who wants to get close to the heart of the real Ontario, why not choose Hamilton? For more information on this city, go to: To find out about programs and services available to newcomers, call SISO at 905-667-7476.

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