The Hamilton Spectator
April 18, 2009

Nicole Macintyre

The city is moving closer to an immigration initiative that will help Hamilton attract skilled newcomers.

The federal government is preparing to grant the city $360,000 to create a local immigration partnership council. The community roundtable will develop the city’s strategy for attracting skilled immigrants needed for the local workforce.

Councillors recently signed off on the plan to be ready when the city and federal government sign a contract.

“Our future as a community is all about immigration,” said Councillor Brian McHattie.

Last year the city worked with six community groups to put together the proposal after Ottawa announced it wanted to help municipalities serve and integrate immigrants in their communities.

Morteza Jafarpour, executive-director of the Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO), said he’s pleased to finally see the initiative moving forward after months of discussions.

Many observers believe Hamilton will come out of the recession strong and it’s important that the immigration strategy help the city develop its workforce, said Jafarpour.

“It will position Hamilton well for future development.”

The city’s staff report on the project notes, “Hamilton’s future growth and prosperity will be primarily driven by immigrants and newcomers.”

The community council will focus on helping the city attract skilled newcomers, assisting immigrants to find employment equal to their education, and enhancing Hamilton’s cultural diversity.

The government has already indicated it plans to offer more funding to help communities carry out their immigration strategies.

Reference: Hamilton Spectator