TEDC at­tract­ing new Cdns

Ef­forts bear­ing fruit as city has seen in­flux of im­mi­grants set­tling in Tim­mins

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - NEWS - RON GRECH

Ef­forts to at­tract im­mi­grants to Tim­mins are bear­ing fruit with an in­flux of new set­tlers in re­cent years.

“They are mostly from In­dia; we also have a very large Filipino pop­u­la­tion and we’re get­ting more and more peo­ple from China as well,” said Mag­gie Matear, di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment with the Tim­mins Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

The TEDC’s ef­forts to at­tract im­mi­grants to the Tim­mins area has been fu­elled by the de­clin­ing pop­u­la­tion in the North com­bined with a labour short­age in min­ing on the hori­zon.

“Our birth rates are very low, they’re not even at the re­place­ment rate,” said Matear, who was among the speak­ers at the TEDC an­nual gen­eral meet­ing held Wed­nes­day. “Im­mi­gra­tion is re­ally one of the only ways that we can hope to in­crease our pop­u­la­tion in the next 10 or 15 years.

“We also know that we’ve got a loom­ing labour short­age. We’re go­ing to be short at least 800 jobs in the min­ing and min­ing ser­vice sec­tor up to (the year) 2030 be­cause of re­tire­ments and every­thing else.

“So we’re go­ing to need peo­ple to fill those jobs and if we don’t have the peo­ple lo­cally to do that, we’re go­ing to con­tinue to have labour short­ages, and we’re go­ing to con­tinue to be less pro­duc­tive than we could be.”

Matear said an­other in­cen­tive for Tim­mins to at­tract im­mi­grants is “we want them to buy houses and set­tle in and be­come part of the com­mu­nity.

That in­creases our tax base and it also in­creases the num­ber of dol­lars that cir­cu­late in the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity.”

At the TEDC an­nual gen­eral meet­ing held Wed­nes­day, Matear and other di­rec­tors out­lined some of the high­lights and achieve­ments of the or­ga­ni­za­tion from the past year.

Her au­di­ence was com­prised largely of busi­ness lead­ers, mem­bers of the TEDC board of di­rec­tors and city coun­cil­lors.

“We’re work­ing with the mul­ti­cul­tural cen­tre right now to look at a num­ber of ways to at­tract im­mi­grants to Tim­mins,” Matear ex­plained. “One of the things we re­cently fin­ished was a por­tal called the North­east Im­mi­gra­tion Por­tal. And we work with 40 dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties in North­east­ern On­tario.

“So what this does is put a lot of in­for­ma­tion out there in seven dif­fer­ent lan­guages … that are com­mon to im­mi­grants who come to North­east­ern On­tario and we’ve tried to make it eas­ier for them by putting high-pro­duc­tion-value videos on the site to show them what life is like here. We’ve in­ter­viewed peo­ple who have al­ready set­tled here and showed them work­ing in their jobs and at their busi­nesses, tak­ing their kids to school and en­joy­ing the ameni­ties that we have in North­east­ern On­tario.

“We’re hop­ing to ex­pand that project by tak­ing some of those re­sources to im­mi­grant trade shows that are of­ten held in Toronto so we can try and at­tract pro­fes­sion­als up here.”

Brenda Cami­rand, di­rec­tor in charge of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and re­ten­tion, spoke of her de­part­ment’s ef­forts to at­tract new min­ing sup­ply and ser­vices to Tim­mins.

Through con­sul­ta­tion with the lo­cal min­ing in­dus­try, a gap anal­y­sis study was con­ducted to iden­tify sup­plies and ser­vices that would ben­e­fit the lo­cal in­dus­try but are not cur­rently lo­cated here.

“The gap anal­y­sis very much shows where we have a strong num­ber of com­pa­nies that are work­ing one very niche sec­tor,” said Cami­rand. “But it also iden­ti­fies ar­eas where we don’t have any sup­pli­ers in our re­gion. And so our mines have to source them from out­side North­ern On­tario or out­side of On­tario or even out­side of Canada.

“So those are the com­pa­nies we look at when we go to the trade shows. We kind of scan through who is go­ing to be at those trade shows and try to set up meet­ings or one-on-one net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to see if there is a po­ten­tial to ex­plore the idea of these com­pa­nies re­lo­cat­ing or in­vest­ing in our com­mu­nity.”

While the TEDC is a mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion that is most of­ten as­so­ci­ated with at­tract­ing new in­dus­try, Christy Marinig, the TED C’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, said the bulk of what they do is sup­port com­pa­nies and busi­nesses al­ready lo­cated in Tim­mins — of­ten by pro­vid­ing ad­vice or even help­ing to lever­age gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Cami­rand con­curred, say­ing, “Main growth within the com­mu­nity comes from the ex­ist­ing busi­ness base, so we do put a lot of ef­fort in work­ing and meet­ing with our ex­ist­ing busi­nesses in Tim­mins and the re­gion to see how we can best help them grow.

“On the flip side of that, we do also need new in­vest­ment in the re­gion to help sup­port some of those busi­nesses as well.”

Ron Grech /The Daily Press

Brenda Cami­rand, left, di­rec­tor in charge of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and re­ten­tion with the Tim­mins Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, and Mag­gie Matear, the cor­po­ra­tion’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment, look over the an­nual re­port that was re­leased at the TEDC an­nual gen­eral meet­ing held Wed­nes­day. Cami­rand and Matear out­lined some of the high­lights and achieve­ments of the or­ga­ni­za­tion from the past year dur­ing that meet­ing.

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