TEDC attracting new Cdns
Efforts bearing fruit as city has seen influx of immigrants settling in Timmins
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.”
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.