Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal Goes Live: 32 communities launch new
immigration portal to the world.

THUNDER BAY, ON, March 24 /CNW/ - Northwestern Ontario's communities officially rolled out their welcome mats to the world today with the launch of the new Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal at www.immigrationnorthwesternontario.ca.

Mayors, Reeves, Councillors and municipal representatives from thirty-two (32) participating communities were in Thunder Bay to unveil the Portal, which is said to be the largest municipal immigration portal in Canada.

With over 500 pages of content, translation into 11 languages and more than 30 photo galleries, the Portal showcases Northwestern Ontario as an international destination of choice for immigrants. It also provides essential information, resources and referrals to help newcomers settle more easily once they have arrived in the region's cities and towns.

"Prospective immigrants to Canada and newcomers from around the country or province 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, Advisory Committee Member for the Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal. "This project has resulted in the municipalities of Northwestern Ontario collaborating like never before. It's a ground-breaking initiative and a privilege to be part of it," Johnson added.

The Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal was funded by the Ontario and federal governments through the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement that supports municipalities in attracting newcomers and helping them settle in their communities. Ontario continues to have the highest number of immigrant arrivals in Canada and recognizes immigrants as key to labour force and overall economic growth.

"This portal is an exciting step for communities in northwestern Ontario and for newcomers" said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. "It will attract vital talent and investment to the area so the region can continue to grow and prosper. It will also allow new Ontarians to use their valuable skills so they can contribute to the local economy."

During today's go-live event, it was announced that the Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal has been translated into 11 international languages, in addition to English, by the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association and that further translation work will be undertaken in future phases of the project.

Continued Johnson; "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. The Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal 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 the region."

A consortium was contracted to design and develop the Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal comprised of the Procom Consultants Group in partnership with WaltMar Systems Group and Firedog Communications of Thunder Bay. Technical development for the Portal was completed by the City of Thunder Bay's Web Application Developers.

The project was initiated and led by the Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre, the City of Thunder Bay Information & Technology department and Thunder Bay Multicultural Association.

Today's announcement came on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal can be found at: www.immigrationnorthwesternontario.ca

SOURCE NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO IMMIGRATION PORTAL

For further information: For further information: Amanda Bay, Firedog Communications, Tel: (807) 767-4443 Ext: 223, Email: amanda@firedogpr.com; Rebecca Johnson, Advisory Committee Member, Tel: (807) 577-2807

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NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO IMMIGRATION PORTAL

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