Input welcomed on immigration web page

Duane Hicks

Fort Frances is looking to take part in an Internet-based project that hopefully will help attract more residents here.
Called the Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal Project, 26 municipalities in Northwestern Ontario already have partnered for the project, which is being spearheaded by the City of Thunder Bay’s economic development commission.
“Basically, what it is we’re going to create a web portal, which is a name for a very large website, that will have all the information pertaining to immigration to Northwest Ontario—the services we have in general, specific services, how to come here, and all the basic information,” local economic development officer Geoff Gillon told council Monday night.
“Each municipality will have its own page, so what we need to do in the next couple weeks is have a dialogue amongst ourselves and as a community to come up with what’s special about Fort Frances,” noted Gillon.
“What’s our focus?” he wondered. “If you wanted to have a website and somebody came to it . . . what would differentiate it from the other municipalities. There’s gong to be 26 of them with websites.
“Are we Northwest Ontario’s only border community? Are we Northwest Ontario’s best bass fishing community?
“However you want to look at it, we have to find a focus,” Gillon stressed.
The town also has to determine what type of immigrant it is looking for, added Gillon.
For instance, does the town want people directly from other countries, or those who already have come to southern Ontario or Vancouver and may want to move elsewhere in Canada?
Does the town want to attract business owners or certain professionals, such as doctors?
The matter will be discussed further by the Economic Development Advisory Committee, but Gillon said he’s also welcoming input from the public at large.
Anyone wanting to find out more, or offer ideas, can contact him at 274-3276 or via e-mail at
Back in the spring of 2008, town council passed a resolution supporting the concept of the Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal Project.
Gillon attended a meeting in Thunder Bay to find out more about it last month.
Council was presented Monday with a memorandum of understanding to participate in the portal project, which it referred to the Economic Development Advisory Committee for its recommendation.
Gillon noted the cost of participation most likely would be the maintenance of the town’s page in the web portal.