Everyone needs a little help
once in a while

Projects – Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council

The Need

Every year, thousands of newcomers make Hamilton their new home. This is a rich part of our community’s past and future. While starting life in a new country can be exciting, it can also be challenging. Newcomers may not know where to find information about the various services, programs and supports that can help them settle and integrate. As such, there is a need for a comprehensive database specific to newcomer needs. The goal is to make it easier to find the organizations, information agencies, programs, services and support that newcomers may need to begin a new life in Hamilton.

The Process

Information Hamilton partnered with the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council (HIPC) to create a database for newcomers and service providers. Launched in 2011, this database, called Welcome to Hamilton, provides accurate and up-to-date information and resources about local newcomer- services and programs.

Information Hamilton consulted with the HIPC’s staff and working group members to identify categories (by service sector) and areas relevant to newcomer settlement and integration in Hamilton. As a result of these consultations, five search categories were created: Immigration & Settlement; Education & Learning; Employment; Faith & Worship; and Ethno-Cultural Associations. These categories serve as starting points for the search for programs and services relevant to the topic listed. Resources in multiple languages developed by the HICP working groups were also included to an ‘Online Tools’ section of the database. Information that feeds the Welcome to Hamilton database is culled from Information Hamilton’s existing records, which undergo regular updates.

The Outcome

The Welcome to Hamilton database acts as a comprehensive and convenient referral tool for service providers seeking information on behalf of the client. As a result of this collaborative approach with the HIPC, there has been a 16% increase in coordination and collaboration among service providers across all sectors who indicated they are very knowledgeable about making referrals to other services since 2012. This result was gathered from a Service Provider Survey administered by the HIPC. The survey was disseminated to frontline workers of various service providers in Hamilton. Results were compared between 2011 and 2013. Overall, more than 70% of survey respondents considered themselves to ‘very’ and ‘somewhat’ knowledgeable in making referrals to services in Hamilton.

Through this partnership, Information Hamilton is able to enhance the existing website of services for newcomers and assist with the referral process of service providers in Hamilton. We hope to continue to increase the accessibility and ease the search for services with this online platform.