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Settling in Canada Niagara Region PROFILE

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Niagara Region is a world-famous tourist destination for over 14 million people every year. It is also a wonderful place to live. The region is well known for its many parks, beaches, bike paths, waterways and sports facilities.

Niagara Region

Niagara Region Facts

Population: 431,345 (2011)

Location – South-Central Canada
Between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario near the US border.

Hot summers, mild spring and autumn, cold winters.

Niagara Region is a world-famous tourist destination for over 14 million people every year. It is also a wonderful place to live. The region is well known for its many parks, beaches, bike paths, waterways and sports facilities.

Niagara Region is an important border crossing. A business in Niagara has access to four Canada/US border crossings, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and major US and Canadian highways. Toronto Pearson International Airport is one hour away. Over 40 per cent of all border crossings to the US are through the Region.

Niagara is seeking 50,000 new workers to support its economic success.

Niagara Region features:

  • A manufacturing sector
  • Major casinos and strong tourism sector
  • Average household incomes double those directly across the US border
  • One of Canada’s top wine-producing and soft fruit producing regions
  • Many beautiful parks and waterways
  • A world-class live theatre company


Niagara Region

Niagara was originally settled by British and American immigrants, followed by German, French, Italian, Dutch and Eastern European immigrants. It was also, 150 years ago, a stop on the Underground Railway for slaves fleeing the US to freedom in Canada.

As of the 2011 National Household Survey, there were 69,720 immigrants living in Niagara – 16.5 per cent of the total population. Of these, 8.6 per cent – 5,980 people in all – arrived between 2006 and 2011.

Countries of origin
United Kingdom, Italy, United States, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Other places of birth in Europe, Other places of birth in Americas, Philippines, Other places of birth in Africa.

First languages spoken
English, French, Italian, German, Dutch.

Catholic, No religious affiliation, Other Christian, Anglican, United Church, Presbyterian.

Countries of origin

These are the 30 most common birthplaces of immigrants to Niagara Region. There have also been a number of recent immigrants from Bangladesh and Honduras.

Country of Origin Total Immigrant Population (2011) Immigrants Arriving 2006 – 2011
United Kingdom 14,395 310
Italy 8,275
United States 7,095 825
Netherlands 4,170
Germany 3,285 85
Poland 3,155 50
Other places of birth in Europe 2,910
Other places of birth in Americas 2,345
Philippines 2,000 580
Other places of birth in Africa 1,605
China 1,555 270
Other places of birth in Asia 1,440
Ukraine 1,145 90
Croatia 1,105
India 1,085 180
Hungary 1,080
Colombia 950 465
Korea, South 710
Mexico 675 75
Jamaica 660 190
Serbia 640
Viet Nam 635 35
Bosnia and Herzegovina 595
Romania 590 0
Trinidad and Tobago 565
Ireland, Republic of 565
Russian Federation 550 45
Portugal 525
Pakistan 485 105
Greece 415

‡ Statistics Canada did not publish data for some countries of origin for recent immigrants.
Source: Statistics Canada (2011 National Household Survey)

First languages

These are the top “first languages” – the mother tongue spoken by people who live in this city.

Mother Tongue Number (2011) % of Population (2011)
English 353,835 83.2%
French 15,045 3.5%
Italian 12,605 3.0%
German 7,315 1.7%
Dutch 4,860 1.1%
Spanish 4,480 1.1%
Polish 4,240 1.0%
Arabic 2,190 0.5%
Ukrainian 2,155 0.5%
Hungarian 2,110 0.5%

Source: Statistics Canada (2011 Census of Canada)


These are the religions with the most adherents in Niagara Region.

Religion # of Adherents (2011)
Catholic 142,810
No religious affiliation 97,970
Other Christian 59,245
Anglican 38,475
United Church 34,230
Presbyterian 14,120
Lutheran 7,500
Baptist 7,295
Pentecostal 6,265
Christian Orthodox 5,250
Muslim 4,375
Buddhist 1,635

Source: Statistics Canada (2011 National Household Survey)

Housing Information

Niagara Region

In Niagara Region, most people own their own home. There is also a wide selection of rental apartments, most in low-rise buildings. House prices are much lower than in nearby Toronto and Oakville.

The housing data below is for St. Catharines-Niagara.

Average rents
The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in April 2013 was $729 and a two bedroom apartment was $868. The average monthly rent for a three bedroom apartment was $1,010.

Vacancy rate and availability
In Niagara, the vacancy rate for one bedroom rental apartments was 3.3 per cent and for two bedroom apartments was 3.5 per cent. The vacancy rate of three bedroom rental apartments was 4.5 per cent. This was the proportion of rental apartments that are vacant and ready for move-in in April 2013.

The proportion, in April 2013, of apartments that are vacant or for which the present occupant has given notice to move-out was 5 per cent for one bedroom apartments, 5.6 per cent for two bedroom apartments, and 7.7 per cent for three bedroom apartments.

Home purchase prices
In Niagara, the average house price, in 2012, was $232,050.

For more up-to-date information, see CMHC's Housing Market Information website, and the Canadian Housing Observer.

Housing help

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation – Housing information for Newcomers

These agencies can help you find an apartment in the Niagara Region:

Housing Help Centre- St.Catharines

Project Share-Niagara Falls

The HOPE Centre-Welland

Niagara Regional Housing


Niagara Region

Niagara Region’s economy depends on a skilled workforce. The region aims to attract at least 50,000 new workers over the next few years to help the region compete globally and serve a multi-lingual clientele.

In 2004, The Niagara Immigrant Employment Council brought together 22 organizations to encourage newcomers to move to and stay in the region, and to make better use of their skills and talents.

In Niagara Region, the largest employment sectors are manufacturing, retail, accommodation and food services, health care and social services and construction.

Job search help

These web sites list jobs in the Niagara Region:

Niagara Immigration Portal – Finding a Job

Careers Niagara

Niagara Immigration Portal – Employment Services


Private employment services may also be available.

Business start-ups

These organizations offer advice and support to people starting small businesses in the Niagara Region:

Niagara Immigration Portal, Doing Business

Niagara College

Business Success and Loan Centre Fort Erie

Ontario Office Works-Welland

These organizations help immigrants evaluate foreign credentials and enter the workforce:

Niagara Immigration Portal, Finding a Job

Canadian Access for International Professions and Skilled Trades

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
Niagara College Counselling Service, 135 Taylor Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905-641-2252 or 905-735-2211

Entering the workforce

This organization helps immigrants evaluate foreign credentials

World Education Services Canada


Niagara Region

Niagara Region has a university in St. Catharines, a college in Welland with campuses in Niagara on the Lake and Niagara Falls, and over 30 elementary and high schools for children ages 4 – 19.

Children can enroll in the Public School System, or in the Separate (Roman Catholic) School System. Schools in both systems are free of charge.

Universities and colleges

Brock University

Niagara College

Elementary and secondary schools (for children and youth)

Niagara District School Board (for information on public schools for children and youth)

Niagara Catholic District School Board (for information on Catholic schools)

Private schools may also be available

Community Services

Niagara Region Council has made welcoming immigrants a priority. The Region is working to improve systems to help immigrants, employers and agencies find good information and services.

Niagara Immigration

211Niagara.ca provides detailed, up-to-date, information on all Niagara Region services.

Language training

These organizations in Niagara Region offer English language training.

Folk Arts Council of St Catharines

Niagara Catholic District School Board. St Ann Adult Learning Centre

Niagara College

Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre

First Steps in Canada

Niagara Falls Heritage

Settlement help

These organizations provide all kinds of support to immigrants:


Folk Arts Council of St Catharines. Immigrant Settlement Services. Niagara Falls

Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre

Fort Erie Multicultural Centre

COSTI Immigrant Services

Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Niagara Falls Heritage

Citizen and Immigration Canada
Provides information on coming to Canada to immigrate, study, work and live. On this website you will find forms, policies and regulations, research, services, publications and visa offices.

These websites provide information on community services and other issues important to immigrants:


One immigrant’s story

Akmal and Alena’s story

Akmal* and Alena* arrived in Canada from Egypt with their three dependent children in September 2010. The family made a refugee claim and applied for social assistance to temporarily support their family.

Akmal and Alena immediately applied for work permits and began attending ESL classes in the Niagara Region to improve their English skills.

Akmal had over 20 years of experience as a pharmacy owner and operator, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Faculty of Pharmacy. He was interested in obtaining his Canadian certification and began to actively work towards accreditation as a Pharmacist. Akmal began volunteering with a local pharmacy to gain Canadian experience. He also worked with his Ontario Works Casemanager in Niagara for assistance with employment planning and goal setting.

While Akmal worked towards his long-term goal of becoming a licensed pharmacist, he secured part time employment at a gas station in Niagara in February 2011. Akmal was encouraged to discuss the wage subsidy program with the pharmacy. He was hired under the program as a full time Pharmacy Assistant. Akmal has now been able to devote his full time efforts to working and studying in the pharmacy field to write his Canadian evaluation exam in January 2012.

Alena worked as a Pharmacy Technician in Egypt, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry. She was interested in obtaining her Canadian certification and researched opportunities to reenter the field. While working part-time at a gas station, she remained focused on her long-term goal of becoming a pharmacy technician. Alena registered at Niagara College in the Enhanced Language Training (ELT) program for ESL classes. As a component of the ELT program, Alena is volunteering at a local pharmacy to gain Canadian experience. Alena plans to attend Niagara College in September 2012 for the Pharmacy Technician program.

The family has focused on success in Niagara and work towards providing a better life for their children. Akmal and Alena’s three children have aspirations of working in the health care field as well and are all on the honour roll at their schools. Their oldest daughter is planning to become a doctor and is currently volunteering with the Niagara Health System.

*Names have been changed






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