Hamilton, ON (November 10, 2020) – Today Canada’s Minister of Economic Development, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, designated Hamilton a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Point—making Hamilton the 14th FTZ in Canada, and third in Ontario. As a result, businesses that import/export goods or manufacture products in Hamilton will now have access to direct support on a range of duty deferrals and tax exemptions.

Hamilton is already a multimodal hub, with a thriving cargo port and airport, and strategically located in close proximity to 400-series highways, the U.S. border, and the Greater Toronto Area. Now with the FTZ designation, it will be even more attractive and advantageous to do business in Hamilton. As Canada recovers from the effect of the pandemic, helping local businesses and strengthening our supply chains will be of key importance.

A small team of local partners, including HOPA Ports, the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Department, and John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, worked tirelessly and collaboratively over the past two years to achieve this designation.

Read the official press release below or here.


Government of Canada announces support for jobs and economic growth in Hamilton

Minister Joly announces designation that will help businesses facilitate exports and create trade opportunities, and a $3.9-million investment in local manufacturer

November 10, 2020 – Hamilton, Ontario

As Ontario’s most diversified economy, home to world-class post-secondary institutions, a wide range of industries, and at an opportune location for national and international trade, Hamilton is a key contributor to Ontario’s economy. As we work toward a strong recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, the Government of Canada continues to support local economic growth.

That’s why today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, along with the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, and Bob Bratina, Member of Parliament for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, announced support for a local manufacturer, as well as Hamilton’s official designation as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Point.

$3.9 million investment for HT Productions Inc. (Whitebird)

The COVID-19 crisis has had unprecedented repercussions on key sectors of Ontario’s industry. The government of Canada is well-aware of the economic impacts of the health and economic crisis on manufacturing the businesses and it will continue to support job-creating businesses.

With an investment of almost $4 million from FedDev Ontario, Hamilton-based packaging manufacturer and supplier HT Productions Inc. (Whitebird) will expand its facility, acquire new cutting-edge advanced manufacturing equipment and transition to a new customer-centric online system to better accommodate customer orders. With this investment, this family-owned company will create 45 skilled jobs and maintain another 105 in Hamilton.

Hamilton as a Foreign Trade Zone Point

As the local economy continues to grow and diversify, the Government of Canada is helping to bolster Hamilton’s position as a great place to do business, create jobs and invest. To that end, Minister Joly, Minister Tassi and MP Bratina today announced Hamilton’s designation as an FTZ Point.

As the third FTZ point announced in Ontario and one of 14 in Canada, the designation will help position the Hamilton area as a hub for international trade. The area will be more attractive to businesses and foreign direct investment by offering a single point of access to resources and information relating to programs that relieve duties, tariffs and taxes for business.

This in turn will create local jobs and boost trade and export opportunities for existing businesses, while reinforcing Hamilton’s position as an integral hub and a key contributor to the economy. FedDev Ontario played a key role in helping to assess and engage with the Hamilton partners to achieve the FTZ designation.

This announcement demonstrates that the Government of Canada, through regional development agencies, is creating opportunities for businesses and trade to help position them for a stable, successful future.


“As the Government of Canada supports workers and entrepreneurs through the crisis, it will continue to support job-creating initiatives. As a trading nation, Canada recognizes the strong connection between trade and good jobs. That is why we have designated Hamilton as the newest FTZ Point in southern Ontario as part of our commitment to strengthening this region as an international hub for global opportunity. In our continued effort to invest in southern Ontario, we are also announcing an investment of nearly $4 million to HT Productions Inc. This will allow the company to create 45 and maintain another 105 good, local jobs, which is good for the local economy. The government is proud of the resiliency shown by business owners and workers during the crisis and wants to put in place the right conditions to ensure our economy comes roaring back.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

“Hamilton is an ideal spot for Ontario’s newest FTZ Point. The city is a gateway for goods, and offers many advantages from its strong manufacturing sector to its leading-edge post-secondary institutions. This designation will build on the area’s strengths and bring new opportunities for trade. This support, along with investments in local businesses like HT Productions Inc. will put Hamilton on the path to a strong recovery for years to come.”
— The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas

“Today’s announcement is great news for Hamilton. The city’s FTZ designation makes it attractive to more investments to the area. With the FedDev Ontario funding for HT Productions Inc., a company that was there for our frontline workers when needed most, will be able to scale-up and transition to more online business opportunities, an essential task for many of our pivoting businesses.”
— Bob Bratina, Member of Parliament for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek

“Whitebird is developing a platform for both small and large brands to design, estimate, order and track many types of packaging material needed for e-commerce shipping. FedDev Ontario’s investment is an end-to-end solution supporting Canada’s fastest digital corrugated press to help with speed to market, quality and innovation. Our people are also a big part of our project as it takes top talent to connect all the dots from concept to completion.”
— Hendrik Tamminga, President, HT Productions Inc. (Whitebird)

“The announcement naming Hamilton as a Foreign Trade Zone point marks a new chapter in our city’s efforts to attract foreign direct investment and expand markets for our existing businesses. This new designation will accelerate economic activity and enhance Hamilton’s renowned reputation as a goods movement leader in Canada.”
— His Worship Fred Eisenberger, Mayor, City of Hamilton

“From our well-connected transportation network, to the country’s most diverse economy, the Foreign Trade Zone designation will build on Hamilton’s momentum as a goods movement leader and key trade gateway. The port and our partners are proud to help Canadian businesses expand into new markets, grow our economy, and generate well-paying jobs. In Hamilton, we know that we go farther by working together, and this announcement is evidence of that fact.”
— Ian Hamilton, President & CEO, HOPA Ports

“Today’s announcement will strengthen the City’s position as a strategic location for international trade and will simplify access to an array of government resources, programs and incentives for businesses who rely on multi-modal connections via air, port, rail and road. Hamilton’s designation as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) point brings Hamilton International Airport another step closer to realizing its vision to be recognized by the world as the best global gateway in Canada for affordable travel and goods movement.”
— Cathie Puckering, President & CEO, Hamilton International Airport

“Hamilton’s Economic Development Office is thrilled with today’s formal designation and we look forward to working our partners from the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority and the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.  This important designation offers Hamilton businesses direct contact, front of the line service to dedicated individuals to assist with trade inquiries/requirements.  This greatly benefits our local companies in their efforts to move their products across the globe more efficiently and bolster the various supply chains across many industries.”
— Norm Schleehahn, Director of Economic Development, City of Hamilton

Quick facts

  • FTZ refers to a specific location within a country that is officially designated for eligibility for tariff and tax exemptions with respect to the purchase or importation of raw materials, components or finished goods.
  • The FTZ designation improves access to existing programs, and promotes Canada’s advantage. It allows the region to coordinate to provide programs that benefit businesses, such as the Duty Deferral Program, the Duties Relief Program, the Drawback Program, the Customs Bonded Warehouse Program and the Export Distribution Centre Program.
  • Three local partners: the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development department, the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority, advocated for this designation.
  • Hamilton has a manufacturing industry of more than 1,100 businesses, and is a well-positioned in the global advanced manufacturing marketplace.
  • HT Productions Inc. (Whitebird) is a family-owned and managed distributor and manufacturer of packaging solutions and supplies for a wide variety of clients in the food service, defence, e-commerce and healthcare industries. In the face of COVID-19, Whitebird has contributed to Canada’s response efforts by repurposing its die-cutter to produce 100,000 face shields daily for major Ontario hospitals.
  • Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested in 51 projects in the Hamilton region, totaling over $27.3 million in commitments for southern Ontario.