Industry and Workforce

Thunder Bay has a labour force of 61,690 people. The Knowledge Sector has been growing and now makes up over 10% of the current labour force. Thunder Bay's labour force is highly educated. 61.4% of adults in Thunder Bay posses a post-secondary education which is a higher rate than any other OECD country.

(Source: Statistics Canada, 2016; OECD, 2016)

The chart from Stats Canada's 2016 Census shows over 10,775 people in Health Care, 5,365 in Education, and 3,230 in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.

Thunder Bay is committed to research and innovation which is demonstrated through numerous research institutes, innovation centres, and laboratories. Investments in health and education have drawn interest and attracted new talent to Thunder Bay.

A recent example is Dr. Jinqiang Hou, who joined the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute on October 1, 2018, as a Lakehead University-Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute Research Chair. Dr. Hou will also be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Lakehead University.

Academic Programs Supporting the Knowledge Sector in Thunder Bay

Health Sciences

Known as the centre for learning for researchers, students, teachers, and other healthcare professionals in Northwestern Ontario, Thunder Bay boasts a strong and  deep health sciences  sector, including patient care centres, a local medical school, and a renowned research institute. Ground-breaking health research and innovation is also driving the Life Sciences Manufacturing and Biotechnology industries in Thunder Bay.

Health Sciences Institutions

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre provides acute care for the people of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. They are a recognized leader in patient and family centre care. With over 2,800 employees, they are one of Thunder Bay's largest employers.

Regional Cancer Centre

Thunder Bay's Regional Cancer Care Centre

Thunder Bay's Regional Cancer Care continues to lead Ontario in cancer treatment, diagnostics, and surgical wait times. Their services span Northern Ontario and they are rated highly for overall patient satisfaction.

St. Joseph's Care Group

St. Joseph's Care Group

St. Joseph's Care Group provides services in Addictions & Mental Health, Rehabilitative Care & Chronic Disease Management, and Seniors’ Health across 8 sites in the City of Thunder Bay. They have over 2,200 employees and focus their values on Care, Compassion, and Commitment.

Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute

Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute

Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute is the research arm of Thunder Bay Heath Sciences Centre. Its mandate is to facilitate clinical research strategic to regional health  care  needs. TBRHRI aims to develop innovative health care techniques from concept to clinical trials to commercialization, supporting scientists and clinicians at every step.

The Centre for Applied Health Research (CAHR)

The Centre for Applied Health Research

CAHR conducts high quality research to support St. Joseph's Care Group in the creation of new knowledge relevant to addictions, complex care, long term care, mental health, and physical rehabilitation with a particular focus on prevention and
treatment issues.

Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Northern Ontario School of Medicine

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is a joint initiative between Laurentian University in Sudbury and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. This medical school was created with a mandate to help improve the health of the people in Northern Ontario.

Globally Recognized Achievements in Health Sciences

Breast Cancer Research Leads to New Medical Imaging Device

  • Alla  Reznik, a senior scientist with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, has developed a new and accurate method to detect breast cancer in women.

  • This research established the new medical imaging device company, Radialis Medical.

  • Radialis Medical is developing Positron Emission Mammography (PEM), a breast imaging alternative that addresses the shortcomings of mammography.


  • The Government of Canada invested $1.85 million for equipment and implementation of new technologies in the area of probe development and bio-marker exploration (PD&BE)

  • Established relationships with biotechnology experts that will aid in the Biomarker Discovery Platform, the multi-application molecular screening technology for the identification of cancer biomarkers.

  • The Biotechnology Research Program is the cornerstone of Lakehead's expanding research capabilities.

Recent Investment in Health Sciences


The Government of Canada in partnership with the City of Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation's Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign funded a cyclotron that will produce medical isotopes that will improve cancer care for patients in Northwestern Ontario and will allow for cutting-edge research that works to find new, more efficient, ways of diagnosing and treating cancers.


ICT (Digital Industries)

Thunder Bay's Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector is a dynamic cluster of digital businesses that includes telecommunications, film, television and computer organizations. Innovation and creativity are driving forces of the ICT sector and Thunder Bay's thriving industry enables collaboration and networking that have endless creative possibilities. The ICT sector is supported by Thunder Bay's educated labour force, stable and collaborative business environment, and the telecommunications infrastructure.


Server rackThunder Bay is served by most national communications companies as well as TBaytel, which is owned by the City of Thunder Bay. TBaytel has a 110 year history in Thunder Bay and has grown to be the largest independently owned communications company in Canada.

TBaytel is one of Thunder Bay's major employers and employs over 400 people.They provide the fastest internet connection in Thunder Bay and the fibre trunk runs directly through the city. TBaytel provides reliable mobility, TV Internet, telephone and security for business clients.

Film & Television

The film and video culture in Thunder Bay has roots a hundred years deep and is currently experiencing a renaissance. Many award winning production companies exist in town that can assist out-of-town producers, whether it's scouting locations, crewing a production, providing gear, casting, or post production. There are also funding incentives available for eligible productions such as the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.

Epica logoEpica Pictures is a cinematography and photography company based in Thunder Bay. They have shot over 5000 hours of video, taken over 7000 photos and produced over 200 projects. They have created beautiful videos featuring Thunder Bay and many of its local businesses.

Thunder Bay's breathtaking landscapes and historical sites provide picture perfect backdrops for filming. Thunder Bay's central location within Canada, close proximity to the US border and extensive transportation network enables easy transport of staff and equipment.


Computer programmerComputer Programmers are in high demand in Thunder Bay. Confederation College recently added a Computer Programming program and the first class of alumni had a 100% employment rate. Companies like Health E(fx) are very satisfied with the skills and level of training from the Confederation graduates and are looking to hire more.

Heiko Voss, Director of Software, shared  "[w]hat's exciting for programmers, especially in Thunder Bay, is that technology allows them to access the market from anywhere in the world – location is not a barrier to employment.” Health E(fx) is an American company, but they have a technical office in Thunder Bay.

Software developersQwantech is another growing software company in Thunder Bay. Their software allows businesses to track KPIs and other important data in real-time allowing for management and frontline staff to work together to meet business targets. They also work with clients to create custom software for their specific requirements.  Their software is used by many companies in Thunder Bay including Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Tbaytel, and Goldcorp.



Training is a growing industry and Thunder Bay has gained international recognition for its varied educational and training institutes and centres. Companies are becoming increasingly serious about providing training and they are looking for online training tools and technology. Many private, public and non-profit organizations in Thunder Bay have harnessed the benefits of incorporating basic to advanced levels of training into their business models.

Teaching and Technology Trends

Cloud Based Learning Management Systems (LMS)

  • Allows trainers to easily create and deliver content

  • Reduces training costs

Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality

  • Enables learners to step inside virtual environments

  • Interact with virtual objects in real-world settings

Personalized Learning Experience

  • Reduces time required to complete training

  • Increases the training's impact on the learner

Detailed Reporting

  • Enables fine tuning of content where learners are struggling

  • Provides understanding about the effectiveness of learning elements

User Experience

  • Improves usability and accessibility

  • Enhances user satisfaction

Globally Recognized Training Companies

Taranis Training logo

Taranis Training - Taranis Training was established in 2011 to address industry skills gaps. They provide training to equipment operators and truck drivers in Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario.

Novocentre logo

Novocentre - Novocentre provides training to the Francophone community in Thunder Bay. They also provide courses for French as a second language.

Trendline Consulting Services logo

Trendline Consulting Services - Trendline is a management consulting firm that has been operating in Thunder Bay since 1987. Trendlines specializes in Human Resources and provides HR consulting services for business in Northwestern Ontario.

Northwest Training and Development logo

Northwest Training and Development - Northwest Training and Development has been providing training and consulting services for 20 years. The training programs and workshops focus on leadership development, communications and training skills, occupational health and safety, and NeuroLinguistic Programming.

Recent Investment in Training

Confederation College logo

Confederation College received $19 million for the construction of its recently opened TEC Hub that includes new workshop and lab space and supports the college's engineering technology and manufacturing programs, as well as provide pathways for skilled trades training.


SuperCom Industries logo

SuperCom Industries LP received $240,000 from the Ontario Government to support job training for First Nation Canadians. "Through the work of the training advisors, training coordinator and the government, Supercom will be able to create a highly-skilled workforce that will have transferrable skills for the rest of their career." - Matthew Dupuis, Board member, Supercom. Click here to read the full announcement.


Nokiiwin Tribal Council logo

The Nokiiwin Tribal Council in Thunder Bay received a $3 million investment from the Government of Canada in 2018 for its Mino-niigaanendmowin project through the Skills Link program. This project will help up to 150 Indigenous youth gain work experience and develop the skills they need to find and keep good jobs or return to school. Participants will also receive valuable work experience with local employers in fields such as transportation, mining, forestry, administration, health care, education and commercial fisheries.

Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute logo

The Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute will receive $2.7 million in federal funding for its Pathways to Prosperous Future project. This project will enable the Institute, through its Trades Training Mobile Lab, to provide specialized training for First Nations people in 49 communities across the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. The funding will also be used to upgrade the trades labs at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, which will help provide more training opportunities for First Nations youth.


Carpenters Local 1669 logo

The Carpenters Local 1669 Training Centre received an investment of approximately $166,000 from the Government of Canada in 2018 for its Welding – Gateway to General Carpentry project. Continuous technological change means that apprentices need higher-quality training to develop the right skills required on jobsites. By purchasing new, up-to-date equipment, Carpenters Union Local 1669 will help apprentices in the carpenter and welder Red Seal trades progress through their technical training, leading to a pool of certified journeypersons ready to participate in the job market.

Success Stories: Carrel + Partners LLP

Carrel + Partners LLP logoThanks to technology, law firms in smaller urban centers like Thunder Bay have kept pace with the latest developments in the legal field. "Big difference from Toronto to Thunder Bay is that we have enhanced our practice with the integration of technology," commented Marc Laatu, attorney at Carrel + Partners LLP law firm. Read the full story of Marc's decision to return to Thunder Bay to further his law career. (Coming Home to Thunder Bay Success Story)

For additional information please contact the Development Officer at (807) 625-3960 or visit our Contact Us page.


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