Key Sectors

Thunder Bay's Growing Sectors

Strategically located in the centre of North America, and just 32 miles from the Minnesota border, this is an exciting time in Thunder Bay as historically strong sectors in resource industries and manufacturing successfully blend with new, evolving and innovative businesses in knowledge, education and healthcare, creating a balanced and diversified economy.

Work here, live here. Explore new opportunities as you enjoy this vibrant city and its welcoming community. Go To Thunder Bay. For Life.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

With an extensive fibre optic network, Thunder Bay offers excellent communication infrastructure. The diverse and educated labour force grows annually by approximately 3600 new graduates from Lakehead University and Confederation College.

Health Sciences

Thunder Bay boasts a strong and deep health sciences sector, including a local medical school, DNA labs and a renowned research institute. Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) is a leading teaching and research hospital, serving all of Northwestern Ontario. The Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI) is an innovative, brand new facility equipped with advanced technology that attracts world-class talent. It is contributing millions of dollars to Thunder Bay's economy and driving the growth of the Life Sciences Manufacturing cluster including innovative young businesses and ground-breaking research.


The manufacturing sector is poised for strong growth due its strong economic diversity, low property and operating costs, a highly skilled labour force and opportunities in its resources, health sciences, clean water and transportation sectors. Low property and operating costs, a highly skilled labour force and proximity to the US border, make Thunder Bay an excellent location for this sector.


Situated in Canada's Boreal Forest, the forestry sector has been a significant economic contributor since the late 1800s. Northern Ontario contains 690,000 square kilometers of Crown forests managed to internationally recognized standards of sustainability. The quality of the wood fibre is excellent. Thunder Bay’s wood products manufacturing industries include sawmills, paper mills and lumber plants.


As a regional exploration hub, mining is big business in Thunder Bay. In recent years, new material finds have reinvigorated interest in mining in Northwestern Ontario. Similar in size to France, Northwestern Ontario is a vast land of minerals with gold production growing and expected to reach 1.5 million ounces by 2020. The Lac des Iles mine north of Thunder Bay is the only platinum-palladium mine in Canada and the Ring of Fire’s $60 billion in mineral deposits presents a once-in-a-century economic opportunity.

Aircraft/Transportation Equipment Manufacturing

Since 1912 streetcars, subway cars, and rail coaches have been manufactured in Thunder Bay. Today aerospace product parts manufacturing and aircraft servicing are among our fastest growing industries.

Bombardier’s products have global reach, and its manufacturing facility in Thunder Bay, with over 1,100 highly skilled workers with unique expertise, manufacture the most advanced rail and mass transit cars in the world.

Confederation College (Aircraft Manufacturing Program) and the Technology, Education and Collaboration (TEC) Hub is, slated for completion in early 2018. The new facility will contribute to the development of a skilled, employment-ready technology and trades workforce for northwestern Ontario. It will also host vibrant research, incubation and technology transfer services to support the region's advanced manufacturing, technology and resource sectors.

  • Transportation manufacturing sector brochure


Thunder Bay attracts approximately 1.3 million visitors annually. Visitors enjoy the wide variety of recreation and leisure opportunities, sports and conventions. Thunder Bay is also the gateway for travel into remote Northern Ontario wilderness.

Industries Reliant on Cold/Clean Water

Lake Superior is the cleanest and clearest of the Great Lakes. It stores 10% of the Earth’s available fresh water, providing a key resource for industries such as food and beverage, deep water cooling, data centres and others.

Community Profile

Thunder Bay Economic Data – This interactive website includes data on demographics, labour force, tax, quality of life, housing transportation, education, companies and utilities.

Thunder Bay Community Profile for Investors – This PDF provides demographic and economic information about doing business here.

* Sources: Statistics Canada; Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI)


Why Thunder Bay

Busy laboratory

Thunder Bay is demonstrating the capacity to build and sustain a knowledge-based economy that provides a diversity of good jobs and academic opportunities for our citizens.


Dr. Rui Wang leads a team of high-profile researchers committed to Lakehead's vision of being in the top 25 research intensive universities in Canada.

Quick Stats

Logo Map



Local News