As Northwestern Ontario’s largest city and major service centre, Thunder Bay offers employment and professional career opportunities in a diverse range of sectors from forestry, mining and transportation, to health, retail and public services. It has a high percentage of skilled workers and it is a desirable city in which to work due to above average wages and its superior quality of life.
Thunder Bay is the industrial capital of Northwestern Ontario. It originally attracted immigrants to work in its forestry and railroad industries. Natural resource extraction and processing industries as well as transportation and manufacturing operations continue to be strongly represented in the economy of Thunder Bay today.
Thunder Bay is the premier water, land and air port of Northern Ontario and a major gateway for exports and imports to and from Canada and the United States. Tourism also plays an important role in its economy, with 652,000 total visitors in 2008.
The City of Thunder Bay is a major employer and runs several utility companies including Thunder Bay Hydro, which controls the sale and distribution of electricity, and TBayTel, the largest independent telephone company in Canada.
Thunder Bay’s central business district is dominated by office based corporate employment. The majority of Northern Ontario businesses have headquarters in the city and the most important national banks and corporations are represented here. Administration, finance, legal, HR and IT careers are plentiful and Thunder Bay is also the base for several regional media outlets including television, radio and print services such as the Chronicle Journal newspapers, Dougall Media, and CBC Radio.
At the same time, Thunder Bay has significant strengths in public education and health services and is shifting towards a knowledge based economy. The development of several biotechnology and research companies, along with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Lakehead University's Northern Ontario School of Medicine, continue to create exciting career prospects in the city.
The major employers in Thunder Bay include:
To learn about all Thunder Bay’s Major Employers, download the Community Economic Development Commission's Major Employers list.
Thunder Bay has begun to transform its employment base in recent years to increase career opportunities and improve job skills and training in the city. Investments in biotechnology, health care, research & development and entrepreneurship, have helped to reduce Thunder Bay’s economic dependency on its traditional, natural resource based industries and have created opportunities for new fields of employment and business in the city.
Key developments in this transformation include the highly acclaimed Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, Canada’s newest molecular imaging and advanced diagnostics research institute, Lakehead University’s Paleo-DNA Laboratory, and Genesis Genomics, a biotechnology research pioneer in the discovery, development and commercial application of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).
Investments continue to be made in emerging technology and science sectors to develop initiatives like the new Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-economy (CRIBE), which is developing the next generation of renewable forestry bio-products. This is a welcoming and forward looking community where the world’s brightest minds flourish.