Thunder Bay Labour Market 2020


Assessing Labour Market Shortages in the City of Thunder Bay

March 26, 2020 | Alex Ross

Northern Ontario is ageing. This is well known among decision makers within our communities, and multiple initiatives have been underway to counter the ageing demographic and focus on filling current and future labour force needs due to retirement and out-migration. The most recent initiative includes the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), a community driven program which includes Northern Ontario’s five largest cities and involves increasing immigration to these communities by creating a path to permanent residence for foreign skilled workers (Government of Canada, 2020).

With retirement and out-migration coupled with an already ageing population, it is important now more than ever to understand the occupations in which these shortages fall. This briefing note provides insight into current and potential future labour market shortages in Northern Ontario’s five largest cities, in order to provide a better understanding to decision makers, potential migrants and youth on the labour market situation in Northern communities. These insights are important to ensure that skills shortages are met, in-migrants move to the North for the right jobs, and so that Northern Ontario’s youth prepare themselves for careers that will allow them the option of remaining in their home cities after they graduate.

For the Thunder Bay Census Metropolitan Area, this paper finds that multiple highly skilled positions have been identified as in need, both based on current labour market indicators and potential future retirements. This includes optometrists, chiropractors, and other health diagnosing and treating professionals, which were identified across all three indicators as occupations that may be experiencing high current shortages and high future demand. Other health-related positions were also identified across multiple indicators, including physicians, dentists, pharmacists, and dieticians. In management, multiple positions were identified which were unique to Thunder Bay, including managers in finance and business, retail and wholesale trade, construction, sales, transportation, and customer services. Finally, computer and information systems professionals were also identified, which was unique to Thunder Bay and forms a relatively large proportion of labour market demand.


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This report was created as part of the Northern Analyst Collective. This project allows members to “time share” a professional policy analyst. By merging our collective resources we can ensure that the smallest municipality or local charity can access high-end skills at an affordable cost. For more information on the program click here.

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