Economic Overview

Thunder Bay's Competitive Edge - The Canadian Advantage

Canada is an extremely business friendly country for business. It is consistently ranked highly competitive on major cost factors including labour, transportation, and taxes.

Canada has a lower dollar value, which increases international purchasing power for goods and services within Canada. Conversely, this also means higher profits when selling to the US and global markets. This lower Canadian dollar has lead to business investment through out the country as well as Ontario and the city of Thunder Bay.

Canada has the highest projected real GDP growth across all G7 countries. Long-term real GDP growth statistics have placed Canada at the top of the G7 over the past decade. Canada also ranks first among G7 and OECD countries for the lowest number of procedures to set up a business. (Source: Doing Business in 2018 – The World Bank Group, November 2017.)

Canada’s labour pool is also the most educated across OECD members. Over half of the Canadian population aged 25-64 have attained post-secondary education. (Source: OECD, Education at a Glance, September 2017). In addition, Canada’s culture is internationally recognized for being welcoming of immigrants, and this diversity is touted as part of our strength.

The Thunder Bay Advantage

Thunder Bay is the largest community on Lake Superior and an urban centre for all of Northwestern Ontario. When compared to US cities such as Minneapolis, Thunder Bay has 22% lower costs for digital industries, 20.8% lower R&D costs, and 21.8% lower costs for corporate services (such as international financial services and shared services centres). (Source: KPMG Competitive Alternatives 2016). Thunder Bay businesses benefit from these lower corporate service costs because of lower average wages for administrative and customer service level employees as well as financial professionals.

With an extensive transportation network, businesses can optimize their shipping options based on the final destination of their goods by utilizing a mixture of air, sea, rail, and road transportation. Businesses in Thunder Bay benefit from this network which allows easy access for importing raw materials and delivering final products internationally. Thunder Bay’s location and existing supply chain infrastructure is ideal for businesses that need to access not only North America, but a global market.

With no development charges, affordable cost of land and competitive construction costs, Thunder Bay offers prime real estate for development. Thunder Bay also features a superior quality of life and a lower cost of living for its residents.

For additional information regarding the City of Thunder Bays’ economic overview, please visit the Thunder Bay CEDC Economic Snapshot page.

The Ontario Advantage​

Ontario is the best location for investment in Canada. Recently awarded this position by Site Selection Magazine’s annual, “Best to Invest” ranking. Ontario is Canada’s largest province, with a population of 13.8 million and workforce of 6 million.

Ontario offers competitive corporate tax rates, which are lower than the average federal-state CIT rate in the US. (Source: Ontario Ministry of Finance, 2017 Budget). With funding and incentive programs such as the Northern Ontario Business Development program, and programs such as NOHFC and FEDNOR, Ontario is committed to economic growth in the North.

Success Story: Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines has approximately seven flights arrive and depart daily from Thunder Bay International Airport. They identified Thunder Bay as an opportunity for growth and recently announced the plan for a maintenance base to open in February 2019. This will create 18 jobs in addition to the 24 crew members who are already based in Thunder Bay. Porter Airlines President and CEO, Reobert Deluce explained the reasons behind the investment in Thunder Bay, “We have a good number of flights … secondly, we actually base crew here … thirdly, we were able to lease airport hangar facilities … and last but not least, the fact that Thunder Bay actually produces, through Confederation College and elsewhere, some very talented and experienced aircraft maintenance engineers is something that’s a necessary ingredient.”

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