Labour Market Shortages in TBay – Report

Northern Policy Institute (NPI) partnered with the North Superior Workforce Planning Board, your Local Employment Planning Council to provide insight into current and potential future labour market shortages in Thunder Bay.


“With retirement and out-migration coupled with an already ageing population, it is important now than ever to understand the occupations in which these shortages fall,” says author Alex Ross, former Senior Data Analyst at Northern Policy Institute and current Business Development Officer at the City of Greater Sudbury.


In the briefing note Assessing Labour Market Shortages in the City of Thunder Bay, multiple positions were identified as occupations that may be experiencing high current shortages and/or high future demand. Here are some key findings for the Thunder Bay Census Metropolitan Area:

  • Optometrists, chiropractors, and other health diagnosing and treating professionals.
  • Physicians, dentists, pharmacists, and dieticians.
  • Plumbers, pipefitters, and gas fitters.
  • Managers in finance and business, retail and wholesale trade, construction, corporate sales, transportation, and customer services.
  • Computer and information systems professionals.

Analysis also reveals that there are several occupations that are unique to this region compared to the province when looking at current shortages. Two examples are underground miners, oil and gas drillers, and related occupations, and then auditors, accountants, and investment professionals.


The insights found in the briefing note are important to ensure that skills shortages are met, in-migrants move to the North for the right jobs, and for Northern Ontario’s youth to prepare themselves for careers that will allow them the option of remaining in their home cities after they graduate. “They will provide a better understanding to decision makers, potential migrants and youth on the labour market situation in Northern communities” said Ross.


Initiatives such as the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a step in the right direction to increase immigration to communities by creating a path to permanent residence for foreign skilled workers. However, “determining labour market gaps is becoming an increasingly important practice for policy planning, given projected future labour force declines in Northern Ontario” concludes Madge Richardson, Executive Director at North Superior Workforce Planning Board.


This research is another result of the Northern Analyst Cooperative program which 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 price.


To read more about the current and potential future labour market shortages in Thunder Bay go read the briefing note here: