March 26, 2020
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
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, immigrants 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
Author Alex Ross and NPI President & CEO Charles Cirtwill are available for comment. To arrange an interview, please contact:
Northern Policy Institute is Northern Ontario’s independent think tank. We perform research,
collect and disseminate evidence, and identify policy opportunities to support the growth of
sustainable Northern communities. Our operations are located in Thunder Bay and Sudbury.
We seek to enhance Northern Ontario’s capacity to take the lead position on socioeconomic policy that impacts Northern Ontario, Ontario, and Canada as a whole.
Alex Ross is a former senior data analyst for Northern Policy Institute. He was born and raised
in Sudbury Ontario, and currently works in Economic Development. After graduating from
Laurentian University with a B.A. (Hons) in Economics in 2010, Alex completed a Masters
Degree in Economic Policy from McMaster University. Alex’s areas of interest include labour
market analysis, community and economic development, cost-benefit analysis, and
The Northern Analyst Cooperative, a project of Northern Policy Institute, will allow 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
North Superior Workforce Planning Board, your Local Employment Planning Council
The North Superior Workforce Planning Board (NSWPB) is one of twenty-six Workforce Planning
zones across Ontario. Our mandate is to identify, assess and prioritize the skills and knowledge
needs of community, employers and individual participants/learners in the local labour
market through a collaborative, local labour market planning process. Our vision is to ensure
that our human resource pool will be strategically aligned, competitively positioned and
progressively developed to meet future social and economic demands across Northwestern
Ontario. Our mission is to connect community partners to improve the quality of life in our
communities through workforce development.
NSWPB is funded by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to act as the Local
Employment Planning Council for the Thunder Bay area. The Local Employment Planning
Council (LEPC) is one of eight project sites across the province. The LEPC works with 35 local
communities to develop labour market information that is relevant to Northern stakeholders
such as businesses, employers, employees and employment and training service providers.
The LEPC is dedicated to developing and strengthening partnerships, fostering integrated
planning and coordinating services.
We are collecting data to better understand who is looking for work and what kind of opportunities jobseekers are searching for. This data is completely anonymous and non-personally identifiable.