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Building the new Thunder Bay jail will require 700-800 workers

The four-year project is set to begin by fall
Thunder Bay jail new
An artist's rendering of the new Thunder Bay Correctional Complex (Govt. of Ontario)

THUNDER BAY — The city's economy will get a significant boost from the construction of the new Thunder Bay Correctional Complex.

The Ontario government awarded the $1.2 billion contract to EllisDon in April.

Construction at the Highway 61 site is expected to begin by late summer or early fall.

Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General, said an estimated 700 to 800 workers will be on site when the work is at its peak.

He said a large number of these workers will come from local unions.

According to Ross, some parts of the complex may be fabricated offsite, but "it is not a modular build, and most of the work will be done onsite."

He noted that the project will have a positive economic impact on the local economy, with spin-off benefits going to numerous subcontractors, hotels and restaurants.

Ross said the ministry also plans to work with Fort William First Nation and other community partners to promote employment and business opportunities.

Those efforts will include engaging with local unions and post-secondary institutions.

The massive project won't be finished until late 2026, at which time the aging Thunder Bay District Jail will be closed.

Charla Robinson, president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday that "clearly that level of infrastructure spending and job creation will have a significant positive impact for local workers and service and supply companies."

But Robinson said she's not aware of the estimated impact on the local Gross Domestic Product GDP or the number of indirect jobs that might be created specifically.

Expansion projects currently underway at the existing Thunder Bay Correctional Centre and at the Kenora District Jail – aimed at alleviating capacity pressures and creating new space for enhanced programming and community reintegration supports – continue.

Both of those projects are expected to be completed this fall.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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