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City Government

Municipal Governance

Thunder Bay City HallWe learn about Municipal Governance in the classroom (perhaps you are in your Grade 10 Civics and Careers class right now reading this) but do you ever consider how decisions made by City Council affect us?

Below is a quick refresher on how our democratic system works within the City. Also, at the bottom are a couple of links to help you learn how to get involved in the exciting inner workings of City government. 

Thunder Bay’s City government is governed by City Council. City Council is comprised of a Mayor and twelve Councillors who are elected for four-year terms. The Mayor is the Chair of City Council, while Councillors serve as Chairs for Committee of the Whole meetings (where items are discussed).

Thunder Bay City Council has many functions and powers. It can:

  • Pass by-laws regulating businesses and buildings
  • Buy and sell property
  • Collect property taxes and other taxes
  • Approve major spending for all parts of the City government
  • Take on debt
  • Allocate funds for special activities such as arts and community services
  • Set up departments and offices for City services
  • Appoint the City Manager who in turn manages the City departments and hires senior City management

City Hall, the heart of the City of Thunder Bay government, is located at 500 Donald Street East. City Hall is where the Mayor’s Office (tel: 807–625–3600) is located, where the City Council meets and where the main offices for many city departments are located.

The City Manager’s Office in City Hall oversees the day-to-day administration of the City’s affairs. The City Manager carries out the Council’s decisions and supervises the work of City departments and programs. Staff works in City departments and programs all over the City, following the direction of senior management appointed by the City Manager.

City Council discusses and makes decisions about issues regarding the governing of the City Council. Decisions are made based on open votes in Council. You can get information about decisions to be made at Council’s meetings on the City website. You can even watch City Council meetings (past and present) here.