Transforming Thunder Bay Together...

City Council is pleased to present its 2015-2018 Corporate Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan BookOn January 1, 2020, the City of Thunder Bay will be 50 years old. The last decade has seen tremendous change including the transformation of our waterfront, major building projects throughout the city and work to improve our image routes – or key corridors. Located in the centre of Canada on the shores of Lake Superior and surrounded by the boreal forest, we are a proud city of contrasts - historic and modern, ecological and technological, intimate and magnificent, closeknit and urban.

Full Strategic Plan             Full Implementation Plan 

Citizens tell us they generally like what they have in terms of City programs and services – and they want us to focus on making what they have even better.

Better roads and more enhanced infrastructure investments. Cleaner, more beautiful streets and public spaces. More focus on addressing social issues such as the need for housing. Continued effort to diversify the economy.

City Council began working on this Strategic Plan right after the 2014 Fall election. We have worked hard to capture the key themes we heard from thousands of residents during the campaign and to articulate a shared vision for where we need to head.

‘Proud to live in Thunder Bay’

Special thanks to the hundreds of individuals and organizations who took the time to provide input into this Plan. Your time, insights, and dedication to our community influenced its creation. We appreciate the effort and initiative of the members of SHIFT, the Young Professionals Network, and share their focus on civic pride, beautification and engagement. Like them, we are “proud to live inThunder Bay,” and will target efforts to engage residents as ambassadors for our great city.

It was apparent throughout the process that we all want the same results: a City of Thunder Bay that is healthy, vibrant, connected and strong.

It is time to get to work! Let’s continue the transformation. We will work together to become our very best.

Mayor Keith Hobbs

About the Strategic Plan

This Strategic Plan identifies City Council’s goals for the next 10 years, under four pillars, together with strategies and actions to further the goals. It also sets out the Vision, Mission, and Principles that will guide our actions.

While the Plan coincides with the term of Council and is a corporate document intended to guide the work of internal Departments and Divisions, its goals are longer term and reflect your input.

Implementation Plan

A separate detailed Implementation Plan is available and sets out milestones, indicators and project leads. Progress will be reported after 120 days and annually.



A High Quality of Life
Goal 1: Unified city of strong, active, vibrant neighbourhoods
1.1 Build civic pride through proactive community engagement of citizens and business
  • Develop a Civic Pride Plan including partnership opportunities, targeted initiatives and recognition
  • Continue to support the Clean Green & Beautiful Committee in its civic pride efforts
1.2 Build neighbourhood capacity
  • Develop and implement Neighbourhood Hub Strategy to increase the level of social interaction, building on the success of Action for Neighbourhood Change led by the United Way and exemplified by Evergreen a United Neighbourhood
  • Participate in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Steering Committee to implement neighbourhood initiatives that support physical, emotional and mental health
1.3 Celebrate key anniversaries that are a significant source of civic pride
  • Establish Committee for 50th Anniversary of City of Thunder Bay
  • Apply to Federal Canada 150 Fund for City of Thunder Bay projects and support other eligible community-based projects
  • Support the development of the 100th Anniversary of First World War Committee and the implementation of its plan
A High Quality of Life
Goal 2: Safe, welcoming and inclusive
2.1 Address the risk factors of crime and disorder and increase perceptions of safety
  • Update and implement the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Strategy in conjunction with community partners
2.2 Invest in emergency services that protect all residents of Thunder Bay
  • Support the efforts of emergency services through annual updates and ongoing implementation of:
    • Thunder Bay Police Service Annual Business Plan
    • Strategic Master Fire Plan
    • Superior North EMS Strategic Plan
2.3 Reduce the harm caused by substance use
  • Implement priority actions of the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy in conjunction with community partners
2.4 Attract workers, families, students, including immigrants, to choose Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario as places for long-term residence
  • Develop Welcoming Strategy in conjunction with community partners including a focus on supporting students relocating to Thunder Bay
  • Work with Thunder Bay Multicultural Association to continue to develop Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal
2.5 Encourage respect and make racism and discrimination unacceptable
  • Renew broad-based promotion of the respect. initiative
  • Update and implement the Work Plan of the Anti-Racism Advisory Committee
A High Quality of Life
Goal 3: Proud of its diversity and unique culture
3.1 Recognize the diversity in our community
  • Complete respect. Training for all City staff
  • Support and promote the annual respect. Award
  • Further the community-wide respect. initiative
3.2 Recognize the contributions of Aboriginal peoples
  • Update and implement the City of Thunder Bay Aboriginal Liaison Action Plan
  • Complete Cultural Awareness training for all City staff
3.3 Celebrate arts and heritage as a key contributor to quality of life in Thunder Bay
  • Implement Inspire Thunder Bay Culture Plan
A High Quality of Life
Goal 4: Place to live with appropriate housing for all
4.1 Explore opportunities for the municipality to facilitate more housing along the continuum
  • Support District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board implementation of Under One Roof: A Housing and Homelessness Plan
  • Implement recommendations of Drug Strategy Accommodation Needs Analysis through Housing and Homelessness Coalition including Homelessness Count and Housing First Strategy
  • Review municipal best practices and options to encourage and support private sector in offering affordable housing options and develop a related City of Thunder Bay strategy working in conjunction with District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board
A High Quality of Life
Goal 5: Free from the effects of poverty
5.1 Support the shared agenda for change and goals developed through Thunder Bay Counts:

A prosperous, vibrant economy*

A community free from the effects of poverty

An inclusive, connected community**

*Also supported by actions in the Economy pillar

**Also supported by actions in the Lifestyle pillar

  • Participate in the Thunder Bay Counts Roundtable
  • Support Building a Better Thunder Bay for All: A Community Action Strategy to Reduce Poverty
5.2 Advocate for programs and funding from other orders of government to improve access to services for individuals facing poverty, mental health challenges and addictions
  • Develop Advocacy and Funding Strategy working closely with Intergovernmental Affairs Committee
A High Quality of Life
Goal 6: Leader in accessible recreation and services for all people
6.1 Invest in new and revitalized recreational facilities and affordable, accessible programs and services that meet the needs of people of all ages in their neighbourhoods
  • Complete Community Services – Recreation & Facilities Master Plan
  • Explore feasibility of 55+ Centre on South Side and Youth Centre(s) throughout the City
  • Review user fees for children’s recreation programs
  • Install splash pads in every major neighbourhood
  • Continue to support P.R.O. Kids
  • Apply Children’s Charter and Senior’s Charter lens in decision making
  • Implement Youth Services Strategy (full program as approved by Council)
  • Continue work with community partners to support neighbourhood based enhancements to recreational facilities and programs (e.g. Boys & Girls Clubs, Evergreen a United Neighborhood)
6.2 Improve City services and programs to enhance the quality of life of seniors and participation in City events and programs, and work with our partners to support Thunder Bay residents to age well and live with dignity
  • Complete and implement Age Friendly City Services Action Plan
  • Support the Community-wide Age Friendly Thunder Bay Action Plan
  • Research, develop, implement and evaluate best practices in long-term care at Pioneer Ridge Home for the Aged as a Best Practices Spotlight Organization
6.3 Invest in preventing and removing physical and attitudinal barriers to accessibility
  • Implement Multi-Year Accessibility Plan


A Cleaner, Greener, More Beautiful & Proud Thunder Bay
Goal 7: Clean and beautiful streets and spaces
7.1 Give priority to integration of ‘complete streets’ guidelines on key corridors
  • Implement Image Route Guidelines with initial priority focus on Red River Road, Memorial Avenue and other opportunities related to annual City of Thunder Bay capital works program
  • Develop Transportation Master Plan to plan for future needs and align in keeping with ‘complete streets’ guidelines
7.2 Provide developers with design guidelines to improve the quality of the built environment
  • Promote and apply approved Urban Design Guidlines
7.3 Recognize the private sector for building projects that improve the built environment
  • Support and promote Annual Clean Green and Beautiful Awards
7.4 Invest in anti-litter program, campaign and community clean-ups
  • Implement umbrella campaign through Clean Green and Beautiful and in keeping with Solid Waste Management Strategy
7.5 Invest in programs to beautify façades and private properties in designated areas
  • Update Façade Improvement Program
  • Develop comprehensive city-wide beautification program including incentives for private properties
7.6 Invest in beautification of public areas
  • Investigate use of Communities in Bloom program criteria as a starting point
  • Develop and integrate enhanced City of Thunder Bay property beautification programs in annual operating budget
A Cleaner, Greener, More Beautiful & Proud Thunder Bay
Goal 8: Leader in climate change adaptation
8.1 Plan for climate resilient infrastructure and services
  • Complete development of Climate Adaptation Strategy through EarthCare Sustainability Plan
8.2 Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy and fuel consumption within the Corporation of the City of Thunder Bay
  • Continue implementation of Corporate Energy Management Plan
  • Continue and investigate alternative fleet related programs that encourage and promote reduced fleet fuel consumption and/or reduced GHG emissions
8.3 Partner with Thunder Bay Hydro to support the development and use of renewable energy technologies
  • Support Thunder Bay Hydro’s Sustainable Electric Energy Development Initiative
A Cleaner, Greener, More Beautiful & Proud Thunder Bay
Goal 9: Greener with protected and enhanced natural areas
9.1 Improve surface water management and educate and assist residents and business on protecting their new and existing properties from flooding
  • Implement Storm Water Management Plan (subject to Council approval - 2015)
  • Support implementation of related priorities of the EarthCare Sustainability Plan
  • Review and promote Residential Drainage Assistance Program (RDA)
9.2 protect, preserve, enhance and expand the City’s public forest resources
  • Implement Urban Forestry Management Plan
9.3 Encourage waste reduction
  • Implement recommendations of Solid Waste Management Strategy
A Cleaner, Greener, More Beautiful & Proud Thunder Bay
Goal 10: Better connected by integrated mobility choices
10.1 Continue to develop a better transit system to improve the customer experience and increase ridership
  • Implement the objectives of the Transit Master Plan for conventional and specialized transit services
10.2 Provide and maintain a transportation system that offers competitive choices for moving people to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips
  • Continue to implement the Active Transportation Plan
  • Update the Transportation Master Plan to result in an integrated and seamless transportation System, which recognizes all mobility choices
10.3 Expand the quality of the pedestrian environment in order to improve the city’s walkability and connectivity
  • In conjunction with the Transportation Master Plan, develop a City of Thunder Bay Pedestrian Mobility Plan
  • Systematically implement the Recreational Trails Plan and integrate trails in new developments
  • Develop funding and implementation plan for a waterfront trail


A Prosperous & More Diversified Economy
Goal 11: Diversified with friendly business environment
11.1 Invest in the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC)
  • Support the CEDC Strategic Action Plan and itsseven focus areas:
    • Business Retention and Expansion
    • Innovative Manufacturing
    • Thunder Bay Training and Educational Community
    • Logistics and Supply Hub
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Mining Readiness Strategy
    • Social Enterprise, Information and Communication Technologies, Regional Food and Film
In particular, explore with CEDC what actions the City can take to support manufacturing, attract and retain young professionals, encourage the co-operative sector (e.g. housing and food) and enhance Thunder Bay’s profile as a regional service centre and hub
A Prosperous & More Diversified Economy
Goal 12: Revitalized downtowns and business areas
12.1 Develop and invest in programs to build capacity in Thunder Bay’s distinct neighbourhoods
  • Create Multi-Year Neighbourhood Strategy including support for sustainable commercial growth at the neighbourhood level
  • Review By-laws and enforcement related to property standards and other areas
12.2 Invest in revitalizing the downtown cores
  • Develop Downtown Core Strategies including improvement programs, public amenities such as accessible washrooms and actions to encourage residential development by the private sector
  • Implement recommendations of the South Core Public Safety Audit through the Fort William Public Safety Task Force
  • Develop and implement a multi-year wayfinding signage strategy in conjunction with the Business Improvement Areas and business areas
12.3 Invest in revitalizing vacant and underutilized industrial areas
  • Review best practices and implement revised Community Improvement Programs (CIP) for downtown areas
  • Investigate CIPs for vacant and underutilized industrial areas including the entire waterfront industrial area
12.4 Promote culture as a catalyst for economic development
  • Continue to implement the Inspire Thunder Bay Culture Plan
A Prosperous & More Diversified Economy
Goal 13: Premier visitor destination
13.1 Develop new tourism destination attractions and products
  • Develop and implement a new Tourism Thunder Bay product development and marketing plan
  • Work with tourism industry community partners to identify best options for new and enhanced attractions, and follow up with implementation plan
  • Develop a Wayfinding Plan
A Prosperous & More Diversified Economy
Goal 14: Known for growing agricultural sector
14.1 Facilitate the growth of greenhouses, community gardens and backyard agriculture
  • Identify actions the City can take to support effective implementation of the Food Strategy
A Prosperous & More Diversified Economy
Goal 15: Welcoming to world with globally enhanced image and identity
15.1 Market Thunder Bay to potential investors and business
  • Phase 1 – Work in partnership with CEDC to develop and implement an investment marketing strategy
15.2 Market Thunder Bay’s amazing quality of life
  • Phase 2 – Work in partnership with CEDC and Tourism Thunder Bay to develop a community marketing program, starting with residents, recognizing people can “live well for less in Thunder Bay” – freshest air, recreational and outdoor hub, reasonable housing prices, and natural beauty
A Prosperous & More Diversified Economy
Goal 16: Strong regional partner
16.1 Cultivate regional partnerships
  • Collaborate with regional municipalities and organizations to benefit the region as a whole
16.2 Support the expansion of natural gas, wood pellets and advanced biomass as alternative fuel sources
  • Support the ongoing work of the Common Voice Energy Task Force particularly related to economic development opportunities


Recognized as A Best-Run City
Goal 17: Fiscally strong, supported by sustainable tax base
17.1 Emphasize long-term strategic financial planning and fiscal stability
  • Continue to present the Long-Term Financial Plan to ensure sustainability and affordability
  • Report for Council approval inclusive of recommended overall City tax levy targets for the balance of this term of Council (i.e., 2016 to 2018)
17.2 Identify opportunities for improvement and/or net budget savings in City services
  • Investigate options and implement ongoing program for review of City services including ongoing consultation with the public
  • Update City Services Profile and continuously review services to realize annual savings
  • Continue to implement City LEAN program related to ongoing continuous improvement of City Services
17.3 Focus on balanced decision making
  • Develop mechanism to apply three key filters to decisions: economic, environmental and citizenfocus
17.4 Enhance funding and additional sources of revenue across all departments
  • Investigate and maximize funding opportunities
  • Expand collaborative relationships with Tbaytel, Thunder Bay Hydro group of companies and affiliated Boards and Agencies that further economic development to improve the competitive advantage of the Corporation and increase shareholder value
17.5 Support efforts to grow tax base – in particular commercial and industrial assessment
  • Develop proactive assessment growth strategy and develop and implement related tax policy options
Recognized as A Best-Run City
Goal 18: Sustainable through enhanced infrastructure renewal
18.1 Build on recent progress in infrastructure renewal for all City capital assets
  • Update asset management plans across all asset categories
  • Continue to increase Enhanced Infrastructure Funding on annual basis with focus on roads, bridges and stormwater management
  • Develop the Transportation Master Plan to plan for future needs
Recoginzed as A Best-Run City
Goal 19: Accountable with transparent and open decision making
19.1 Engage citizens
  • Continue to engage citizens and complete the Public Engagement Framework
  • Make clear, coordinated communications a priority through an updated Community Communications Plan using established City channels and new media
Recognized as A Best-Run City
Goal 20: Leader in public policy advocacy
20.1 Advocate for more funding and public policy change to address urgent and emerging community needs
  • Develop ongoing advocacy and other strategies in conjunction with the Intergovernmental Liaison Committee
  • Seek representation on Board of Directors of key public policy organizations (e.g. MPAC)
  • Focus on enhanced funding to address urgent and emerging social issues facing the City of Thunder Bay
  • Continue support for key organizations such as Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Thunder Bay District Municipal League, Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
Recognized as A Best-Run City
Goal 21: Employer of choice
21.1 Have the right person with the right skills in the right position
  • Continually update Corporate succession planning process
  • Deliver Corporate training with focus on building leadership capacity of organization
21.2 Promote a corporate culture that respects diversity
  • Continuously update and implement corporate training to include accessibility, respect., and Aboriginal cultural awareness training
21.3 Promote and develop a safe and healthy workplace
  • Maintain and continually improve a comprehensive safety program conforming to Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series 18001 in order to manage risk and reduce the incidence of injury and occupational illness
  • Present status report annually to City Council on the City of Thunder Bay Health and Safety Program including key performance measures related to accident prevention and reduction

Strategic Planning Context

The Strategic Plan includes overviews of past community and corporate plans together with summaries of current strategic policies and plans. All of these existing plans helped to shape 'Becoming our Best'.

See the Strategic Planning Context section for more details.

Key Trends & Indicators

A high-level strategic overview presented to City Council on March 5, 2015, identified key trends that need to be taken into account and tracked to minimize risks and maximize opportunities while maintaining the foundational approach that has proven successful so far. More recently, the Strategic Plan has been updated with the 2015 Citizen Survey results.

See the Key Trends & Indicators section for more details.


The Implementation Plan sets out milestones, indicators and project leads. Progress will be reported after 120 days and annually. See the progress in the following newsletters: