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Local Economy

North Bay’s diverse local economy has a strong balanced mix of industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) operations. North Bay business community continues to grow by encouraging local expansions and by attracting new compatible companies.

Our industrial firms experience a high level of success because they have a diversified offering, produce highly engineered, high margin, low volume products for a global market.

The diversified economy is comprised of the following priority sectors:

  • advanced manufacturing;
  • mining supply and services;
  • aviation and aerospace;
  • education;
  • health sciences; and
  • information communication technology.

Other key sectors include construction, film and television, forestry, public administration, trade and commerce, transportation and tourism. The available skilled workforce, often educated at the local post-secondary institutions, is experienced and highly regarded.

The significant presence of industrial companies in North Bay sometimes goes unnoticed because production facilities are located throughout the community and blend with the natural environment. A diverse variety of products are manufactured in North Bay, ranging from the world’s first fuel-cell to power a locomotive, to construction consumables, drill rigs, vehicles, pedal boats, kayaks, and more.

Our company capabilities range from machining to plastic injection moulding, to foundry, chrome plating and galvanizing. From CNC plasma cutting to polyethylene extrusions, weaving and coating, from light assembly to heavy fabrication and re-manufacturing of railcars, locomotives, and aircrafts, and so much more. 

There are over 31 individual businesses based at the airport, providing a variety of aviation and non-aviation services. A significant cluster of aerospace firms involved in a wide range of activities established at the airport, including aircraft manufacturing/assembly, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) (Voyageur Aerotech), and flight training and post secondary aviation training activities (Canadore College). These companies employ in excess of 500 employees.

While there are no mines in North Bay, the local presence of the mining supply and services sector indicates that the North Bay region is an excellent strategic location to supply the mining industry. Well-developed air, rail, and road transportation infrastructure enables local companies to easily service mines throughout Canada and the world. 

Over 60 Mining Supply & Services businesses call North Bay home, with a growing list of multinational headquarters. As Canadian-based mining companies develop properties worldwide, North Bay provides a cost-effective location to establish new and expanded export oriented mining supply operations.

The value of mineral production in Ontario was $10.7 billion in 2019, with 40 mine sites operating in the Province. 

North Bay has educational programs ranging from pre-school to university. In addition to providing education to today’s youth, the four school boards in North Bay offer continuing education services to the area’s adult population. Private training institutions such as CTS Canadian Career College and Modern College of Hairstyling & Esthetics offer additional educational opportunities. 

Nipissing University and Canadore College, co-located with main campus facilities on a pristine 700 acres / 283 hectares site on the escarpment, are leading economic engines for North Bay and region. Their estimated economic impact on the community is nearly $300 million annually. This relationship is entirely unique in the Canadian post-secondary sector and works to strengthen each institution respectively. 

Canadore College offers courses in 13 programs such as Aviation, Business Administration, Computers and Telecommunications, and Engineering and Technology. Annual enrollment for the North Bay campuses is close to 4,000 students, including international students from more than 15 countries.

Nipissing University offers undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate programs such as Nursing, Criminal Justice, and Education. Annual enrollment for Nipissing University is close to 4,700 students (excluding students through distance education).

The City of North Bay is within the forest management unit known as the “Nipissing Forest”. The Forest extends over 11,932 kmfrom which 400,000 m3 of wood is harvested annually and is delivered to more than 20 forest resource processing facilities in the region. Wood from the Nipissing Forest is processed into pulp, paper, veneer, dimensional lumber, oriented strand board (OSB), fuelwood, pallets and specialty products. 

North Bay has a strong and innovative health care sector. The medical community is comprised of specialists and general practitioners that provide patients throughout the region with the highest quality of care. The North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) is a partnership involving the North Bay and District Hospital and the Northeast Mental Health Centre.

The $550 million hospital, totaling 720,000 sf. /66,890 m2  is situated on an 80 acres / 32 hectares site on Highway 17 West.

One Kids Place offers a range of services to help children, youth and their families with physical, developmental and communication delays and disabilities.

North Bay’s world-class telecommunication infrastructure, service quality, and proximity to U.S. clients have helped the industry grow. In the IT field, North Bay is recognized for software development, application, and hardware maintenance. Canada’s twin fibre-optic routes crisscross only in North Bay, providing full redundancy and a unique competitive advantage. This sector includes:

  • Telecom services and equipment;
  • Back office shared services and contact management centres;
  • Software development, hardware support and services; and
  • Digital media, web development, film and television production.

22 Wing CFB North Bay provides surveillance, identification, control, and warning for the aerospace defence of North America from its ultra-modern 100,000 sq. ft./9,290mfacility. 

Critical information on air sovereignty events is forwarded to the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, where it is, in turn, passed on to the command authorities, the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada, to decide on the appropriate responses.

As a result, 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base North Bay is one of the most important military bases in Canada with respect to the continental air defence of North America and the country's air sovereignty. It is also home to one of the most unusual military installations in North America, the decommissioned NORAD Underground Complex, a bunker the size of a shopping centre, 60 storeys beneath the surface of the Earth.

Tourism is a significant contributor to the North Bay region’s economy. Each year, the North Bay region attracts an estimated 1.2 million visitors with many sporting and meeting events taking place throughout the year.

Many visitors perceive the area as an outdoor activity vacation destination and engage in four-season outdoor activities. However, the region offers much more - North Bay is also a hub for arts and culture activities and events.

North Bay provides many opportunities to experience arts, culture and entertainment in the downtown district. Works from our abundance of talented artists can be viewed at local art galleries or join a Gallery Hop and take a tour of up to six galleries.

While the City of North Bay has a diversified economic base that provides its products and services to the global market, these sectors are equally matched by a large public sector.  As a result, health, education and government are among the list of the city's top employers.

Our Federal and Provincial partners play a major role in our community development initiatives. Their combined presence also has a significant economic impact in our region. 

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services Technology Solutions Branch in North Bay is responsible for the development/support for ministry programs, including dispatch and report functions for 40 municipal police services and the OPP, centralized offender information and ambulance dispatch.

The Trans-Canada Highway 17, Canada’s east-west artery, passes through North Bay, and connects to the Highway 11 link to Toronto. This four-lane highway linkage allows for easy access to Southern Ontario markets. Major trucking and cartage firms have terminals in North Bay, as do the national courier companies offering overnight service to most Canadian and U.S. destinations. Two major bus lines provide passenger and express service to and from North Bay at a convenient central terminal.

Ontario Northland provides rail freight services to the region’s mining, forestry, and agriculture business. The company’s rail line interchanges with CN, OVR and CP, allowing freight customers to easily ship to destinations throughout North America. Ontario Northland also provides motor coach transportation as far west as White River, Timmins, Toronto, Ottawa, Hearst and many points in between. Each year, 250,000 passengers choose Ontario Northland. The company provides shipping services and station delivery service with multiple daily departures.