On-Site Magazine

Contract awarded for Thunder Bay Correctional Complex project

By Adam Freill   

Construction Institutional

Ontario government aims to transform corrections in the North with new state-of-the-art complex, expansions to existing facilities and staffing incentive program.

Artist’s concept of the new Thunder Bay Correctional Complex. (Infrastructure Ontario supplied image)

Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and the Ministry of the Solicitor General have awarded a fixed-price contract of $1.2 billion to EllisDon Infrastructure Justice to design, build, finance and maintain a new Thunder Bay Correctional Complex. The contract includes payments during construction, a completion payment and monthly service payments during the 30-year operations and maintenance period.

EllisDon Infrastructure Justice includes EllisDon Capital Inc. as the developer; EllisDon Corporation as the design-builder; the design team of Zeidler Architecture Inc. and DLR Group Inc.; facilities managers EllisDon Facilities Services Inc.; and financial advisor EllisDon Capital Inc.

In addition to awarding the correctional facility contract, the Ontario government also announced $96 million to fund expansion projects at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre and Kenora Jail, and up to $5 million for a new Northern Attraction Incentive Program pilot to attract and retain corrections staff in the North.

The Thunder Bay Correctional Complex project will be a 345-bed multi-purpose facility that will replace the outdated existing jail and correctional centre in Thunder Bay. Construction is expected to start this fall and be completed by fall 2026.


“A new correctional facility for Thunder Bay is a very important investment to enhance the facility’s living conditions, security, technology, and space,” stated Joey Comeau, COO and executive vice-president, Capital, at EllisDon. “We are honoured to be selected to design, build, finance and maintain the new Thunder Bay Correctional Complex project.”

Bird Construction Inc. is scheduled to complete the announced infrastructure expansion projects at the existing Thunder Bay Correctional Centre and Kenora Jail in late summer 2022. Built rapidly using innovative modular construction, these expansions will add beds to alleviate capacity pressures and create more space for effective programming such as literacy and skills development that support safe community reintegration. The Thunder Bay build will eventually be connected to the new Thunder Bay Correctional Complex.

“Bird is proud to play a part in the important infrastructure developments in Northern Ontario and work with communities to enable rapid delivery solutions through the unique value offering of Bird and our partnership with Stack Modular,” said Teri McKibbon, president and CEO of Bird Construction.

“Infrastructure projects like the Thunder Bay Correctional Complex are essential to our communities,” said Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure. “This investment will ensure staff and frontline workers have access to a more modern and safe space, while also creating hundreds of new jobs and boosting the local economy.”

The existing Thunder Bay Jail and Correctional Centre are among the oldest provincially-run adult correctional facilities in Ontario. The Thunder Bay Jail opened in 1928, while the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre opened in 1965 in a structure that opened as a prison farm in 1911.

The province is also funding a pilot program aimed at recruiting and retaining critical frontline corrections staff. The Northern Attraction Incentive Program will provide between $4,000 and $15,000 in onboarding supports for new candidates working at select adult institutions. Existing and new employees who transfer to select locations, can also claim relocation expenses of up to $5,000 per year for up to three years for service at specific probation and parole offices and correctional facilities in the North. The program will begin on April 27 of this year.

“Together, our government’s landmark infrastructure investment and new hiring program will create and support hundreds of jobs in Thunder Bay, Kenora and surrounding regions,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “We are making exciting progress on building a modern correctional system that supports public safety, meets the care and programming needs of those in custody, and ensures healthy and well-resourced work environments for our frontline corrections staff to do their jobs safely.”




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