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Digital Strategy for Thunder Bay: Lessons & Recommendations from Similar-Sized Cities

Navigating the Digital Landscape: How Thunder Bay Can Implement a Successful Digital Strategy by Learning from Similar-Sized Cities

In today's digital age, cities are increasingly looking for ways to modernize their operations and improve the delivery of services to their residents. One way they are doing this is by focusing on the digital economy and implementing digital strategies to improve their internal digital ecosystem. The city of Thunder Bay, Ontario is no exception, and in November 2021, they issued a digital strategy that includes several recommendations to help accelerate the city's internal digital ecosystem. However, it's important to consider not only the benefits but also the potential challenges of implementing the strategy. Furthermore, it's essential to look at what other similar-sized cities are doing to implement digital strategies and learn from their examples.


Many similar-sized cities have already implemented similar digital strategies and are seeing positive results. For example, the city of St. John's, Newfoundland has implemented a CRM system that allows residents to interact with the city government through an app, which has improved customer service and accessibility. Additionally, many cities have implemented GIS-based service request systems, which have improved efficiency and transparency in managing city assets. The city of Guelph, Ontario, has implemented a digital strategy that includes a focus on open data, digital literacy, and citizen engagement. In the United States, cities like Chattanooga, Tennessee have implemented smart city solutions that use technology to improve infrastructure, energy, and public services.

Recommendations for the city of Thunder Bay to consider

The recommendations from similar-sized cities will vary depending on the specific needs and goals of each city. However, some common themes among the digital strategies of similar-sized cities include:

  • Investing in digital infrastructure and education: Many cities have invested in digital infrastructure and education for their employees and residents to improve economic growth and digital literacy.

  • Encouraging innovation and experimentation: Many cities have implemented a culture of innovation and experimentation to encourage employees to come up with new and creative solutions to problems.

  • Promoting digital inclusion: Many cities have made efforts to ensure that everyone in the community has access to digital tools and resources to bridge the digital divide.

  • Improving service delivery: Many cities have digitized their cross-corporate processes and put key digital platforms in place to improve service delivery to residents.

  • Job Loss Prevention: Some cities have included job loss prevention as a priority for the success of the strategy

  • Open Data, digital literacy and citizen engagement: Some cities have included open data, digital literacy and citizen engagement as a priority for the success of the strategy.

It's important to note that each city will have its own unique set of needs and goals, so the specific recommendations from similar-sized cities will vary. However, by looking at the examples of other cities, Thunder Bay can gain a better understanding of what has worked well in other places and what they can do to improve their own digital strategy.


Implementing a digital strategy is crucial for the city of Thunder Bay to modernize its operations and improve the lives of its residents. By looking at the examples of similar-sized cities, Thunder Bay can learn from best practices and create a digital strategy that is tailored to its unique needs and goals. The city should focus on investing in digital infrastructure and education, encouraging innovation and experimentation, promoting digital inclusion, improving service delivery, job loss prevention and citizen engagement, among other priorities. While there may be challenges to implementation, such as costs and job loss, the benefits of a successful digital strategy, such as economic growth and improved service delivery, outweigh the potential downsides. By learning from the examples of other cities, Thunder Bay can create a digital strategy that will bring positive change to the community.


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