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Recommendations For How FEDNOR Can Be Used To Attract New Businesses And Talent To Thunder Bay

FEDNOR is a Northern Ontario economic development initiative, which is working with the federal government to encourage economic development in Northern Ontario. There are many different ways that this organization could be used to attract new businesses and talent to Thunder Bay. Remember that "FedNor's mandate is the generation of broad-based sustainable growth in the north, including promoting business investment and trade".

Below are some ideas and programs that may be new or already exist throughout the Thunder Bay region.


FEDNOR has the potential to attract new businesses and talent to the city by providing an attractive and safe environment. FEDNOR must give support to those who choose to move into the city, in order "to mitigate high employee turnover rates".

This could include:

  • Creating a special incentive program or package for employees who are willing to relocate.

  • Providing relocation packages with information about housing options, schools, community centres for children, health services, nearby shopping, and so on.

  • Celebrating significant landmarks of FEDNOR's history through signage or events throughout the year (e.g., Canada Day).

  • Short training sessions for new arrivals, encouraging them to settle into the community by providing them with information about local amenities.

  • Carrying out an orientation for newcomers (e.g., walking them through Thunder Bay's history, providing a written introduction to the city's services and amenities).

  • Offering professional development sessions (e.g., workshops) for new arrivals so that they can get up to speed quickly on local issues and culture.

  • Assisting with housing set up and locating suitable rental accommodation (e.g., helping with finding landlords, assisting with organizing utilities and deliveries, securing inspections).

  • Assisting with finding suitable health services (e.g., connecting newcomers with information about community health services; helping them navigate the health care system).

It is also important to ensure that employees have time to find their bearings in the city. For example, they might be given a one-week grace period before being required to start work, or they might be allowed to work from home until they find suitable accommodation.

FEDNOR should also provide ongoing support for new arrivals by:

  • Offering regular greetings and 'check in' sessions for newcomers at local events (e.g., trade shows).

  • Providing access to networking opportunities between business leaders and employees.

  • Hosting 'cultural exchange' lunches and dinners (e.g., a lunchtime 'meet-and-greet' with employees from different parts of the world).

  • Identifying local community leaders to meet with new employees to discuss local interests, hobbies, and recreational activities (e.g., resident poets, artists, or authors).

  • Promoting the city's involvement in local festivals on an ongoing basis through newsletters and social media (e.g., posting articles about the city's participation in other events).

  • Encouraging employees to contribute to their local community through employee giving (e.g., matching individual donations made by employees and referring them to local charities).

  • Organizing community service events to which employees can donate a portion of their time (e.g., volunteering at the local food bank).

  • Providing opportunities for employees to get involved in local arts and culture events, sports teams, and other activities that bring people together (e.g., arranging for employees to have seats at Thunder Bay's minor hockey games).

FEDNOR has the potential to attract new businesses and talent by showcasing its cultural heritage and attractions in Thunder Bay through:

  • Weekly or monthly newsletters that feature articles about city amenities, activities, and events (e.g., nature trails, festivals, museums, historical attractions). - Information pamphlets and brochures that explain the city's history and activities (e.g., an information booklet about FEDNOR's activities that can be given to new employees).

  • Videos posted on YouTube and other social media channels (e.g., a briefing video on the city's economic development strategies).

  • Promotions at local events that showcase Thunder Bay's culture and attractions (e.g., showcasing cultural performances at a sporting event or featuring the city's heritage attractions at a trade show).

Professional recruiting can be improved by:

  • Collaborating with other organizations to create job fairs for students graduating from post-secondary programs in Thunder Bay.

  • Working with the provincial jobcentre to host recruitment events in Thunder Bay. - Expanding the potential pool of students by making connections with local employers (e.g., encouraging businesses to take part in a student job fair at their offices).

To attract new talent, FEDNOR needs to:

  • Support new graduates (e.g., creating an internship program that they can undertake while they look for work).

  • Provide incentives for employees who are willing to relocate from other cities or provinces (e.g., having a special incentive program or package for employees who are willing to relocate).

FEDNOR can also attract new businesses and talent by offering other support services, including:

  • Liaising with organizations that provide networking opportunities within the local business community.

  • Connecting potential employees with individuals in the city who have experience working in their field (e.g., posting profiles of people who have experience working in a specific industry on its website).

  • Delivering professional development training sessions (e.g., workshops) to help newcomers learn about local issues and culture.

  • Hosting events that educate newcomers about Thunder Bay's history and culture (e.g., walking tours through residential areas).

  • Setting up an employment program that matches newcomers with suitable local employers (e.g., an online platform that matches newcomers with local jobs). - Hosting a local employment fair in the city to create opportunities for newcomers and others to meet employers (e.g., an event where employers and their staff are present so that it is easier to establish a connection between the two groups).

FEDNOR can also help its members through special projects such as:

  • Encouraging local business owners and managers to hire new immigrants (e.g., collaborating with employers and trade unions to assist them in developing promotion strategies or conducting networking activities related to hiring new immigrants).

  • Supporting new graduates by helping them find employment (e.g. establishing partnerships with employers and educational institutions to support the matching of graduates with employers).

  • Setting up business incubators that provide young immigrants with the resources they need to start their businesses (e.g., providing a rented space where boot camps, trade shows and other programs related to starting and running a business are organized).

  • Providing financial assistance (e.g., venture capital loans) to young immigrants who want to start their businesses.


FEDNOR also provides career development services for immigrants, refugees, non-status workers, Aboriginal youth and other people who are new to Thunder Bay or Canada. One of its most important roles is helping these people move through the settlement transition successfully. FEDNOR offers the following to support immigrants:

  • Proactive support by setting up appointments with community leaders and organizations.

  • Access to local services by collaborating with community services.

  • Support by establishing partnerships with other organizations (e.g., business associations, employment services, employers and trade unions).

  • Professional development opportunities by running workshops on topics such as: Finding housing in Thunder Bay, Considering moving to Thunder Bay for employment or family reasons, Getting a job in Thunder Bay, Running a small business.

  • Researching career opportunities in Thunder Bay and developing a job search plan (e.g., a self-administered online questionnaire).

  • Finding employment that matches personal preferences (e.g. a position that involves creative work, a location near family or a job in a particular field).

  • Finding employment that matches personal qualifications (e.g., searching for an entry-level position in technology).

  • Developing an action plan to improve professional network connections in Thunder Bay after moving to the city.

  • Connecting with Thunder Bay's employers (e.g., meeting face-to-face with hiring managers or participating in educational events where employers are present).

  • Communicating with other immigrants through an advice line (e.g., information services at the Thunder Bay Immigrant Resource Centre) and other sources of information (e.g., websites, Facebook and community centres).

FEDNOR assists refugees with the settlement process by:

  • Finding housing.

  • Obtaining local identification.

FEDNOR supports non-status workers and other groups of newcomers by providing the following support services:

  • Giving people the chance to develop their professional skills (e.g., developing language abilities, job search skills and support with resume preparation).

  • Helping people find employment (e.g., referring clients to employers or helping them write cover letters and CVs).

FEDNOR also works with employers to attract new talent to Thunder Bay. It does this by educating employers on how they can support newcomers with the settlement process, such as:

  • Providing training to managers, staff and supervisors (e.g., presentations about how to encourage inclusive workplaces).

  • Listing professional development opportunities on its website (e.g., workshops run through FEDNOR's employment programs or information sessions offered by the Employment Ontario program).

  • Creating employment opportunities that match skills newcomers already have (e.g., providing positions in industries having shortages of workers).

  • Providing employment services that are tailored to specific groups and/or delivering customized training for employees (e.g., facilitator-driven sessions that involve listening to participants' concerns, answering questions about relevant policies and helping them solve workplace problems).

  • Finding non-traditional employment opportunities for newcomers (e.g., offering them position positions in community-based organizations that are competing for people to work with).

  • Encouraging family members of newcomers to participate in the settlement process (e.g., ensuring that they have access to information about jobs, ESL classes and other supports)

Let me know what you think in the comments!


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