Ontario has officially broken ground on the new $1.2 billion state-of-the-art Thunder Bay Correctional Complex.

“Replacing out-of-date infrastructure that no longer meets current needs is an investment in corrections modernization and public safety,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “This new facility will provide staff with the tools, technology and healthy work environment needed to do their jobs safely and effectively while providing a high standard of care and supervision for those in custody.”

The new 345-bed, multi-purpose adult correctional facility will address capacity pressures, create additional space for programming, and expand supports for inmates with mental health issues. The new correctional complex was designed with input from frontline staff, local municipal partners, stakeholders and Indigenous leaders. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2026.

“We are very excited to be part of a project team to deliver this terrific facility that will serve a great purpose to the community of Thunder Bay,” said Wayne Ferguson, SVP and Area Manager of EllisDon Infrastructure Justice.

The complex will also feature an innovative design that includes an abundance of natural light and views of nature, along with fixtures and furnishings that will create a healthy environment for both staff and those in custody. There will also be dedicated Indigenous cultural spaces, both indoors and outdoors, such as a smudging space, sweat lodge and teaching lodge. Some of the outdoor features will include a communal gathering space, greenhouse, and secure yard.

“This announcement builds on recent correctional infrastructure improvements in the North that will help alleviate capacity pressures and ensure those in our custody have greater access to programming and supports,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “Through Infrastructure Ontario’s innovative rapid delivery approach using modular design and construction, we are delivering facilities faster.”

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This project is one of a series of corrections infrastructure builds in the North. Last month, the government completed expansion projects at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre and Kenora Jail to help address overcrowding while the government builds the new Thunder Bay Correctional Complex. The expanded space will also increase access to literacy programs, skills development, and technology programming to support safe community reintegration.

“Bird is pleased to have safely delivered the rapid build expansions at Kenora Jail and Thunder Bay Correctional Centre,” said Teri McKibbon, president and CEO of Bird Construction Inc. “The successful completion was made possible through the strong collaboration and engagement with stakeholders, including Indigenous communities, trade partners, and our clients. The projects leveraged Bird’s integrated conventional site construction and innovative modular construction solutions with Stack Modular and demonstrated the value and benefits of accelerated builds for delivery of important infrastructure to communities.”

Featured image: (Infrastructure Ontario)

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