EllisDon Infrastructure Justice Choosen to Design, Build, Finance and Maintain New Thunder Bay Correctional Complex


THUNDER BAY – NEWS – The process to replace the aging Thunder Bay District Jail has taken another step forward.

Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and the Ministry of the Solicitor General have selected EllisDon Infrastructure Justice as the preferred proponent to design, build, finance and maintain the Thunder Bay Correctional Complex project.

The new facility will replace the city’s existing jail and correctional centre.

The Thunder Bay Correctional Centre was opened in 1965. In recent years it has been the scene of major overcrowding. There have been major incidents at the facility, the most recent at the end of 2021.

Replacing the aging facility is long overdue.

Eleven inmates were charged following a serious 30-hour assault and extortion incident at the Thunder Bay District Jail. Thunder Bay Police filed a total of 137 charges against 11 inmates at the Thunder Bay District Jail following their investigation into a violent incident that occurred at the facility on December 30, 2021.

A mentally ill Indigenous prisoner named Adam Capay was kept in segregation at TBCC for four and a half years after stabbing another inmate. During this time, Capay was kept in isolation for 23 hours a day in a cell where the lights never went out and was not allowed to flush the toilet for long periods of time. Carpay received less than 11 hours of mental health support from jail staff over the entire period.

NetNewsLedger is aware of other instances where prisoners were seriously assaulted, and family members were not notified that their relation was injured and undergoing surgery.

The Thunder Bay Correctional Centre (TBCC) is a maximum security for men and women with a current capacity of 132. The jail is operated by the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General and contains inmates from across the region serving sentences between 60 days and two years minus a day and people awaiting trial.

A 2019 audit found that 44% of inmates at TBCC found guilty of three or more misconducts—including making threats, assaulting guards and other inmates, refusing to follow instructions—had mental health alerts on their files. However, frontline staff do not have necessary training for dealing with special needs, and staff rarely developed proper plans for those with mental illnesses.

Moving Forward

The EllisDon team was chosen after extensive evaluations following a request for proposals process which began in March 2018.

The EllisDon Infrastructure Justice team includes: EllisDon Capital Inc. (developer); EllisDon Corporation (design-builder); Zeidler Architecture Inc. and DLR Group Inc. (design team); EllisDon Facilities Services Inc. (facilities management); and EllisDon Capital Inc. (financial adviser).

IO and the ministry will work to finalize contract details with the proponent.

The project is expected to reach financial close in the coming weeks, which will mean that relevant contracts have been signed and a financing rate has been set, states an IO release. The contract cost will be announced publicly following financial close and final design and construction will begin after that.

The actual construction start and completion dates will be finalized subject to negotiation with the successful proponent.

The complex will result in the development of a 345-bed, multipurpose correctional facility. It will be designed to meet the LEED Silver certification, with a focus on energy efficiency, healthy indoor environments and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is being delivered using a DBFM model. Design, build, finance, maintain (DBFM) is a project delivery method that allows one contractor to design, build and finance a project and then to handle facilities maintenance services under a long-term agreement.

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