Research Aims to Discover How to Retain Youth in Manitoba

May 30, 2023 | Chamber News, Policy, Workforce

Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Canada West Foundation partner to recommend ways to attract and retain youth.

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is collaborating with the Canada West Foundation to determine why youth leave the province and recommend ways they can be attracted and retained.

The research project, funded through the COVID-19 Long-Term Recovery Fund administered by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, is surveying how youth live and work in the province and asks what they seek when they leave. Although Manitoba has jobs in sectors ranging from biosciences to aeronautics, is ethnically diverse and has a healthy arts and cultural sector, it has historically experienced a net loss of young adults aged 15 to 35 who are leaving for other provinces, primarily Ontario and Alberta.

“Our business and industry stakeholders have been clear that a robust workforce is essential to the continued health and future growth of our economy,” said Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Jeff Wharton. “That’s why we are proud to partner with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce on this important initiative that will help us understand the experiences and perceptions of youth so employers can attract and retain the talent they need.”

The multi-pronged research project began in May with surveys of youth in Manitoba, including newcomer and Indigenous communities, as well as youth in other major Canadian centres. Researchers are also asking employers across the province about their workforce needs, how they attract and retain employees, their perceptions of the skills and interest in their industry of Manitoba’s youth, and their interactions with Manitoba’s post-secondary education system. This fall, project research will round out with a series of focus groups of young adults and a survey of post-secondary graduates.

This extensive research will allow the Canada West Foundation to develop recommendations to help businesses, stakeholders and government to work together to attract and retain youth, who are key to economic growth. While preliminary findings will be available sooner, the full report will be presented to the Manitoba government and other stakeholders in the fall of 2023 with plans to publish a report in 2024.

“It is imperative that we get to the heart of why young people are leaving Manitoba,” said Chuck Davidson, President and CEO of the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce. “This issue is personal for me as a father with kids in this demographic, but we can’t ignore the side-effects that interprovincial migration losses have on the growth and development of Manitoba’s economy. We need to better leverage the advantages that Manitoba has to offer our young people for them to stay and make a good life for themselves in Manitoba.”

“Previous research by Canada West Foundation shows that youth move for a variety of factors – it’s not just about seeking better jobs, “said Janet Lane, project lead and director of the Human Capital Centre, Canada West Foundation. “It’s only through understanding these factors that you can take steps to attract and retain young people in Manitoba.”

The Government of Manitoba asked Canada West Foundation (CFW), through a contract with Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, to find ways that government and the business ecosystem can support the attraction and retention of young talent to the province. CWF is working with Léger to survey both employers and youth. Economic Development Winnipeg, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Business Council of Manitoba, and Rural Manitoba Economic Development have partnered to distribute the survey.

Survey is now closed.

Media Contact:
Clara Buelow
Director of Communications & Marketing
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce
E: [email protected]
P: 204-955-4437

About the Canada West Foundation
For over 50 years, the Canada West Foundation has served as an independent, non-partisan public policy think tank providing practical solutions to tough public policy challenges facing the West, and Canada as a whole, at home and on the global stage.

About the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce
Since 1931, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has served as the umbrella association for Manitoba’s action-oriented chamber movement. Today, with 64 local Chambers of Commerce across the province and hundreds of direct corporate members, our network comprises almost 10,000 organizations of all sizes and across all sectors. As the “Voice of Business in Manitoba,” we advocate for sustainable economic development, entrepreneurial success, vibrant communities, and a strong future. To learn more about the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and to become a member visit

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