MB Prosperity is the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce’s (MCC) strategy to promote economic growth and resilience in the province of Manitoba. Its policy recommendations inform a forward-looking campaign to promote long-term prosperity in our province.

At the MCC we believe that in order for our province to achieve the level of prosperity needed to lift Manitoba’s economy to a level that is genuinely competitive with other Canadian jurisdictions, the provincial government must enhance its focus on economic growth and competitiveness. As we recover from a global pandemic and navigate both high inflation and unprecedented talent shortages, the economy must be the driving force behind government decision-making.

MB Prosperity presents priorities that position our province to continued sustainable economic growth and increased prosperity for the business community and all Manitobans. Our priorities are broken into four pillars.

Ahead of the 2023 Provincial Election, the MCC provided an opportunity for all four political parties to respond to our Vote Prosperity Policy Platform. Please find below the responses to we received by the deadline:

Pillar 1 | Strengthen Economic Competitiveness and Business Confidence

Inflation has increased sharply across the world over the past year. When inflation is high, consumers, businesses and investors are uncertain about what  their costs will be from one day to the next.

Pillar 2 | Attract and Retain Talent

Canada is facing critical labour market shortages and it is causing uncertainty for Canadian businesses and workers. For Manitoba businesses, employee recruitment and retention are the single greatest challenges.

Read more about Pillar 1

High inflation is often unstable and unpredictable, and that keeps the economy from performing at its best. Manitobans have felt the impact of high inflation this past year, including having to pay higher prices for groceries, fuel, and housing. Inflation is especially challenging for people on fixed incomes – and it’s bad for business.  

It has never been more important than in today’s globally competitive business environment that our provincial government creates a climate that attracts new businesses, that is conducive to new investment, and that enables existing businesses to grow and thrive.  

Our Recommendations

Enhance Tax Competitiveness

Commit to eliminating the payroll tax and continue to focus on personal tax competitiveness, which has been identified by business leaders as the greatest impediment to economic competitiveness and growth in Manitoba. These personal tax measures should include continued increases to the Basic Personal Amount and continued upward adjustments to personal income tax brackets.

Focus on Sectors with Greatest Strategic Opportunity

Invest in sectors and industries with the greatest strategic opportunity in Manitoba and develop corresponding action plans to support these investments, including in the areas of critical mineral development, the green economy, agri-food, and transportation.

Ensure Equitable Access to Capital

Promote Manitoba’s access to capital framework to support private sector growth and ensure equitable access to capital by supporting businesses owned by women and underrepresented entrepreneurs with valuable venture and growth capital through the Manitoba First Fund, making sure that Manitoba businesses can expand and thrive here at home.   

Improve Business Confidence

Commit to undertaking thorough consultations with businesses and other stakeholders prior to introducing new legislation or regulations that significantly impact labour and/or the business community. Ensure sufficient timelines around policy changes to guarantee that business can successfully adjust and ensure they are focused on outcomes and supported by cost benefit analyses.

Read more about Pillar 2

Mismatched skills between workers and employers’ needs are also leading to shortages in specific occupations. Practically, this has meant that without the requisite staff to fill regular shifts, many businesses have been obligated to reduce operating capacity or delay expansions.  

Whether it’s access to skilled labour, credential recognition, or identifying the in-demand jobs of the future, workforce remains the number one worry for business leaders. With a highly mobile workforce and labour shortages across the country, a competitive economic landscape is intrinsically linked to our ability to both retain and compete for talent. 

Our Recommendations

Better Align Post-Secondary Education with Industry Needs

Foster stronger alignment between post-secondary and employers by accelerating industry-education partnerships and by creating work-integrated learning programs, especially in rural Manitoba. Work with both sectors on a strategy to establish a new governance framework to address deficiencies in the quality and sharing of LMI, enhance interprovincial collaboration, and establish a cross-departmental committee to improve LMI coordination. 

Retain Youth Talent

Collaborate with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and various stakeholders to develop a strategy to tackle net interprovincial migration population losses within the first 12 months in office.

Leverage the Opportunity in Manitoba’s Indigenous Population

Improve labour market outcomes for Manitoba’s Indigenous population by committing to the creation of an Indigenous-led strategy and ensure that Manitoba’s Indigenous Peoples are partners in the development of provincial economic growth and labour policies. 

Attract Talent Through Immigration and Improve Retention by Reducing Barriers

Expedite and streamline foreign credential recognition and work with both the federal government and provincial regulatory authorities to remove barriers to employment for newcomers. Work with the federal government to expand immigration intakes and improve Manitoba’s immigrant retention rate by extending regional immigration programs and wrap around settlement services for both primary immigrants and their families. 

Pillar 3 | Facilitate Global Trade and Reduce Barriers

One of the greatest advantages that Manitoba possesses is the diversity of our economy. At a time when global events and a transition to a lower carbon economy are causing both challenges and opportunities, the reality is that Manitoba has what    the rest of the world needs. 

Pillar 4 | Build Strong, Resilient and Healthy Communities 

Diverse, affordable, and growing communities across    the province are one of our Manitoba advantages and compliments a robust provincial economy built on  strong, resilient, and healthy communities.

Read more about Pillar 3

Our ability to capitalize on these opportunities, reduce barriers, invest strategically, and fully engage with Indigenous communities will have a significant impact on growing Manitoba’s economy. 

Our Recommendations

Facilitate Global Trade Opportunities

Commit to developing a clear and robust trade strategy in Manitoba to build international trade opportunities for Manitoba businesses and to take full advantage of our province’s export potential. 

Remove Regulatory Burden

Work with the federal government on the mutual recognition of regulations, rules, and policies to allow for the free movement of labour, goods, and services in and out of Manitoba, and the reduction of exceptions as currently established within the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, with a view of making Manitoba more competitive and growing our provincial economy. 

Invest in Trade Enabling Infrastructure

Commit to a strategic, sustained, disciplined approach to investment in Manitoba’s core infrastructure. 

Focus on Economic Reconciliation

Develop a consistent, coordinated approach to Indigenous consultation and accommodation, which clearly identifies Indigenous rights and responsibilities, the duties of the Crown, and the role of industry as a stakeholder supporting the process. This coordinated approach must harmonize provincial, territorial and federal processes, and it must reflect relevant factors such as new and existing obligations within established case law. 

Read more about Pillar 4

Over the past decade, communities including Steinbach, Winkler, Niverville, and Winnipeg have led the way in sustained population and economic growth. There are, however, opportunities spread throughout our entire province. If we focus on the building blocks of a strong community, we can capitalize on these opportunities.  

We can achieve this by prioritizing the healthcare and financial challenges that local communities face. In addition, it will be critical for the provincial government to work with municipalities to provide fair and predictable funding so that local governments have the tools they need to attract young people and retain existing residents.  

Our Recommendations

Make Investments in Rural and Northern Healthcare

Implement all five recommendations with supporting actions from the joint Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and Doctors Manitoba October 2022 report titled Manitoba’s Physician Shortage: Physician Recruitment and Retention Recommendations from the Rural & Northern Health Summit. 

Expand and Support Manitoba’s Early Childhood Education Workforce

Ensure that Manitoba has the necessary supply of trained Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) to support the implementation of the Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement by expanding training options, improving access to ECE programs through added financial support, and valuing the work of ECEs by ensuring it is a well-compensated profession with benefits and improved working conditions.   

Prioritize Public Safety in Manitoba Municipalities

Ensure that Manitoba municipalities have the resources and predictable funding they need to create safe communities. 

Ensure Fair and Predictable Municipal Funding

Commit to addressing the existing fiscal framework between the Government of Manitoba and municipalities to meet the challenges of the future by establishing a simplified, fair, and predictable funding model for municipalities, and rebate the more than $25 million in PST paid on an annual basis by Manitoba municipalities.