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City of

Winnipeg
Economic Development Strategy | 2013-2017

Shaping the Future of Tomorrow

Released September, 2012


Updated December, 2013

Message from the Mayor


The City of Winnipegs primary municipal planning document, OurWinnipeg, optimizes our communitys future
growth and prosperity. Thanks to unprecedented stakeholder engagement, it features a provocative 25-year
forecast of the ideas, hopes, and dreams of our citizens.
The City of Winnipeg appreciates that Economic Development Winnipeg has championed OurWinnipeg from
the outset, particularly with respect to the opportunity it affords to enhance our citys economic development
potential. As a result of this focus, a subset strategy of OurWinnipeg was developedcalled the City of
Winnipeg Economic Development Strategy 2013 2018via Economic Development Winnipegs Winnipeg
Partnership Committee.
The City of Winnipeg Economic Development Strategy 2013 2018 is a collaborative effort that highlights
multiple ways to enrich our city. This forward-looking documents primary purpose is to serve as a
comprehensive strategy that adds value to our long-term vision by:
Executing actions stemming from key objectives set out in OurWinnipeg
Capitalizing on our communitys existing competitive strengths while forging new economic development
opportunities intended to support our growing economy
Monitoring efforts to adjust to ever-changing regional, national, and international socioeconomic dynamics
The five-year strategy makes compelling assertions that set Winnipegs course toward sustainable, equitable,
and manageable economic growth. Our city is brimming with possibility and potential. This strategy celebrates
the progress Winnipeg continues to make and provides a definitive direction for the future.
I extend my sincere gratitude to Economic Development Winnipeg for leading the development of this
exemplary initiative. I ask all of our partners to commitwhether through endorsement, support, or resources
to the goals and objectives outlined within.
Only by working together can we fully benefit from the economic success that will surely result when these
strategies are effectively implemented.
Yours sincerely,

Sam Katz
MAYOR

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Contents
1
CONNECTEDNESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

1.1 CONNECTING TOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

1.1.1 HUMAN CAPITAL AND TALENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

1.1.2 BUSINESSES AND INNOVATIVE INDUSTRIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

1.1.3 EXTERNAL MARKETS AND PARTNERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

1.1.4 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ECOSYSTEM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

1.1.5 GLOBAL INTELLECTUAL AND POLICY DISCOURSE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2
WINNIPEG AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

2.1 IMPORTANCE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

2.2 WINNIPEGS CONTEXT FOR ECONOMIC POLICY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2.2.1 KEY DEMOGRAPHIC CONTEXT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2.2.2 KEY ECONOMIC CONTEXT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

2.3 OURWINNIPEG - DIRECTING FUTURE GROWTH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3
STRATEGIC DIRECTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

3.1 BUSINESS AND INDUSTRIAL OPPORTUNITIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

3.1.1 BUSINESS COMMUNITY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

3.1.2 PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

3.1.3 ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

3.1.4 ABORIGINAL AND GOVERNMENT PARTNERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

3.1.5 STRATEGIC COMMUNITIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

3.2 SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

3.2.1 QUALITY OF LIFE AND COMPLETE COMMUNITIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

3.2.2 LABOUR FORCE CAPABILITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

3.2.3 NEIGHBOURHOOD LEVEL INITIATIVES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

3.3 EMERGING AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

3.3.1 NORTHERN AND RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

3.3.2 INNOVATIVE INDUSTRY SECTORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

3.3.2.1 ADVANCED MATERIALS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

3.3.2.2 AGRI-FOOD AND NUTRACEUTICALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

3.3.2.3 BIOMATERIALS AND BIOPRODUCTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

3.3.2.4 INTERACTIVE AND DIGITAL MEDIA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

3.3.2.5 ALTERNATIVE AND RENEWABLE ENERGY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

3.4 INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS AND DIRECTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

3.4.1 ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

3.4.2 NEW DIRECTIONS FOR PARTNERSHIPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
4

STRATEGIC GOALS AND ACTION PLAN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Connectedness
and Economic
Development

Communities are facing new challenges in economic and strategic planning, challenges that are fundamentally
altering the tactics that communities are using as well as the goals and objectives that communities are aspiring
to. Several broad trends have the potential to profoundly affect any communitys strategic plans, regardless of
their unique economic situations. These include:

The rise of knowledge industries and the need for new skill sets within the labour force, paired with the
integration of information technologies into all aspects of the economy.

The globalization of the economy and the need for more regional/community partnerships and
collaborations to create structures and networks that more effectively compete for both talent and
investment in a more connected world.

The growing recognition that economic development comes from within (business retention and
expansion, economic gardening, workforce development) and not without.

The question of sustainability and the natural environment as an economic development concern,
especially with regards to longer term strategic planning and the emergence of new opportunities (e.g.
clean technology, renewable energy, biomaterials).

The convergence of key economic sectors as a driver of local competitive advantage, building on
the opportunities available in the areas between traditional sector-based economic and business
development.
A number of theories have emerged to describe the new structure of the global economy and the strategies
and approaches that should be taken to compete in a more global economy. In his 2005 work The World is
Flat Thomas Friedman introduced the idea that the proliferation of cheap, ubiquitous telecommunications,
paired with the liberalization of trade and lowering of economic barriers, has flattened the world to the extent
that proximity and location are of little consequence to economic opportunity. The notion is one of equalized
economic opportunity; the ability to move people, goods, and information more seamlessly than ever before, was
giving rise to a new level of competition. Globalization 3.0, as Friedman notes, has offered new opportunities to
innovative entrepreneurs (or desktop free-lancers) and start-ups to operate and compete on a more level playing
field. Where the first and second waves of globalization (driven by governments and multinational corporations
respectively) resulted in the off-shoring of low-cost and labour-intensive opportunities to emerging economies,
the third-wave of globalization is offering new opportunities to anyone or any firm with the intellectual capital to
engage in the economy. As a result, innovative individuals and firms in emerging economies like China and India
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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

are increasingly competing for investment in sectors and supply chain activities much different than the lower
cost and labour-intensive areas which were first outsourced to them. Freidman argues that geography is less of
an economic advantage than being connected in a flat world. As long as a country or firm has the capabilities to
connect with the global economy, in this case through information technology, proximity and location are of little
concern to opportunity.
Barriers still exist (e.g. technology infrastructure, trade policies) that are working against the flattening of the
world. Primarily, the flattened world disregards the fact that innovative capacity and intellectual capital, though
improving in a number of developing and emerging economies, is still below that of many developed nations.
Further, Harvard Business School Professor Pankaj Ghemawat noted in a 2007 article for Foreign Policy magazine1
that globalization has not quite emerged as the driving force it was widely considered to be at the time. Despite
popular theories that note a globally connected world, an overwhelming portion of communication and trade was
still local or regional in nature. Factors of distance, language, and geography still appeared to matter.
Ghemawat offered trade between Canada and the United States - the largest bilateral relationship of its kind
in the world as an example. Prior to the introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
in 1988, merchandise trade between Canadian provinces were estimated to be 20 times larger than trade with
similarly sized and similarly distant US states there was an inherent home bias to trade from Canadian
provinces.2 Though NAFTA reduced barriers to merchandise trade, the ratio of domestic to US trade had been
reduced to just 10 to one by the mid-1990s, with the ratio still hovering around five to one at present; the ratio for
services is still several times higher as well3. Further, Ghemawat cited the decision of Tata Consultancy Services
(TCS) - Indias largest software firm - to locate in Latin America, noting that the difference in time zones and
languages, and the need to be close to the local operations of clients, as the driving force for the firms location
decision, rather than ease of connectivity or workforce skills. Though globalization is an economic reality and
international trade flows will make up an increasing amount of global economic opportunity, domestic trade,
geographic proximity, and quality of life still play significant roles in determining economic prosperity.
One of the more popular theories contrasting a flattened world is one of a spiky world. Originally published in
2005, and continued in the 2008 work Whos Your City? Richard Florida notes that despite the flattening effects
of technology and globalization, there is still a geographic clustering of the globalized economy. Increasing
concentrations of higher level activities such as innovation, design, and finance, paired with concentrations
of innovative and creative people, are creating spikes of economic creativity in a relatively small number of
locations. This echoes the theories of Harvards Michael Porter, which note that economic activities cluster where
resources are at their thickest where infrastructure, supply chains, and institutions converge to offer competitive
advantages that can be leveraged into an economic cluster (e.g. Silicon Valley).
Businesses and countries may be getting more connected to the global economy, but they are not necessarily
connecting with businesses and markets well outside of their regional areas. In other words, if the world is
flattening, it appears only to be doing so on a more regional scale, and beyond that, in areas where deliberate
attempts are being made to facilitate connections (e.g. free trade agreements, international economic
partnerships). Taking the notion of regionalism a step further, Florida suggests that it is agglomerations of spiky
areas that will compete most successfully on the global scale. These agglomerations or megaregions connect
the spikes of innovation and economic activity, as well as the valleys between them into new region-states that
often span political boundaries and form the new organizing economic units through which areas will compete.
The most recent work by Richard Florida, The Great Reset explains the new realities in which cities and
megaregions will compete with each other for people and business investment, especially in the dramatically
restructured global economy that has emerged from the latest economic downturn. Florida suggests that after
1
2
3

Ghemawat, P. (2001, March 1). Why the World Isnt Flat. Foreign Policy.
Ibid.
Ibid.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

each historical economic downturn, there has been an economic reset that changed the way people lived and
worked, and shaped the geographic and economic distribution of cities and regions. The new normal that has
emerged as a result of the most recent economic downturn will reflect:

New attitudes towards consumption and ownership, especially for big-ticket items like houses and cars.
The transition of millions of service jobs into middle-class careers that utilize the creative and innovative
talents of those workers.

New and different types of infrastructure for moving goods, people, and ideas at a faster pace.
A very different and much denser economic landscape organized into megaregions that drive the
development of new industries, jobs, and quality of life.
One of the key elements of success within these megaregions under the new normal is the ability to move
people and goods the tangible bits of the real world at a similar rate with the flow of electronic information
through the virtual world, again giving importance to proximity, location, and geography. Alternative modes of
transportation and traditional infrastructure, from intra-regional high-speed rail to regional heavy or light rail are
primarily seen as the ways to connect and drive development within the larger region. Mixed-use intensification
and community building efforts support that development and create the economic spikes that encourage the
highest levels of innovation and attract the most skilled new residents.
Overall, the notion is that areas that are more efficiently connected to the major city-centres will have the
highest concentrations of jobs, people, innovation, and commercial activity will be best positioned for economic
prosperity as the new economy progresses. This includes physical connections like infrastructure, but also
economic connections like trade. If more regional economic units are to be the primary geographies of both
international competitiveness and economic development opportunity, physical and virtual connectivity within the
region needs to be the primary pursuit.
With that said, conflicting visions have emerged to direct how best to compete in a globally-oriented world
where the unit of competitiveness is changing from the individual community or firm, to larger agglomerations
of communities (megaregions) or companies (supply or value chains). In a 2008 work, Victor and William Fung
(of Li & Fung Limited) and Jerry Wind released Competing in a Flat World, in order to provide a perspective on
succeeding in a world where opportunities for global collaboration are increasingly available. Based in Hong
Kong, Li & Fung produces consumer goods for the worlds top brands and retailers, totaling approximately $20
billion per year; all without owning a single factory. Instead Li & Fung operates on the principles of network
orchestration, managing a network of companies from product design, raw material sourcing, and production
management to quality control, logistics, and shipping. Instead of creating the products Li & Fung orchestrates
a network (or supply chain) of companies to create and distribute products, based on the specific needs of
customers they serve.
The authors suggest that in a global world, success matters less about what a company can do itself, but rather
the capabilities it can connect to, or the networks and supply chains it can create and manage. In this sense,
it is less about specific companies competing against one another, and more about networks competing
with other networks. The networks that can derive the most efficiency are best positioned in this type of
competitive environment. In this sense, the emerging role of the economic development professional is that of a
competence aggregator, identifying sources of competitiveness in the local economy, and connecting those to
external partners and opportunities. Competence aggregation is a major focus in the work of Michael Malone, a
Silicon Valley-based tech sector analyst, and emerges from his book The Future Arrived Yesterday.
While speaking largely to opportunities for businesses focused on global trade and global supply chains, the
findings of this work have implications for cities and nations as well. The capabilities that the city, region, or
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country can connect to matter just as much as the capabilities that a city, region, or country has. While it is critical
that communities and regions define a specialization or position in the supply chain, the ability to connect to that
supply chain, or allow businesses in the community to participate in and connect to these larger networks, is of
critical importance.
The aerotropolis concept builds on the notion of connecting and creating more global networks. Developed
by John Kasarda, the aerotropolis responds to the opportunities of a more globally-oriented economy with an
increased emphasis on global connectivity namely through the airport. Kasarda argues that the ubiquity of
air travel and freight has driven globalization (in contrast to Freidmans suggestion that information technology
played the strongest role). When paired with 24-hour workdays, overnight shipping, and global business networks
and supply chains, it is critical that a city forge stronger connections with its major global infrastructure to access
new areas of global opportunity. From that perspective, air travel and goods movement offers the strongest
potential to drive economic development opportunity; to move the tangible bits of the real world (people and
goods) at speeds approaching the movement of information and capital that flows freely in a global economy.
The aerotropolis mandates agility, efficiency, speed, and connectivity above all else. As such, development within
the concept is geared to the needs and requirements of the local business community and the travel and goods
movement industry. A number of communities exemplify this type of development Louisville and Memphis
represent two larger-scale examples, with business parks and transportation infrastructure evolving around their
airports to specifically support the activities of UPS and FedEx respectively.
However, the aerotropolis concept offers opportunity for more than just a sprawling sea of logistics companies
and distribution centres. It has the potential to anchor and attract more technology and knowledge intensive
areas of the economy as well. Areas like the Dulles Greenway (i.e. the privately-owned toll road between Dulles
International Airport and Leesburg, Virginia) have attracted regional and head-office concentrations beyond the
city centre, in sectors like research and development, life sciences, financial services, or professional and scientific
services. Such corridor concepts have been embraced by officials with the Winnipeg Airports Authority, and
are the central focus of the Government of Canadas recently released National Policy Framework for Strategic
Gateways and Trade Corridors. The need to access a more global client base plays a key role in this growing
trend. Residential, hospitality/convention, and retail commercial development make up the aerotropolis vision
as well, driving it towards the definition of a complete community albeit one with an airport making up its city
centre in the place of a traditional central business district.
Cities in more developed economies face a challenge in implementing the idea. Greg Lindsey argues in
Aerotropolis: The Way Well Live Next that most North American airports (and perhaps airports throughout
the western world) were constructed before their potential as drivers for economic development were fully
understood or envisioned. Airports like Los Angeles International and London Heathrow Airport are now
restricted by surrounding land uses and constrained from growing any further. Retrofitting city form to implement
the aerotropolis concept is a costly venture. A number of countries through Asia and Africa have embraced the
concept as a means of constructing cities from the ground up, with the intention of competing more freely in a
flattened world. Cities like New Songdo in Korea and Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates are springing up
from the ground with the sole purpose of connecting to the global economy, while cities like Dubai continue
to implement pieces of the concept (e.g. free trade zones, dedicated expressways). Unlike the utopian master
planned cities of the past these cities are intended to be economic engines and tools for competing in a global
economy; their design reflects this utility in many ways.
Though reliant on the continued expansion of globalization and the uninterrupted expansion of air travel
and air freight, the aerotropolis concept presents interesting prospects for communities in a changing global
economy. If a city or region is efficiently connected to more global networks through the air, it effectively
expands its economic region or supply chain opportunities to all corners of the globe. A number of rapidly
growing economies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America seem to have embraced the idea despite the uncertainties
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

surrounding it. When considering that sources of competition and collaboration are increasingly global, it
suggests that communities should undertake projects to support their physical connections to the rest of the
globe. The aerotropolis mandates the creation of infrastructure and city form that services this need, in the most
efficient and effective way. While communities may not be able to start this from scratch, the aerotropolis model
provides an example of the extent to which transportation networks and connections can influence city form,
economic development, and the broader prospects of the community.
The central theme running through the literature is connectedness, as a means of generating economic
development. Whether international or domestic, physical or virtual, the connections a community creates,
encourages, and maintains can play a key role in economic development opportunity. As such, communities must
make concerted efforts on each of these fronts. However, the question remains if connectedness is critical in
contemporary economic development, what should communities and regions connect to?

1.1

CONNECTING TOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Even with countering perceptions on the movement of capital and people in the global economy, there is
no question that the prospects of countries around the globe are increasingly interrelated. The most recent
recession, and the ongoing effects resonating across the globe (e.g. debt, depressed consumer demand, volatile
demand for resources) continue to illustrate that whether or not a community is engaged in the global economy,
larger trends can have significant and lasting effects on economic development prospects. As such, communities
and regions need to take stock of their position within the global economy and undertake deliberate actions
and tactics that can both allow the region to fully leverage the opportunities associated with global connectivity
and insulate and prepare the region to respond to challenges within the new normal of economic conditions.
As a result, there are a number of connections which should be made to encourage economic development
opportunity.

1.1.1

HUMAN CAPITAL AND TALENT

Factors like globalization and the rise of service-based employment have placed a new emphasis on human
capital, particularly in the developed world. Business location decisions are in part related to the business
case factors of a location costs, taxation, availability of resources, or proximity to raw materials. Indeed,
these locational factors led to the emergence of regions across North America focused on goods production,
particularly in the Great Lakes region of the US and Canada. Past economic development theories noted that
once employers were attracted to a location, employees and population growth would follow. However, with
the outsourcing of labour-intensive and lower-skill production activities to lower cost destinations (as the world
flattened) and the emergence of more knowledge-based and professional services, those theories have been
reversed. With knowledge and talent now one of the primary resources used in the production of goods and
services, businesses are increasingly looking to destinations which offer the best match of professional and
technical skills to drive their competitiveness. In the developing world, as previous lower-cost destinations
continue to move up the industrial value chain, the contrary is increasingly true as well business follows the
talent it needs.
As a result, the competition for talent is increasingly played out on a global scale. Aging population and
slower natural growth across parts of North America and Europe exacerbate the problem, as businesses and
communities search for new ways to replenish and grow their labour pools. Immigration represents a significant
means of accessing the necessary human capital to excel. As such, nations and communities are developing
aggressive and innovative campaigns to connect with the labour they require in an effort to attract them at the
national and community level. With that said, it is important that communities and regions not lose sight of more

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

internal competitors metropolitan areas and agglomerations within the same jurisdiction which can compete
for the same talent. A number of communities in Canada, such as the city of Calgary, have developed specific
programs focused on attracting skilled workers from elsewhere in Canada and Alberta, in order to continue the
development of more knowledge-based industries in the city.
Whether competition is global or domestic, the most successful regions with regards to talent attraction (and
subsequently retention) are those that can offer a diverse and vibrant quality of life. They offer cultural heritage
resources and amenities that appeal to a broad range of demographic groups, such as a vibrant nightlife and
entertainment sector, but also arts and cultural industries that respond to more intellectual pursuits. They respect
natural and built heritage features of the environment as a feature of recreational opportunities and long-term
environmental and economic sustainability. They provide health care, social, and educational services that are
accessible to everyone in the community. They provide the basic infrastructure (e.g. transit and transportation,
affordable/diverse housing stock) to protect public health, while servicing the needs of the entire population.
The most successful communities provide high quality of life to attract and retain new residents, but they
also fully leverage and support the population they are presently home to. Though most experts expect that
immigration will be needed to fully support economic development opportunities in Canada over the mediumterm, most communities have a largely untapped resource represented by their existing working age population
unemployed or underemployed labour force and those that lack the skill or social/economic support to engage
in the active labour pool. The problems are particularly acute in Canada for new immigrants and Aboriginals; both
of which typically experience higher unemployment rates and lower participation rates than the total population.
However, the discussion of labour force engagement can extend further to those with disabilities, youth, or the
elderly population, each of which can experience similar marginalization within the labour force. Thus it is critical
that while a community look outside of its borders to support the growth of the labour pool, it must also look
within its borders to provide greater opportunity for social and economic prosperity in its own population.
This highlights the need for connections to human capital. Communities must look to connect with the skilled
international and domestic labour they require to encourage economic development, both the attraction of
new industries and the expansion of existing industries. In connecting with potential new migrants, communities
gain a better understanding of the quality of life features that those individuals value in their community. The
need also extends into the local population and available human capital. Communities must forge connections
to understand the factors that will keep skilled workers in the community. They must also gain a better
understanding of the measures and tactics they can take to support the development of the local workforce,
particularly for those demographic groups that are underrepresented.

1.1.2

BUSINESSES AND INNOVATIVE INDUSTRIES

The existing businesses in a community can be a significant source of economic development opportunity,
through the generation of new employment, attraction of new investment, and development of opportunities in
new areas of convergence between existing sectors and supply chains. The majority of new employment growth
in North America is generated by business expansion (Figure 1). In other words, the majority of new employment
growth in a community is generally driven by the businesses within the community rather than investments from
outside of the community or through new business ventures. As such, the existing business community in a
region represents a key stakeholder and driver of economic development potential, particularly as it relates to the
creation of high-value employment opportunities.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

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Figure 1: Sources of Employment Growth, North America


9%

15%

76%

Investment Attraction

Existing Business Expansion

New Entrepreneurs

Source: Blane Canada, 2009

The existing business community also offers opportunity to attract new investments, and expand trade with
new markets. The globalization of the economy has led to the emergence of large and integrated multinational
firms, with activities dispersed across the globe. Connections to head office or branch operations located in a
community can act as a driver for the attraction of new foreign investment. For example, the expansion/addition
of research and development operations to sales/service operations might be a likely corporate expansion
given its existing footprint in the community, should that community offer the appropriate labour force and
infrastructure to support that investment. By creating and maintaining connections and relationships with these
companies, communities may benefit from new activity. They may also be able to generate greater profile for
the community in international markets, identifying strengths of the community to larger players that may not
otherwise be aware of its assets.
Similar to the efforts of network orchestrators like Li & Fung, suppliers and businesses from across the globe can
be mobilized into ad-hoc supply chains and networks focused on delivering innovative products and services.
As such, promoting the connection of the local and regional business community to a more global network of
companies with the appropriate enabling infrastructure (e.g. high bandwidth broadband, connected international
ports, and reliable transportation infrastructure), as suppliers or customers, should be a priority for communities.
Communities can benefit from connections with smaller companies as well; particularly agile and entrepreneurial
companies that import and export products and services. In many cases, the immigrant population of a
community is a strong source of these outwardly focused and successful companies. Though the company may
be based in the specific jurisdiction, it may have strong connections to foreign markets based on supplier or
customer relationships, or personal relationships that can be leveraged to create new opportunities in those
foreign markets. As well, these business leaders can function as informal ambassadors for the community in their
activity with foreign markets.
The existing business community in a region can provide inroads into innovative new areas of activity, at the
convergence of supply chains and primary areas of activity. Most communities will have several business sectors
where there is evidence of a concentration of business activities and opportunities. These are often referred
to as areas of local competitive advantage and form the basis of strategic targeting exercises in economic
development activity. However, as noted above, the challenge lies in a communitys ability to differentiate itself
from other communities with similarly identified business sectors. What a communitys value proposition should
seek to do is to differentiate the community by identifying aspects or facets of its clusters that are unique or even
12

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

rare. The solution to this challenge lies in understanding the interactions between a communitys sector-based
clusters. Many communities have a strong advanced manufacturing sector. Many have a strong agricultural sector.
However, far fewer have strength in both. From this perspective, each time an additional cluster is identified, the
communitys value proposition to a certain segment of potential investors in strengthened.
This approach to the value proposition allows communities to identify those specific areas of strength that are
complimentary to each other, and thus identify the point or points at which the community has a regional, national
or global competitive advantage. These advantages may then form a key part of the larger value proposition that
may be used to lure or attract external investment to the community, or to anchor increased internal investment.
At a practical level, this approach suggests that a community must maintain strong connections with its business
community to identify opportunities for convergence, but also encourage the connectivity among the business
community that will enable firms in different sectors to collaborate and engage in new and innovative areas of the
economy.
From an employment generation and investment attraction perspective, connections to the local business
community can play a significant role in economic development prospects. As such, communities must implement
and develop sophisticated tools to build relationships with their local business community, such as business
retention and expansion tools or corporate visitations. In doing so, a community can forge stronger connections,
proactively gather information about barriers preventing further business expansion or investment, proactively
identify opportunities to support or encourage investment and industry convergence, facilitate the convergence
of supply chains focused in innovative sectors, and engage with and identify high-value small businesses and
entrepreneurs that can assist with driving economic development in a community. Connectivity among the
business community is also critical, as a means of creating new supply chain relationships and building economic
development prospects within the areas of convergence between strong economic sectors.

1.1.3

EXTERNAL MARKETS AND PARTNERS

External markets and partners can play a significant role in the economic development of a community, whether
domestic or international. Domestic markets and partners offer benefits in the form of more regional value
propositions (e.g. neighbouring communities with complementary strengths) or regional value chains and
supplier/customer relationships. Those same benefits though, provided the infrastructure exists to connect the
markets, can be accrued from international markets and partners as well.
Much of the globalization of the economy has been through deliberate attempts to facilitate global collaboration,
such as national-level policies to encourage production or liberalized trade regulations between different
jurisdictions. As a result, nations and communities are increasingly looking to more deliberately connect with
markets and jurisdictions from across the globe to create more opportunities for local economic development.
This can include increased levels of trade or the exchange of best practices, especially in areas that are mutually
beneficial to both communities. Connections based on mutual sectors of interest (e.g. clean technology,
renewable energy, advanced manufacturing) could encourage supply chain relationships, technology transfer
arrangements, investments, or collaboration/joint ventures. Communities may also seek out partnerships that
offer opportunities to exchange mutually beneficial information on specific topics, such as support for small
business and entrepreneurship.
On a more regional scale, networked agglomerations of spiky centres are considered a new geographic unit
of economic competitiveness. In many cases, these networks can span political boundaries or encompass
communities and areas that were previously disconnected and may have even perceived one another as
competitors. These spiky centres have the density of talent and infrastructure that allows individuals and
companies to overcome the bumps and mountains which dot a flattened world (e.g. regulations) and pose
ongoing challenges to a truly connected global economy. The agglomeration of these centres into economic
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

13

regions or megaregions requires new and facilitative approaches to better leverage opportunities in a globalized
economy. This includes: land use policies that promote high density and diverse urban areas that promote
connectivity within the city centre, transportation and communications infrastructure that allow for the movement
of people, goods, and ideas throughout the economic region, and cooperation and collaboration between
the diverse public, private, and not-for-profit organizations and agencies focused on community and economic
development. While this is primarily centred on more urban areas, it also applies to resource-intensive areas
and their major service centres, or the valleys between the spikes (e.g. Edmonton/Capital Region and Fort
McMurray/Wood Buffalo in oil and gas, or Winnipeg/Capital Region and Northwestern Ontario in mining and
resource extraction).
Friedman suggests that virtual connections play a key role in more global collaboration and opportunity. As a
result, virtual connections and information technology play a key role in the connectedness of a community,
particularly its ability to support economic development opportunities for local entrepreneurs and business in
the global economy. But as Florida, Porter, and Ghemawat note, proximity still matters, and physical distance
has a relationship with economic opportunity. As such, communities need to make their physical connectedness
passenger and freight through air, land, and sea a priority to fully leverage economic opportunity and the
opportunity to connect with new markets and partners.

1.1.4

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ECOSYSTEM

Economic development has shifted its focus over the last several decades. In North America, much of the activity
that once focused solely on investment attraction and the pursuit of the next smokestack, has shifted to a more
holistic view of economic development that focuses on talent attraction and retention, workforce development,
environmental and fiscal sustainability, community revitalization, small business and entrepreneurial support, and
innovation. Where economic development agencies were largely able to work in separate silos, the more holistic
view of economic development requires economic development leaders in the community to maintain closer
connections with a broader range of organizations. The lead economic development agency in the community
must create an ecosystem of economic development support organizations that have mandates to engage in
specific areas of economic development planning and service delivery given the broader range of issues and
challenges that must be faced to support economic development. This includes large institutions (e.g. colleges
and universities, other levels of government), but also the small grass-roots organizations that have found ways
to mobilize stakeholders and create more unified influence on public discourse through new social media and
communications tools.
It is less a question of scale and more a question of connectedness. A community may have a significant
number of institutions and organizations working on economic development, with sophisticated and wellresourced plans being implemented in all areas of economic development interest. However, if these efforts are
undertaken in disconnected silos, the community is missing the opportunity to fully leverage the strengths of
these organizations based on their density pooling of resources or leveraging of expertise in specific areas, for
example. A critical component though, is to present a unified vision for the community that the broad range of
organizations in the community agree on, in which stakeholders can see a role and benefits for their organization.
The development of such a plan, and the subsequent implementation of the plan, requires ongoing connection
of the range of stakeholders and organizations that combine to make up the ecosystem. It is critical that the
ecosystem have a strong leader to maintain that connectedness.

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

1.1.5

GLOBAL INTELLECTUAL AND POLICY DISCOURSE

The great global cities position themselves as critical components of the global economic, political, cultural, and
social landscape. When thinking about centres of finance, culture, and politics, cities like New York, Hong Kong,
Paris, London, Washington, and Beijing emerge with first-name familiarity across the globe. While these cities
compete on a different scale than most of the other major urban areas across the globe, there are lessons to
be applied in the importance of, and opportunity around, engaging more fully in intellectual and policy-based
discussions of global importance, such as environmental sustainability, human rights, or financial stability.
Connectedness with the global discourse in these broader issues of importance provides a community with
stronger profile on a broader scale. The worlds second- and third-tier urban areas are unable to compete with the
more global cities, but the ability to position the community within these broader discussions offers the potential
to more fully differentiate a community from those it does compete with. Further, it provides the city with the
opportunity to derive benefits from these broader activities, such as research investment and innovation, tourist
visitation, or business development opportunities. In positioning itself and creating greater global connections, it
is critical that the community build on its existing strengths in order to create a profile that it can actually deliver
on and derive benefits from. This requires a strong connection between the communitys assets in this regard
(e.g. international/national cultural heritage amenities, national/international research and academic institutes, or
international/national government and non-governmental agencies).

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

15

16

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Winnipeg and
Economic
Development

2.1

IMPORTANCE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Business development and employment growth does not necessarily offer the same number or quality of
benefits in terms of community prosperity, high-quality employment, productivity, or social equity. Economic
development theory categorizes employment as either basic or non-basic, based on its relationship with the
local economy. Basic employment primarily includes uses servicing non-local and/or non-retail markets. This type
of development generally falls within sectors from manufacturing and transportation to financial services and
information technology. Non-basic employment is largely population-related, or focused on servicing the needs
of the local population. In other words, it largely emerges as a result of the continued growth of the population
in an area, rather than as a result of critical business case advantages or local workforce capabilities. Sectors that
are predominantly non-basic include retail, personal services, and institutional uses (e.g. health care, education, or
public administration).
Export-oriented employment is the target of most communities. Maintaining an adequate base of exportoriented employment provides high quality employment opportunities to local residents, as well as economic
multiplier or spin-off effects throughout the rest of the economy, leading to the potential for greater re-investment
of wealth generated outside of the community into the development of the local and regional economy.
Land use policy and economic development activities are important because they can direct and encourage
export-oriented employment growth. Thus from an economic development perspective, maintaining an
adequate base of infill and greenfield spaces that can accommodate export-oriented investment is fundamental
to providing opportunities for the local development of export-oriented businesses, which have the highest
potential impacts on the rest of the economy. However, targeting these high-value employment uses requires
careful oversight from a growth management and economic development strategic planning perspective.
A municipality should have the mechanisms to regulate development in an orderly fashion, but also to maintain
the marketability and competitiveness of its developable lands and spaces for a full range of developments that
produce positive economic, social, and environmental impacts.
Another primary challenge for municipalities is related to the lack of access to tax revenues that respond to
growth and the pressures to minimize the tax burden on local businesses and residents to finance required
infrastructure. Local governments and municipalities primarily collect revenues from real and personal property
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

17

taxes. While these revenues respond to economic growth, the effects are more indirect based on investment in
property instead of increased production or sales.
What underlies this finding for municipalities is the importance of maximizing the sources of revenue available. If
property taxes are the primary source of revenues for the municipality, then the types of development that yield
the most positive fiscal benefits for a municipality should be the target for development. Further, if a municipality
does not have the mechanisms in place to offset growth-related infrastructure with levies and charges on
development, the pressure on property taxes, and thus the citizens of the community becomes greater.
Most studies concerned with this subject have found there are certain types of development that generally
pose a positive fiscal impact on municipalities and school districts, such as research parks, general office parks,
industrial development and some types of residential development (e.g. high-rise garden apartments, agerestricted housing, and 1-2 bedroom condominiums)4. Others, such as retail, 1-2 bedroom townhouses, and 3-4
bedroom executive homes have shown a negative fiscal impact on municipalities, but a positive impact on school
systems in studies over the longer term5. A number of smaller and inexpensive residential uses (e.g. 3-4 bedroom
townhouses) have generally been shown to create negative fiscal impacts for municipalities and school systems.
A number of completed projects illustrate the differences in fiscal impact across land use categories:

A model utilizing the growth projections of Regional Official Plan Amendment No. 38 in Halton Region,
Ontario, suggested industrial development was forecasted to have an annual net positive fiscal impact
of $691 per 1,000 sq. ft. of development. Commercial and institutional developments were forecasted to
have negative net annual impacts per 1,000 sq. ft. of development of $536 and $2,068 respectively, while
single-detached residential units were forecasted to have a negative net annual impact of $1,0446.

A fiscal impact analysis of new development in Dublin, Ohio concluded that positive net annual impacts
(per 1,000 sq. ft.) were generated by office development ($2,666), industrial development ($452), and
R&D-related developments ($2,940), while retail developments generated an annual net fiscal deficit
of $1,869 per 1,000 sq. ft. All types of examined residential development generated net annual deficits
between $803 (multi-family rental) and $1,713 (single family-detached) per unit7.

A model developed for Milwaukee, Wisconsin to assess the annual fiscal impact of the development/
redevelopment of a specific industrial site found that industrial redevelopment would have a positive
annual impact of $1,200 while new industrial and new office development would have positive net annual
impacts of $21,600 and $26,600 respectively. Contrary to many other studies, single-family residential and
retail developments provided positive net fiscal benefits as well ($40,400 and $9,900 respectively), but
the study concluded that the economic spin-offs from wage, employment, and production in industrial
sectors produced the need for careful and diligent consideration of conversion to non-employment uses8.

A model developed for the Airport Employment Growth District in Hamilton, Ontario suggested that
industrial, commercial, and institutional development will produce annual operating surpluses of $3,011,
$2,393, and $853 respectively. At full build-out in 2031 (an expansion of a proposed 24,360 employees),
non-residential development is expected to have produced a total positive impact of $66 million on the
citys property taxes9.
The data is presented to emphasize an important concept. Not all types of urban growth benefit a community
4
Burchell, R.W. and Listokin, D. (1992). Fiscal Impact Procedures State of the Art: The Subset Questions of Non-residential and Open
Space Costs.
5
Ibid.
6
Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. (2011). Investment Readiness and Competitiveness Study.
7
TischlerBise. (2007). Cost of Land uses Fiscal Impact Analysis.
8
S.B. Friedman & Company. (2004). Milwaukees Industrial Land Base: An Analysis of Demand and a Strategy for Future Development.
9
D
 illon Consulting and Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. (2010). City of Hamilton Airport Employment Growth District Phase 2.
Financial/Economic Impact Analysis and Marketing Strategy.
18

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

in the same fashion. Even though each land use may provide an important social, environmental, or cultural
function to the community, it may also weigh heavily on the financial and social resources of the community to
maintain its function. Generally speaking, industrial development and growth pays for itself in a way that some
types of commercial, residential, and institutional development is unable to. The economic benefits and fiscal
contributions to the community from industrial development generally out-weigh the costs associated with
ongoing services to the development. For targeted types of higher-density commercial office, research, and
residential development, this is also the case. In addition to paying for the costs of servicing and development,
the net revenues generated from these types of development go toward supporting other types of development,
new infrastructure, and expanded services in the community that have a direct contribution to quality of life.
Economic development plays a key role in generating these benefits. Targeted economic development strategic
planning sets in place the actions and tactics that the community can undertake to pursue the types of employment
and development that offer the strongest economic, social, and environmental impacts for the community. This
is especially true for sectors where a community is only just emerging, where support for the development of
employment opportunities and investment requires intervention from public agencies to encourage that development,
such as with the CentrePort Canada business park and its transformation into a major multi-modal logistics hub. The
key aspect is connectivity. In many cases, Municipal Development Plans (MDP) like OurWinnipeg contain the social,
economic, and environmental goals for a municipality over the long-term. The economic development players in the
community must then devise the strategies and tactics to attract, retain, and encourage investment and development
that offers the highest form of benefits in those three areas, for local and regional residents, for the local and regional
business community, and for local and regional government.

2.2

WINNIPEGS CONTEXT FOR ECONOMIC POLICY

2.2.1

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC CONTEXT

OurWinnipeg highlighted a number of demographic and economic trends that have strong influence over the growth of the
city over the next 20 years. With regards to the citys population in 2006, the MDP highlights the following factors:

10.8% speak French.


4.5% speak Tagalog.
94.9% actively participate in the labour force.
20.4% walk or take transit to work.
11.2% are of Aboriginal ancestry.
16.3% are a visible minority.
18.7% immigrated from another country.
65.1% are homeowners.
An average age of 38.7 years.
OurWinnipeg sets the context for the MDP policies with a population that has grown considerably in the past and
is forecasted to continue growing, while the cultural diversity of the population is expected to continue growing.
The following factors highlight these trends further. From 1996 to 2011, the population of the Winnipeg CMA
grew by 11.5% or just over 78,600 people, while the population is projected to continue growing by between
1.1 and 1.3% per year to 2016. By 2016 the population is projected to reach approximately 812,000 across the

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

19

CMA, with the population reaching 952,000 by 2031. Over the next 20 years, the Winnipeg metropolitan area is
expected to accommodate an additional 189,400 people.
Figure 2: Actual and Projected Population Growth, Winnipeg CMA
850,000

800,000

750,000

700,000

650,000

19
96
19
97
19
98
19
99
20
00
20
01
20
02
20
03
20
04
20
05
20
06
20
07
20
08
20
09
20
10
20
11
20
12
20 f
13
20 f
14
20 f
15
20 f
16
f

600,000

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 051-0046, 2012, and Conference Board of Canada, 2012

Much of this growth is expected to be driven by migration, as new residents seek to settle in the Winnipeg
area based on the relatively stable economic conditions. Throughout the 1990s, the city and metropolitan
area experienced a net loss of migrants, as immigration slowed and the number of Winnipeggers leaving the
metropolitan area outnumbered the population coming into the city. Since that time, net migration for the
Winnipeg CMA has risen primarily on the basis on new international residents to the city and surrounding
region (Figure 3). From 2000 to 2009, net migration rose from 799 to 8,838 across the metropolitan area, with
international net migration growing from 2,799 in 2000 to 10,493 by the end of 2009. The Conference Board of
Canada expects net migration to continue growing over the short term (after a recovery from 2009 to 2010), and
to start leveling off in the next 10 years to stabilize at approximately 9,500 net migrants per year to 2031. Over
the long term, net migration is expected to continue being driven by international migrants, with the level of
interprovincial migration slowing further as the provincial economy continues to gain momentum (Figure 4).
Figure 3: Components of Net Migration, Actual, Winnipeg CMA
12,000
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
0
-2,000
-4,000
-6,000
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Intraprovincial

Interprovincial

International

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 111-0029, 2012


20

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Figure 4: Components of Net Migration, Forecast, Winnipeg CMA

Source: City of Winnipeg, Conference Board of Canada, 2007

The continuing influx of new immigrants to the city and surrounding areas offers a number of opportunities for
Winnipeg, not the least of which to counter the trends of an aging workforce. Statistics Canada estimates that
all net labour force growth for the country will be as early as 2011, which underlies its importance as a critical
factor for Canadian cities to focus on in order to augment the loss of labour force due to aging. The communities
that can successfully attract and retain skilled immigrants are inherently better positioned to replace their aging
workers and augment slower rates of population growth. As highlighted previously though, increasing levels of
immigration to a community offer opportunities to connect with new markets through its new communities, and
are a clear signal of the communitys vibrancy both its attractiveness to newcomers and perhaps its openness
to a wide range of cultural lifestyles and demands. Between 1996/1997 and 2010/2011, the number of new
immigrants to the city and surrounding areas grew from 3,300 to more than 13,000. Despite a slowing of growth
from the rapid rates in the early part of the last decade over the global recession in 2008 and 2009, the last several
years have shown strong growth rates for new immigrant population in the CMA. The area continues to draw
immigrants from rapidly growing international jurisdictions like the Philippines, India, and China, suggesting
population-based connections back to these growing areas.
Figure 5: Immigrant Growth, Winnipeg CMA
14,000
12,000
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
0

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 051-0047, 2012

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

21

The Aboriginal population in Winnipeg, already one of the most concentrated of the major metropolitan areas
in Canada, continues to grow as well. The population in Winnipeg identifying as Aboriginal grew by more than
20,000 people between 1996 and 2006; faster than the growth rates for the non-Aboriginal population during
the same time period. In terms of demographic composition, the Aboriginal population in Winnipeg is also
comparatively younger than the non-Aboriginal population, with a median age of 26 years old for the Aboriginal
population and 40 years old for the non-Aboriginal population. Given that the Aboriginal population is rapidly
growing and is comparatively younger, it is essential that the city look to provide equal opportunities in terms of
education and employment to the population; as a means of improving social equity, accessing the creativity of
the youthful and diverse population, and augmenting the loss of labour force due to aging.
Canada`s population is aging, and Winnipeg is not an exception. There is a larger proportion of Winnipeggers
over the age of 65 than ever before, with that proportion projected to continue growing as the baby boomer
generation continues to age (Figure 6). By 2031, the population aged 65 years and older is projected to reach
17.6%, where it presently sits at 13.6% for now. That accounts for an estimated population of over 150,000
people over the age of 65 by 2031. As a result, the city must make communities and neighbourhoods accessible
to people of all ages, as well as adapt program delivery and workforce development efforts to respond to the
challenges and opportunities posed by this major demographic shift.
Figure 6: Percentage of Population aged 65 and older, Winnipeg CMA

Source: City of Winnipeg, Conference Board of Canada, 2007

While the city and surrounding area continues to show positive signs of growth, there are themes that emerge
as a result of the demographic context. Like the rest of Canada, Winnipeg faces an impending challenge with
regards to the age and availability of its workforce, as the communitys population continues towards retirement
age. Further, the citys growing immigrant and Aboriginal population poses challenges with regards to accessing
skills, and providing the supporting infrastructure that allows the fastest growing segments of the metropolitan
areas population to access economic and social opportunity. In many ways, the first challenge can be answered
by the second; by providing a high quality of life that first attracts a diverse population, and second provides
that population with the opportunities to create their own success and prosperity. In doing so, that community
can begin to address the challenges posed by its aging workforce, and subsequent loss of human capital critical
to attracting and retaining investment. Though true of the Aboriginal and immigrant population given their
prominence in the local economy, those opportunities should extend to the entire population of the city and the
surrounding area. A central theme to the strategy should be the development of equity in the new and existing
population of the city and the surrounding area as a means of driving prosperity and productivity in the local
economy.

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

The growing population also poses challenges and opportunities. As noted previously, densely populated spiky
areas are emerging as drivers of the local economy. In order to ensure that Winnipeg benefits from the projected
influx of new population to the city a more careful approach is needed to ensure that the community has the
systems in place to benefit from the growth, such as the inter- and intra-city transportation and transit links to
move goods and people and the urban structure to achieve environmental, fiscal, and social goals like utilization
of existing infrastructure (including infill development) and high quality of place.

2.2.2

KEY ECONOMIC CONTEXT

Winnipegs economy has long been characterized as one of the more stable economies in Canada. Routinely
the city and surrounding areas exhibit relatively stable performance in a number of economic indicators,
often exceeding those of the rest of Canada. In many ways, the strength of Winnipegs economy is a result of
its diversity. The city has notable strengths in 10 broad sectors, with key findings and context outlined in the
following chart.

SECTOR

KEY FINDINGS AND CONTEXT

The citys largest industrial sector, at 11% of total GDP and 10% of total employment
Particular sector-based concentrations in transportation equipment (especially
ground and aerospace), food processing, machinery, furniture, printing, and
fabricated metals
Advanced
Manufacturing

Presence of global or national headquarter operations of major multinationals like


Cargill Limited, New Flyer Inc., Ridley Inc., Winpak Limited, and Boeing Canada.

Employment concentrations in occupations related to computer science,


engineering, and machine operation.

The citys research and development assets point to emerging areas of


opportunities in the sector such as value-added food and agricultural processing,
and advanced materials (e.g. composites).

Strong growth in employment, largely in the rapidly expanding areas of support


for air transportation like aircraft testing, aircraft inspection, and airport operations,
paired with strong growth in revenue from the citys manufacturers and strong
growth in research and production investment from larger companies.

Aerospace

Strong profile of larger firms in the sector, which account for 10% of Canadas
aerospace parts and products companies with 500 or more employees.

Unique resources to support aerospace sector development, including the


Winnipeg Aircraft Engine Research and Technology Development Centre, the
Composites Innovation Centre, and the Canadian Composites Manufacturing
Research and Development consortium, paired with strong academic and research
infrastructure at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

23

Annual revenue generation in excess of $100 million per year from the citys
manufacturers, with strong representation in the agri-food sector.

Niche value propositions more specifically related to value-added pork products


Agribusiness

and processing, including an industry-led centre of excellence for bacon and valueadded ham products. Smaller producers driving niche activity in hemp foods, gluten
free snacks, and other specialty foods (e.g. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods and Oils,
Stone Milled Specialty Grains)

Low electricity rates and access to research and development credits bolster value
chain.

Emerging strengths related to digital and interactive media, led by a strong exportoriented sector that has rebounded from the recession, particularly in the gaming
segment.

Strength in traditional areas of the cultural industries like performing arts and
museums, making Winnipeg the cultural centre of the province and home to the
majority of provincial-level assets in the sector.
Creative
Industries

Academic programming at public and private institutions focused on the full range
of subsectors in the creative industries, with particular emphasis on interactive
media and design.

Industry-led (e.g. Manitoba BOLD) programs focused on the development of the


creative and cultural industries.

Home of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, an internationally-recognized


and national level museum.

More than 440 energy and environment companies in the city with specialties in
environmental consulting and remediation, recycling, waste management, energy
and minerals, bioproducts, and water treatment.

Close connections to primary feedstocks have generated opportunities and industry


activity related to biofuels, biomaterials, and biochemicals based on agricultural and
forestry residues.

Leading position in advanced materials research and commercial application


Energy and
Environment

through the Composites Innovation Centre, underlying the strength related to


biomaterials and bioproducts.

Home to Manitoba Hydro, one of Canadas largest energy producers and a leading
exporter of energy to the US. Manitoba Hydro provides programs related to microgeneration, which has supported the development of pilot programs in the city (e.g.
McPhillips Common).

Leading position in research related to electric vehicles based on the Electric


Vehicle Road Map program, which is supported by industry-led research in ground
transit applications.

24

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Heavily weighted towards insurance sector activities, which employ about 44% of
the total labour force in the sector.
Financial
Services

One of the most cost-competitive jurisdictions in Canada for back office outsourcing
and contact centres supported by an innovative IT community focused on sectorbased solutions.

Relatively resilient sector during most recent global recession, with full recovery to
pre-recessionary employment and output forecast over the short- to medium-term.

Cost-competitive North American position in the sector, including leading positions


over Western Canada and the Western US.
Information,
Communications
and
Technology (ICT)

Strong growth in computer systems design employment which has contributed to


10% employment growth in the sector over the last five years.

Profile of both small and large firms in innovative (interactive digital media, film
production) and traditional (telecommunications) subsectors of the industry.

High concentrations of professional and technical employment in the life sciences,


supported by engineers and engineering technologists and physical sciences
professionals and technicians.

Hub for Western Canadas pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing


operations and home to companies like Cangene Corporation, Valeant (formerly
Biovail Corporation), and Apotex Fermentation.

Life Sciences

Strengths related to North American cost-competitiveness, especially in medical


devices, pharmaceuticals, chemical manufacturing, and precision manufacturing.

Strong research and policy foundation in life sciences, including: the Canadian
Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, Canadas only Level 4
biocontainment laboratory; TheNational Research Council; and the Public Health
Agency of Canada.

Connections with the areas traditional strengths in biological feedstocks leading


to development of functional foods and nutraceuticals, led by work at Richardson
Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (University of Manitoba Smartpark).

Strong profile of natural and cultural heritage assets, supported by year-round events.
The Forks National Historic Site represents a significant asset, and driver of tourism
for the city, and includes food services, retail, recreation (e.g. Arctic Glacier Winter
Park), and accommodations supported by year-round and seasonal cultural and
sporting events.
Tourism

National- and provincial-level cultural industries drive tourism expenditure in the


city, with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights expected to generate increased
international interest.

Winnipeg is a centre of French and Mtis cultural heritage for Western Canada.
Spectator sports emerging as an important driver of tourism expenditure, with the return of
the Winnipeg Jets driving visitation from across the Capital Region and the US/Canada.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

25

Winnipegs employment in the sector accounts for a 72% share of all transportation
and distribution employment in the province, with the majority in the warehousing
and storage subsector.

Positioning at the junction of major east-west and north-south transportation


routes, and home to a high-density of major rail and road infrastructure, including
CN, CP, and BNSF infrastructure and concentration of tradespeople in rail services.
Winnipeg is the only Canadian city with three trans-continental rail connections, and
is the closest major city to the Port of Churchill.
Transportation
and
Distribution

Cost advantages over other major transportation hubs in Western Canada/US.


Home to Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport Canadas busiest
airport for scheduled freighter flights and the Western hub for CargoJet and Purolator.

20,000 acre CentrePort Canada development focused on becoming a major centre


of international and domestic intermodal trade and processing of goods.

Dedicated professional programming at the citys post-secondary institutions,


including the Canadian Institute of Traffic and Transportation (CITT) designation at
the University of Manitoba, and the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP)
diploma at Red River College.
As noted previously, this diversity has led to the development of a relatively stable and resilient economy. Over
the last several years the metropolitan area has illustrated stable conditions through most economic indicators,
placing it on par or better than the rest of the country in terms of economic performance. This is particularly the
case through the most recent global recession which continues to resonate through the broader global economy.
Employment figures for the metropolitan area have generally been positive over the last decade, with
employment growing by 11.9% from 2001 to 2011, and even showing moderate growth through the recession
in 2008 and 2009. Over the next five years, employment is expected to continue growing by between 2.0 and
1.3 per cent each year, reaching 440,000 by 2016. As a result, the area is expected to continue enjoying lower
unemployment rates than the national average, at between 5.6 and 5.2 to 2016.
Figure 7: Actual and Projected Employment Growth, Winnipeg CMA
500

Thousands

450

400

350

300

250

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 282-0112, and Conference Board of Canada, 2012
26

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Real gross domestic product shows a similar trend of moderate growth across the metropolitan area over the
next several years. Like many other areas, Winnipegs growth slowed with the onset of the global recession in
2008, with a decline of 0.6% in GDP across the CMA from 2008 to 2009. Since that time, the metropolitan areas
economy has rebounded, posting moderate growth of 2.3% from 2009 to 2010 and 1.7% from 2010 to 201110.
Based on a slowly rebounding manufacturing sector, particularly from new orders in ground and aerospace
manufacturing subsectors and increasing production in food processing and value-added agriculture, and
continued growth of retail and wholesale trade, the CMA is expected to post real GDP growth in excess of 2% per
year over the next five years11. Transportation and warehousing is expected to drive GDP growth in the CMA, with
an average compound growth rate of 2.4% per year from 2013-201612. Growth of the CMA over the next five years
is expected to be roughly equivalent to the levels of growth projected for the rest of the national economy.
Generally speaking, the rebound of many of the traditional industries in Winnipeg and Manitoba like agriculture
and manufacturing will be a primary source of growth in the next several years. The stability of the broader
economy is expected to underpin this growth. While there is stability, the key for the Winnipeg area will be to
create new economic opportunity based on these strengths, while offering replacement opportunity to respond
to slowing demand in others (e.g. non-residential construction). Connectedness, to international markets and
regional markets beyond Winnipegs borders may be a key driver of prospects in this regard, particularly in niche
areas of the economy (e.g. value-added agriculture and food processing, nutraceuticals, energy and environment,
digital and interactive media, and biomaterials and biocomposites).

2.3

OURWINNIPEG - DIRECTING FUTURE GROWTH

OurWinnipeg was approved in 2011, as the new Municipal Development Plan for the City of Winnipeg. It
represents the 25-year vision for the city, positioning Winnipeg for sustainable growth, which is key to the
competitiveness of the city in an increasingly connected and networked global economy. The plan is built on
three areas of focus, each with a critical role to play in Winnipegs future:

A CITY THAT WORKS


People will choose to live and work in communities where they feel they can prosper and enjoy a high quality
of life. In many ways, cities play a key role in enabling those choices, through the quality of services provided
by the City of Winnipeg. Hard infrastructure (e.g. water, sewers, and roads) matters at a basic level, as does the
availability of a range of more intangible livability factors which influence an individuals ability to live, work,
and play in a community. The intent of OurWinnipeg is to encourage the development of these factors, but
to understand that the most attractive places in the world are those communities that can effectively network
these component parts into a system that works together efficiently, and sustainably. OurWinnipeg creates the
framework that connects these factors and creates a network to support the development of the city.

A SUSTAINABLE CITY
Cities across the globe face new pressures with regards to sustainability. The growing urban population paired
with the need to use and manage available resources in responsible ways has proven to be a driver for an
increasing movement towards environmental sustainability. The most recent recession and pressures to respond
to growing infrastructure deficits and service expansions with changing levels of resources has highlighted the
10
Conference Board of Canada. (2012). Metropolitan Outlook.
11 Ibid.
12
Conference Board of Canada. (2012). Metropolitan Outlook.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

27

need to take into account financial sustainability as well. Under OurWinnipeg, sustainability is to become part of
the way that the City does business. It is to be the foundation of new policies and programs. In doing so, the City
of Winnipeg becomes a corporate role model for social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

QUALITY OF LIFE
In an economy where talent is the key input to more knowledge-based activities, and where the characteristics
of the population in a community play a stronger role in business decisions to locate or stay in a community, the
diverse profile of lifestyle or quality of life opportunities in a community takes on more prominence. Communities
must address the full spectrum of factors that contribute to quality of life - the basics like water quality, public
safety, wastewater treatment, and transportation infrastructure that can keep the entire population healthy,
but also the factors that can support a wider range of lifestyles, such as a broad range of housing, active
transportation options, and vibrant and diverse cultural amenities. OurWinnipeg takes a more focused approach
to supporting important quality of life factors, by encouraging equitable access to opportunities, the creation and
maintenance of vital and healthy neighbourhoods, and the development of a creative city based on vibrant arts
and culture.
The plan is supported by four detailed Direction Strategies, each of which adds detail with regards to key
planning areas for the City of Winnipeg outlined in OurWinnipeg:

Complete Communities, which describes the physical characteristics of Winnipeg, and lays out a
framework for the city`s future physical growth based on a new urban structure;

Sustainable Water and Waste, which lays out a strategy to protect the natural environment and public
health with regards to water supply, treatment, and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment,
solid waste management, storm water management, and service extensions;

A Sustainable Winnipeg, which functions as an integrated community sustainability strategy for the city to
achieve the goals of becoming a more sustainable city; and,

Sustainable Transportation, which provides the framework to integrate land use planning and
transportation master planning, including the city`s various transportation components (vehicles, transit,
active transportation, freight planning), to create a more sustainable transportation network for the city.
Figure 8: OUR WINNIPEG AND SUPPORTING STRATEGIES

OurWinnipeg
A CITY THAT WORKS

A SUSTAINABLE CITY

QUALITY OF LIFE

SUSTAINABLE
WATER AND WASTE
A SUSTAINABLE
WINNIPEG

COMPLETE
COMMUNITIES
SUSTAINABLE
TRANSPORTATION
Source: City of Winnipeg, OurWinnipeg, 2011
28

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Inherently, OurWinnipeg plays a key role in the prospects for economic development in the city, and across
the greater Capital Region. The pillars of OurWinnipeg effective networking of city systems, emphasis on
sustainability and sustainable development, and creation of high quality of life can equally be seen as the
pillars of an effective economic development strategy. The economic development strategy must provide for the
provision and planning of basic infrastructure and systems (e.g. roads, sewers, and water) that works effectively
with other city systems (e.g. transit, land use planning, public works) to create the value proposition that can
attract new business and community investment, as well as retain and support the citys expansion of the citys
existing business community, allowing them to grow with the city.
Similarly, the economic development strategy must work within the larger sustainability aspirations of the city,
and in particular its business community, to provide a framework for the implementation of action plans related
to those aspirations. This includes, among other things, the design and engineering of new employment areas,
development and redevelopment of commercial and industrial facilities, and the products and processes used by
the local business community. Lastly, the economic development strategy builds on the framework for creating
a high quality of life, and gives focus to the efforts as a means of attracting, developing, and retaining a highly
skilled workforce to support business development, while also supporting the development of industries that
contribute to and rely on quality of life, such as cultural industries and tourism.
OurWinnipeg and the associated strategies play a key role in focusing the actions and tactics that will be used
in the economic development strategy for the city. As such, the economic development strategy plays a key role
as an implementation plan for the OurWinnipeg plan outlining the key policies that direct the City of Winnipeg
and its economic development partners to work towards goals of connectivity, sustainability, and quality of life
enhancements, as a means of driving the connectedness that will allow Winnipeg to excel in an economy that is
fundamentally different than what existed in the past.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

29

30

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Strategic
Direction

The national, regional, and local economy continue to face rapid and significant structural changes, making it
critical to develop a strategy to best position the community for success in an economy that is characterized as
the new normal. New global trade linkages have emerged that offer new opportunities for communities and
their export-oriented businesses. Disruptive technologies have flattened the world to an extent, and represent
critical means of continuing to drive the productivity and innovation that allows more traditional industries to
stay competitive. Financial and human capital is now highly mobile, raising the potential for the attraction of
foreign investments and talent to a community, but also producing a new scale in which communities must
compete for it. New economic powers have emerged as a result, and their continued development poses a
challenge through competition at higher levels of the industrial value chain, but an opportunity to derive stronger
connections with new markets and new sources of innovative technologies and capital. Finally, the workforce
continues to restructure across the globe. Developed nations continue to place an emphasis on the development
of a more knowledge-based and skilled workforce to replace employment lost to lower cost destinations over
the last several decades, while developing and emerging economies continue to drive workforce development
as a means of moving up the industrial value chain, and deriving more value from economic development
opportunities afforded to them by a more global economy.
These and other global trends have created a new context in which Canadian communities and regions must
compete, through adaptation and innovation. This demands a new approach to economic development, which gives
communities the tools to more effectively operate within the changing global economy. Communities and regions
have little control over the trends that are external to them, but effective economic development strategic planning
serves as a critical component of more effectively benefitting from these trends, rather than risk suffering from them.
Economic development activity in Winnipeg has been characterized by high levels of success in a number of
traditional industries. This economic diversity has provided the city with economic strength over the last several
decades, and has generated activity in a number of more niche areas of the economy where sectors have
converged, such as composites and advanced materials, agri-food and nutraceuticals, digital and interactive
media, and renewable energy/clean technology. The city also benefits from a strong profile of organizations
focused on economic and community development efforts in Winnipeg, with the citys presence as the capital
of the province offering direct access to higher levels of government and provincial/national level agencies
and organizations. Further, the citys geographic positioning along major North American and international
transportation routes offers it opportunities to grow as a centre of transportation and logistics into the future, true
to its past as a staging ground for the early development of Western Canada, and as an important trade route for
the citys first settlers; its Aboriginal people.
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

31

While these factors have driven, and will continue to drive the citys economic development prospects, the
changing global and national economies make it critical that the city chart a more defined course to achieve its
goals of sustainability, efficiency, and liveability outlined through OurWinnipeg. The city maintains a strong profile
of organizations that make up its economic development ecosystem, covering critical aspects like investment
attraction, small business development, business retention and expansion, downtown revitalization, tourism
promotion, and workforce development. However, the connectedness across the full ecosystem is often limited,
especially with regards to relationships with higher levels of government and post-secondary institutions, and
relationships among organizations that have complementary mandates or complementary goals.
The presence of a range of industrial sectors in the city and Capital Region offer strength in terms of economic
diversity. However, the lack of depth in any one of these given sectors poses a problem for future economic
development plans. The number of sectors can also seem counterproductive, suggesting a need to further
refine these targets into a more manageable list of innovative and complementary areas; areas where the
regions industrial capabilities, educational assets, and supply chain strengths can converge to support further
development and investment attraction. With limited human and financial resources available, the demands of
the new economy necessitate careful and deliberate allocations of resources into the pursuit of certain key goals
and targets. This does not mean that economic development staff and partners should become unresponsive, or
that all activity unrelated to these strategic targets is abandoned. After all, in a changing economy, opportunity
will come in many forms some of them presently unknown. But certain areas of activity and effort are more likely
to return positive results than others, and are more likely to create new economic opportunities than others. The
purpose of this strategy is to highlight those targets so that informed, proactive decisions may be made about the
allocation of time, effort and resources in the future.
Further, the citys geographic positioning, transportation connections, and increasing diversity will offer new economic
development opportunities related to trade, investment attraction, talent attraction, and value-added and knowledgebased employment and industrial opportunities. Major investments in the city like CentrePort Canada, and emerging
areas of opportunity like the Port of Churchill/Arctic passage and proposed Ring of Fire developments in Northwestern
Ontario should be considered now, even if they represent longer-term areas of opportunity.
In a sense, the new economic development strategy for the city is envisioned as a tool for moving beyond current and
past successes, and beginning a process of envisioning what more the community and Capital Region may become.
In part, this is an economic vision: it attempts to describe some of the specific and focused business and economic
development opportunities that the community should embrace. But true economic development is something larger:
it is not simply about financial flows, investment decisions and job creation. It is also about building a community where
opportunity, access, and quality of life are available for the entire population, and individual citizens and residents have
the freedom, space, and support to envision new goals, new objectives, and new accomplishments.
To reach these objectives, the City of Winnipeg and its economic development partners must connect to
economic development opportunities in three specific areas, as illustrated in Figure 9 below.
Figure 9: Connecting to Economic Development Opportunities for Winnipeg

Winnipegs Economic
Development Strategy
Business and
Industrial
Opportunities

32

Social and
Community
Development
Opportunities

Emerging and
Future
Opportunities

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

1. Connecting to Business and Industrial Opportunities Building on the existing strengths in economic
development service delivery, this area focuses on options for reorganizing, expanding, or adding incremental
changes to the current service delivery landscape in Winnipeg, in order to create a more holistic view of what
economic development means in Winnipeg.
2. Connecting to Social and Community Development Opportunities With a more holistic view of the
range of activities included in traditional business development activity, comes the need to focus more fully
on socially progressive ideas as it relates to economic development in Winnipeg. This includes community
building goals and the positive implications on quality of life, but also the notion that the most successful and
competitive communities leverage and recognize the contributions of the assets they currently have access to,
such as unemployed or underemployed citizens, by providing support that enables all community members to
engage in the prosperity of the community.
3. Connecting to Emerging and Future Opportunities While targeting economic opportunities and
challenges posed by current economic conditions is a critical aspect of the economic development strategy,
the longer-term aspirations of the plan require that the community devise strategies to better position it to
access opportunities that are only just emerging, or opportunities that will emerge in the future. In Winnipegs
case, this includes opportunities associated with innovative new industries that build on the citys strengths,
emerging international connections and markets, and potential areas of opportunity in the future (e.g.
Churchill, Ring of Fire, and Northern development).
In keeping with the central theme of connectedness, accomplishing the goals of the strategy will require
cooperation and collaboration with community organizations and stakeholders from across the full economic
development ecosystem. It is important to articulate that as the approach requires organized and deliberate
connection, that the vision and the value proposition offer benefits that are attractive to new investment, and that
appeal to the broader range of organizations with a stake in the citys development.
As a result of the connections needed to accomplish economic development objectives in each of these areas,
the actions in the economic development strategy will build on the work currently being undertaken by the City
of Winnipeg, and the range of organizations that deliver economic development services in the community, such
as those included in the Winnipeg Partnership Committee. The intent is to recognize that the City of Winnipeg,
paired with its partners in economic development, already has a sophisticated economic development ecosystem
in place. Instead of creating a new structure, the key will be to create the connectedness within that system
needed to achieve economic development in a changing economy. As such, actions and tactics outlined in the
economic development strategy for Winnipeg will build on existing strategies and focus on the implementation
of those actions, while adding new actions and tactics arising from this strategic planning process (Figure 10).
Figure 10: Strategic Planning Input

Key strategies and


activities from
other organizations
(i.e. WPC)

City of Winnipegs
existing strategies
and activities
(i.e. OurWinnipeg)

Winnipegs
Economic
Development
Strategy

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

New strategies
and activities from
planning process
(i.e. connectedness)

33

The actions drawn from this broad range of areas form the basis of the Citys new economic development
strategic plan. Within these action areas, the role of the City of Winnipeg and Economic Development Winnipeg
Inc. (EDW) will vary greatly. In some instances, the City must play a lead role that is, it must initiate and champion
a particular course of action (often in partnership or collaboration with other community organizations) and accept
some responsibility for seeing the action through to fruition. In other instances, the Citys role will be facilitative;
it will encourage other partners and organizations to initiate action and activity that will assist in fulfilling the
strategic objective or it will act as an honest broker in important community discussions. Finally, the City will often
play a support role, utilizing its resources to assist community partners as they seek to undertake actions identified
within this strategic plan. What is stressed in the plan is connectedness achieving economic development goals
as a result of the connections the community can create, maintain, and leverage.

3.1

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRIAL OPPORTUNITIES

Economic development efforts in Winnipeg have largely been successful over the last several decades, as
suggested through relatively stable economic performance and the presence of a diversified economy with
emerging areas of opportunity. Further, there are a number of innovative organizations in the city focused on
supporting economic development, through the attraction of new investment to the city and downtown areas,
the expansion of the existing business community, the development of workforce and small businesses, and the
development of industry-specific programs and initiatives that can support the development of local clusters of
activity.
Economic development under the new strategic plan recognizes the success of the prior structure and
organizational profile of economic development in the city, with the intent of creating a more holistic view of
economic development for the city and its partner organizations beyond just traditional investment attraction
and business retention and expansion. This includes the areas in which the city pursues business and industrial
opportunities, the variety of tactics that can be taken to encourage economic development, and the range of
organizations that can contribute to business and industrial opportunity.

3.1.1

BUSINESS COMMUNITY

Figure 11 and Figure 12 show Manitobas top five international business connections based on the proportion
of total imports and exports respectively. According to Industry Canadas trade statistics, Manitobas most
prominent trading partners are consistently the United States, China, Japan, and Mexico. In terms of export,
the primary trend seems to be related to the export of raw or semi-processed agricultural products, such as
seeds, oils, and pork products, particularly to Asian markets (beyond the US market, which holds the majority of
exports from Manitoba, and Canadas other NAFTA partner Mexico). Overall, 10 Asian countries (China, Japan,
South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia), account
for 20.0% of total exports from the province. The strongest growth of export volume has been in European and
Asian markets, with notable increases in exports to Bulgaria, Sweden, South Korea, and Russia between 2007 and
2011, and continued growth in markets like China (24%), Japan (27%), United Arab Emirates (43%), Pakistan (84%),
India (23%), and Bangladesh (97%) over the same time period. Exports to both the US (-14%) and Mexico (-14%)
declined over the same time period.

34

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Figure 11: Manitobas Top Five International Business Connections Based on the Proportion of Total
Exports, 2010

Top Five People Connections


Philippines 34.1%
India 15.1%
China 8.6%
Germany 5.2%
Israel 3.4%
(Other 33.6%)

Source: Adapted from Industry Canada, 2012 by Millier Dickinson Blais, 2012

Figure 12: Manitobas Top Five International Business Connections Based on the Proportion of Total
Imports, 2010

Top Five Importing Connections


United States 80.2%
China 4.8%
Mexico 2.8%
Germany 1.5%
Japan 1.1%

Source: Adapted from Industry Canada, 2012 by Millier Dickinson Blais, 2012

A similar pattern of geographic connections emerge on the import side, though the US accounts for a much higher
share of goods than for exports, as semi-processed goods from other international jurisdictions move through the US
to Manitoba. Imported products to Manitoba are typically at higher levels of the value chain than the mostly raw or
semi-processed goods exported from the province (e.g. agricultural and construction machinery and vehicles).
In many ways, these findings reflect the current orientation of trade-based activities at the provincial level focused on
China, India, and the block of rapidly expanding Southeast Asian countries. Though currently lower volume, Brazil and
Russia remain emerging and stable trade partners for the province. Aligning with the provinces initiatives and target
markets should be a key priority.
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

35

Winnipeg should also aspire to generate stronger business connections with these established import and export
markets and build the profile of the city and province. This is especially relevant given the continued challenges related
to the US market and its comparatively slow emergence from the recession (though it should be noted that Manitoba is
the third-least reliant Canadian province on the US for export). Provinces need to diversify their trade connections, and
create new relationships and connections with new markets.
CentrePort Canada has proven to be a logical partner in this regard, developing a partnership with Chongqing (among
others like Canadian Pacific Logistics Solutions and Minsheng International Freight Co.) to promote the export of valueadded and raw agricultural products to China from Manitoba, using proprietary radio frequency identification (RFID)
technology tracking systems developed by Invent IOT (based in China). Depending on the success of the pilot program,
there may be additional inland ports and seaports in other Asian markets that could offer opportunity. There may also
be opportunities for the development of processing infrastructure in the CentrePort Canada business parks and across
Winnipeg, to prepare exports for transportation to external markets. In addition to CentrePort Canada and the Province,
organizations like World Trade Centre Winnipeg (Manitobas bilingual trade agency), are also an asset for the city facilitating export and import connections for local and international businesses.
Building on the connections and efforts on trade development at Canadas western ports, there may also be
opportunities for the import of semi-processed goods to Winnipeg for local use or further export to Canadian or North
American destinations. Domestic repositioning of containers may offer opportunities for the movement or processing
of goods destined for the western or eastern Canadian markets. Though a more competitive space (competing with
central transportation and logistics hubs in the US connected to Pacific ports like Long Beach and Seattle and inland
ports on the CN and CP lines in Canada like Calgary and Edmonton), Winnipegs positioning, capabilities, and available
industrial land resources may provide longer-term opportunities to support the processing of semi-finished goods for
further export both from locally generated raw materials and imported semi-finished goods.
Winnipeg can also draw on its existing profile of major multinational corporations (e.g. Cargill, Boeing, or Magellan
Aerospace), particularly those that are headquartered elsewhere in Canada or in another country. The intent would be to
work with the branch operations in Winnipeg to expand the local activities and investment in the area. Winnipeg has had
success in this regard, most recently attracting new investments in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sector
from the existing corporate profile, such as the Magellan-Bristol advanced composite manufacturing facility. The citys
business retention and expansion initiative led by EDW and YES! Winnipeg its business development team, can play a
key role in identifying and encouraging these types of opportunities to build on the existing corporate relationships.
Leveraging the expertise and connections currently available through the local and regional business community can
establish economic development opportunity. Winnipeg has strengths in advanced manufacturing (particularly food
processing and machinery, and transportation equipment) and transportation and logistics which can provide incentive
for the processing of a full range of goods in the Winnipeg area. The initiative requires connections with the local
business community, as well as those markets where the province has existing business connections.

3.1.2

PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES

As of 2006, Canadas immigrant or foreign born population was just under 6.2 million and comprised 19.8%
of Canadas total population. The distribution of this population, however, is heavily concentrated in Canadas
largest urban centres with over 60% of this population located in only three of Canadas CMAs (Toronto, Montreal,
and Vancouver). In 2006, the immigrant population of Winnipegs CMA was 121,255, representing 18% of its total
population. More recently Winnipeg has been one of the top 10 immigration destinations in Canada, and as of
2010 ranked as the sixth most popular destination for the second year in a row 13. As of 2010, Manitoba took in

13
Manitoba. (2010). Manitoba Immigration Facts, 2010 Statistical Report.
14 Ibid.
36

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

more than 15,000 new-immigrants and of that number more than 12,000, or 77%, chose to settle in Winnipeg14. In
other words, looking at immigration statistics for Manitoba allows for a very close representation of the numbers
and composition of immigrants settling in Winnipeg.
Given recent international trends in FDI, Winnipegs community-based and locational assets, and the perceptions of
community leaders, there is a strategic opportunity for Manitoba and Winnipeg in an international marketing context
based on the business and family connections of its people. In a sense, the population of Winnipeg is far more diverse
in terms of national origin and cultural connections than current trading and business relations would indicate.
In essence, when considering international opportunities, Winnipegs immigrant population provides a much
broader opportunity for opening doors and leveraging existing connections than those represented by
Winnipegs strongest trading partners. In terms of business connections, there appears to be a disconnect
between the international connections of Winnipegs people, and the international connections of Winnipegs
trading partners. The figure below contrasts Manitobas business connections by identifying its strongest
people connections Philippines, India, China, Germany, and Israel.

Figure 13 Manitobas Top Five International People Connections Based on Immigrant National Origins,
2010

Top Five People Connections


Philippines 34.1%
India 15.1%
China 8.6%
Germany 5.2%
Israel 3.4%
(Other 33.6%)

Source: Adapted from Manitoba Labour and Immigration, 2010 by Millier Dickinson Blais, 2012

Just as the city can derive further benefit through its business connections, Winnipeg must begin to engage with its
residents to leverage and build upon the range of established personal, cultural, economic and historic connections that
already exist between the city and communities around the world based on people. In some sense, it is easier to make new
business connections where relationships already exist, than to pursue a cold calling approach that ignores the strong and
diverse already present. In addition, many of the citys people connections run to fast-rising actors in the FDI space, like India
and China. Partnering with and building upon the efforts of local groups with strong external ties may be the quickest path
to opening doors in these priority markets. Partners like World Trade Centre Winnipeg may be an asset in this regard, with a
defined mandate to facilitate francophone immigration to the city and province.
Besides India and China, leveraging Winnipegs people connections associated with smaller markets (such as francophone
countries) will be largely dependent on Winnipegs sector based priorities. Accordingly, some of these markets may offer
more immediate or appealing opportunities, while others may be slightly longer term. Regardless, the existing international
people connections of Winnipeg offer new opportunities to strengthen the citys international profile in markets where it
may be weaker, and to engage with new markets in business and talent attraction.
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

37

3.1.3

ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS

OurWinnipeg has outlined a number of goals for Winnipeg over the next several decades, one of the more
prominent being more emphasis on sustainability as a pillar for the development of the community. This includes
environmental sustainability, but also social sustainability and fiscal sustainability. In this regard, Winnipeg is
fortunate to be the home of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The IISD contributes to
global sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations and undertaking projects on international
trade, investment, economic policy, climate change, and natural resource management. This provides Winnipeg,
and its business community with a direct connection into the broader global discussions about sustainability and
sustainable business development. With the development of sophisticated technologies in areas like renewable
energy and environmental management at local businesses, organizations like the IISD can facilitate important
pilot projects that test those technologies.
Similarly, the city is home to a number of other nationally- or internationally-recognized institutes which can
anchor business and industrial opportunities for the city. The Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) leads research
and development programming focused on innovative application of composite and advanced materials in
aerospace, biomaterials, ground transportation, and civil infrastructure; offering local companies the opportunity
to access a broader network of expertise, or opportunities to develop leading technologies with broader
applications. Similar industry-based institutes exist within the National Research Council structure in Winnipeg,
as well as in institutions like the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, which offer similar
opportunities to drive research and innovation in Winnipegs business community.
Lastly, the city is home to a strong profile of post-secondary institutions, each with research programming and
institutions that represent assets for the business community. Winnipeg is home to the University of Manitoba,
University of Winnipeg, Universit de Saint-Boniface, Canadian Mennonite University, and Red River College,
among other private colleges spread across the city. As such, each of the institutions has a key role to play in
business and industrial opportunities; providing the workforce needed by local business, generating research that
has positive implications on the local business community, and attracting new skilled workers to the community.

3.1.4

ABORIGINAL AND GOVERNMENT PARTNERS

Winnipeg has the highest proportion of Aboriginal identity population of all census metropolitan areas in Canada.
Further, the Aboriginal population in the city continues to grow at a faster rate than the total population, and
maintains a comparatively lower age profile than the broader city. As the provincial capital, the city is also home
to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba Mtis Federation; the administrative operations of the
First Nations and Mtis governments in the province. Overall, the Aboriginal population and organizations in
the city represent potential partners in an economic development context. Unfortunately, the collaboration with
Aboriginal organizations and communities has been lacking in the past.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Long Plain First Nation have previously investigated opportunities to
engage in land development in the Polo Park area of the city, initially proposing a $100 million plan for a 1.4 hectare
parcel of land that would accommodate government offices, institutional space for Yellowquill College, and retail
space. Though the initial project did not move forward as envisioned in 2008, the site received City approval in July
2011, and the First Nations has since redeveloped a 25,000 square foot former Manitoba Hydro warehouse for use by
Yellowquill College. Though the land has not yet received approval from the Federal government for urban reserve
status, construction on 80,000 square feet of office space along with wholesale/retail space is expected to begin in
2012. The intent of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is to generate economic development opportunity for First
Nations people in the community and province through partnerships like this, which create opportunities for ownsource revenue and skill building. By creating an urban reserve or economic zone, the Federal government allows
Aboriginal commercial ventures to enjoy tax benefits offered to traditional reserves within urban areas. While First
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Nations people represent potential areas of business growth and labour force development, partnerships with First
Nations in the area may generate similar mutually beneficial opportunities in areas that align more fully with the citys
target sectors, such as transportation, distribution and logistics. The key is to create partnerships that provide mutual
benefits to Winnipeg, the business community, and the First Nations people.
Similarly, the Mtis population and administration in Winnipeg and the Capital Region represent a potential
economic development partner as well. Through the Mtis Economic Development Organization (MEDO) the
Manitoba Mtis Federation (MMF) has been able to create a mechanism for business investment and growth of
Mtis-owned businesses, facilitate strategic partnerships in infrastructure and workforce development, and advocate
for the economic development impact of the Mtis population and Mtis-owned businesses in the province. The
newly formed MEDO Developments Ltd. is a construction management and land development firm that offers the
opportunity for partnerships with public and private industry to undertake major infrastructure or land development
projects. The Manitoba Hydro project in Pointe du Bois is a prime example of industry partnership, where the MMF
played a key role in facilitating the development and consultation process for the project, while generating mutually
beneficial outcomes for both Manitoba Hydro and the local First Nations and Mtis population.
MEDO has developed strategic partnerships with some of the largest construction companies in Canada, like
Kiewit and Ledcor, which builds opportunities to undertake projects in a range of sectors like non-residential
construction, oil and gas, and utilities/renewable energy. One of the key initiatives of MEDO and the MMF is to
build and showcase the capacity of Manitobas Mtis-owned firms first through investment in and management
of growth, then through facilitation of strategic partnerships to assist them with accessing economic development
opportunity. Though preliminary areas of strength related to construction and trades, the MMF acknowledges
that Mtis-owned businesses in the Capital Region have emerging strengths in areas like ICT.
The Aboriginal organizations and communities in Winnipeg and the Capital Region can play a key role as
partners in business and industrial development opportunities. There are opportunities for land and infrastructure
development that can assist with the community building and sector-based activities of the city and its economic
development partners. By partnering, the Aboriginal organizations and communities can accomplish their goals
of revenue generation and workforce development. In order to leverage and fully realize these opportunities
though, a more sustainable effort should be made to engage potential Aboriginal partners on a regular basis to
identify opportunities for collaboration and mutual benefits.
As the seat of provincial government and the home to the majority of Manitobans, the city also has an
inherent opportunity to work closely with the departments of the provincial government that handle economic
development initiatives. The City also has the opportunity to work closely on projects of provincial significance
headed by provincial government, such as the planning of the provincial highway network and projects like
CentrePort Canada. However, like collaboration with Aboriginal organizations and communities, collaboration
between the Province and its largest municipality has been lacking in the past as well. With that said, projectbased collaboration has been referenced as positive in the past.
From an economic development perspective, a lack of alignment between municipal and provincial activities presents
a major problem; Winnipeg misses the opportunity to benefit from a larger pool of resources and programming
devoted to economic development (e.g. Provincial Nominee Program modifications, trade development activities),
while the province misses the opportunity to fully leverage the strengths presented by its largest municipality. The
OurWinnipeg plan has been endorsed by the provincial government, and represents a strong statement about the
alignment of the vision for the provincial capital city over the longer term. Economic development strategic plans
should strive for the same alignment. Tactics and activities undertaken at the local level should align with those of
the provincial government, in areas like trade and markets, business immigration, target sector development, and
education and workforce development. Though this informally takes place, the economic development plan for the city
can enact policies that closely align with both local and provincial visions. These policies can also inform the province
about areas where it may be needed to intervene in policy and development. For example, the Government of
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

39

Manitoba will need to continue playing a key role in the development of the CentrePort Canada business parks, based
on the inter-jurisdictional planning and servicing issues related to the site, and the need to generate consensus around
multiple land owners and stakeholders - the Regional Municipality of Rosser, the City of Winnipeg, and the South
Interlake Planning District, among other private sector stakeholders. Closer collaboration between Winnipeg and the
province leads to an overall stronger positioning for the city and province in an economic development context, and as
such, should be a key policy direction related to organizational collaboration in the economic development plan.

3.1.5

STRATEGIC COMMUNITIES

Municipal twinning is an ancient practice dating back to 9th Century Europe and the sister city relationship of
Paderborn, Germany with LeMans, France. Modern twinning efforts expanded greatly during the reconstruction
efforts following the Second World War, and as an ongoing effort at citizen diplomacy during the Cold War.
The relationships created over the years have taken a wide variety of forms and aspects, and a growing body of
best practices is now emerging to guide communities as they assess and consider their options for productive
economic, social, cultural and recreational partnerships with sister communities around the world. Community
partnership models generally fall into four leading categories:

Partnerships between communities that have common economic, political, or cultural goals (e.g.
increased trade, new market development);

Partnerships and collaboration between communities working towards a specific initiative (e.g.
conference development, brand recognition);

Partnerships based on educational or experiential interests, such as the sharing of best practices; and,
Partnerships that build on a communitys existing national, cultural, and ethnic communities to establish
international economic development opportunities.
Winnipeg and its economic development partners have been investigating opportunities in this space. For
example, the recent trade mission to Israel was undertaken largely based on the communitys aspirations to build
a more sophisticated innovation ecosystem that can support small business development and new business
ventures (while also building Winnipegs profile abroad). Similarly, CentrePort Canada has developed an initiativespecific partnership with Chongqing in China to encourage the export of Manitobas agricultural products to the
Chinese interior. The city presently has 10 sister city relationships:

Setagya, Japan
Reykjavik, Iceland
Lviv, Ukraine
Manila, Philippines
Taichung, Taiwan
Kuopio, Finland
Beersheba, Israel
Chengdu, China
Jinju, South Korea
San Nicholas de los Garza, Mexico
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These relationships have been formed based on cultural or economic exchange aspirations. For example, the
citys large Filipino population provided it with a strong basis for a cultural partnership with Manila. Given the
emerging areas of the citys economy, these existing partnerships may offer additional opportunities for economic
development. For example, the emphasis on food, nutrition, and health in the businesses and post-secondary
institutions in Kuopio, Finland, may offer benefits to Winnipegs companies and institutions focused on traditional
areas of food processing and emerging areas of nutraceuticals and functional foods. Similar sector-based
opportunities may also exist based on transportation and logistics and export of products (Chengdu, Manila),
biomaterials (Jinju), or interactive media (Setagya) for example. As a first step towards strategic partnerships, the
city can look to leverage its existing partnerships in more economic development-oriented ways.
However, further international partnerships could be developed based on emerging goals, such as Tel Aviv in
Israel, as a means of connecting with opportunities and initiatives in clean technology and renewable energy.
Similar to the CentrePort Canada-Chongqing-Lianglu FTZ partnership, other organizations in Winnipeg may look
to forge relationships with organizations and institutions that can share best practices. For example, Winnipegs
James Armstrong Richardson International Airport may look to build partnerships with other successful cargo and
passenger hubs, in order to share best practices regarding logistics and infrastructure. The overall intent of such
initiatives is to build Winnipegs global network for trade/export, but also to learn and exchange information
and build the citys profile on more of a global stage. By targeting community-, rather than national-level
partnerships, Winnipeg has an opportunity to work with regional or city-level counterparts in other jurisdictions; or
those that closely understand the community-level challenges and opportunities in economic development.
There is a precedent within the City for more economic development-oriented partnerships. The City signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kansas City, Missouri in 2005, with the specific goals of:

Promoting and facilitating bilateral trade between the cities.


Enhancing the Mid-Continent Trade and Transportation Corridor.
Coordinating activities in international development/cooperation agreements.
Through the MOU, the cities agreed to exchange information between economic development agencies
on international economic development and business issues; facilitate communications between other
organizations (e.g. chambers of commerce, professional and industry organizations); promote collaboration and
communications with regards to life sciences, agri-food, and transportation sectors and organizations; facilitate
trade and businesses development efforts between governments, organize trade missions; and collaboratively
work on initiatives associated with the Mid-Continent Trade Corridor. Though the partnership has become
dormant in recent years, it represents a framework for the development of new partnerships focused on economic
development. The city and its economic development partners need to ensure that the momentum and efforts
behind these partnerships are maintained over the longer term.
The city does not necessarily need to exclude domestic or regional partners either. As noted previously, the increasing
regionalization of economic development and global competitiveness mandates that a community create a strong
regional network. From that perspective, partnership with communities along Canadas Asia-Pacific Gateway Corridor
Initiative may make sense (e.g. Prince Rupert, Delta, or Vancouver) to improve prospects along Canadas busiest
trade route. This includes export to international destinations or other communities in Canada through domestic
repositioning. Similarly, Winnipeg may wish to look east (e.g. Toronto, Montreal), north (e.g. Churchill), or south (e.g.
hubs along BNSF lines) to build closer relationships with North Americas other existing and emerging trade hubs.
Winnipeg has professional and technical capabilities in logistics, resource development, and non-residential/civil
construction that can provide a basis for further engagement of partners in areas like Northwestern Ontario, in order to
build value-added opportunities related to resource development (e.g. Premier Gold, Ring of Fire). Communities like
Thunder Bay, Marathon, Greenstone, or Sudbury may prove to be beneficial partners.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

41

Winnipeg has a range of strategic partnership opportunities that may be explored. International or domestic
partners can be examined based on sector- or initiative-based partnerships. The partnerships are not limited
to the city either. Winnipeg has a strong profile of economic development organizations which may lead the
development of these partnerships. The key to these connections is articulating a mutually beneficial value
proposition for the potential partner that Winnipeg has the capability to deliver on.

3.2

SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Economic development is now generally more concerned with human capital and the skills of the resident
workforce than availability of raw materials. As a result, emphasis is being placed on creating better places for
people rather than just business. Included is the full range of infrastructure and services which contribute to
individual prosperity - ranging from the basic services like housing, transportation, and water, to more progressive
services like immigrant support and integration services. The more globally-oriented competition for talent
demands that a place have this full range of high quality services but also the assets and amenities that can
differentiate it from other global competitors.
The importance of human capital also suggests that the most successful communities must leverage the skills, values,
and capabilities of their local population. Skill development has becomes a priority for providing the entire population
with the tools necessary to engage in the economy and drive personal and community prosperity. Economic
development should not be considered a success if social or environmental challenges persist despite economic
growth. As a major metropolitan area in Canada, Winnipeg has a responsibility to ensure that development benefits
everyone. This is especially challenging given the emphasis now placed on the need for highly skilled people and the
hollowing out of traditional industries that provided stable employment opportunities.
Developed economies are also exhibiting slower rates of population growth and a generally aging population.
Many are struggling with how best to replace their skilled workers, especially given that the skills of a communitys
workforce are now more important than ever to economic development prospects. Immigration has provided an
answer for Manitoba. New residents have provided a steady stream of new skills, experiences, and international
connections that can benefit the province and Winnipeg, provided the quality of life and community can continue
to match the needs of those new residents.
The new economic development plan recognizes the interdependence of economic, social, and environmental
goals and challenges. The plan suggests that in connecting with new areas of opportunity, especially within
a more global and dynamic economy, a city needs to have a strong foundation of programming and services
delivered and focused locally. In doing so, the community supports its own population, but also builds a strong
value proposition that can welcome newcomers as well.

3.2.1

QUALITY OF LIFE AND COMPLETE COMMUNITIES

Quality of life is a pillar of OurWinnipeg. This promotes the understanding that if Winnipeg is to achieve prosperity it
needs to place a greater emphasis on creating a high quality of life and urban spaces that can appeal to a broad range
of demographic groups. It proposes an urban structure to achieve that goal, in the form of creating more complete
communities that can better respond to the every-day needs of the neighbourhood population.
OurWinnipeg and the accompanying Complete Communities direction strategy outline the city-wide policies
related to quality of life improvement. They are first and foremost centred on creating a city that works
where city systems and services operate in an efficient and networked way. Prominent themes also include the
integration of development with a sustainable transportation network and support for major transportation
assets, accommodating growth in sustainable ways in new and complete communities, redeveloping older
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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

and transformative areas to achieve higher quality development, and providing recreational, cultural, and
social services that ensure the health and safety of the population. Understanding that quality of life is a critical
component of city-building, the plan notes that access to services for disadvantaged communities, the aging
population, and the citys newcomers is a critical aspect, and calls on organizations ranging from the City to
neighbourhood level to improve quality of life.
OurWinnipeg notes that the downtown area is one of the citys key transformative areas, offering one of the best
opportunities in the city to create a complete, mixed-use, higher-density neighbourhood that promotes the core
sustainability goals of the MDP. Intensification and redevelopment are the key priorities for the downtown, in an effort
to make the most efficient use of land and existing infrastructure. The MDP directs a focused district, destination,
and cluster approach to development in the downtown core that seeks to provide predictability and certainty for
investment, increases the variety of complementary experiences and opportunities, and helps achieve a critical mass
of people-oriented activities in the downtown core. From an economic development perspective, the downtown
is intended to accommodate a range of residential, commercial office, and retail and entertainment uses and the
City is permitted to undertake strategic use of incentives (e.g. tax increment financing), focused public realm and
transportation improvements, and development of partnerships with government and academic officials and other
agency partners to encourage those types of development in the downtown core.
There are a number of key elements central to the revitalization of downtown Winnipeg:

The historical Exchange District of downtown has experienced continued momentum, on the back of
significant investment from the public sector, such as the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute (Red River
College), the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority headquarters, and the United Way building.

The Portage Avenue Development Strategy, including the MTS Centre, the Winnipeg Convention Centre,
and the University of Winnipeg, as well as the citys Sports Hospitality and Entertainment District (SHED).

The $75 million Groupe Germain/Longboat Development Corporation project across from the MTS Centre (the
former A&B Sound site) further anchoring commercial and hospitality investment in the SHED - the project will
house a 154-room ALT Hotel, as well as the Winnipeg offices of Stantec, retail/restaurant space on the ground floor,
and parking facilities. The expansion of the Winnipeg Convention Centre is expected to be complete in 2015.

The Community Revitalization Tax Increment Financing Act (2009), which allows CentreVenture to
undertake programs and administer grants based on incremental tax increases in the downtown. Grants
can be administered to encourage residential development in the downtown (Downtown Residential
Development Grant Program), particularly that which accomplishes the Citys goals.

The involvement of the University of Winnipeg and Red River College in terms of increased educational
and programming space in the downtown, as well as student residences and campus improvements.

The Forks development, through its profile of year-round events and festivals hosted at the site and its resident
retail uses, cultural amenities, accommodations, and Shaw Park. Public investment at The Forks has assisted
with the continued improvements in urban design in the downtown core, introducing a new standard of
design to the area which has carried across Waterfront Drive and into the Exchange and downtown districts.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights at The Forks is expected to be a national and international cultural
asset for Winnipeg. In addition to attracting tourists from across Canada and the globe, the museum is
expected to drive additional investment to the immediate area.
Together with the basic infrastructure mandate of the City and business-sponsored organizations (Exchange BIZ
and Downtown BIZ) focused in areas like rapid transit and transit improvements, streetscape improvements, and
regular maintenance, these aspects combine to provide the downtown and the larger city with a differentiated
value proposition related to quality of life.
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

43

The Citys priorities in quality of place range from neighbourhood-level to city-wide goals and priorities. Thus in addition
to the City and its economic development agencies and other departments, there are a range of other organizations
that have implications on quality of life. Connectedness around a central vision for these organizations is paramount
to their effectiveness. Winnipegs downtown has a range of organizations focused on its development the City of
Winnipeg, Tourism Winnipeg, Economic Development Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba, CentreVenture, Forks
North Portage Partnership, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown BIZ. These organizations are
informally connected through the Downtown Council, which was initially formed to lead downtown revitalization
efforts in Winnipeg. Given the limited resources each organization is working with independently, perhaps there is an
opportunity to more formally unite these organizations under a central structure that more efficiently allows for the
sharing and pooling of resources.
When looking into other areas of the city though, there are other organizations that may be logical partners in quality of
life improvement. Both First Nations communities and the MMF have opportunities to engage in redevelopment efforts,
with the MMF playing a key role as stakeholder and landowner in the Point Douglas area. Both First Nations and Mtis
partners have abilities to access alternative sources of funding from higher levels of government, and to undertake and
encourage land development in specific areas of the city. Aboriginal organizations and communities in Winnipeg and
the Capital Region can thus play a key role as partners in a range of community-based projects that improve quality of
life. Again, more sustained and regular contact, to proactively identify mutual priorities and goals, is needed to create
economic development opportunity.

3.2.2

LABOUR FORCE CAPABILITIES

Winnipeg has a relatively stable economy compared to the rest of Canada. Over the last five years, unemployment rates
in the CMA have stayed well below those of the rest of Canada, and they are projected to continue below the rates at
the national level. Participation rates - or those of working age actively engaged in the search for work - have stayed
higher in Winnipeg, suggesting initiative in the local labour pool and generally positive perceptions about employment
prospects in the region. In an economy that depends in part on the skills and capabilities of its residents, the ability to
leverage the skills of the entire population is a comparative advantage. This does not suggest that the City has little
need to focus programming on the development of the workforce, especially given that the local business community
suggests a mismatch in available programming and opportunities, and broader demographic trends point to the need
to replace an aging workforce.
Unfortunately, labour force performance and access to opportunity is not always equal. Certain demographic groups
can become marginalized in the labour force; most notably for Winnipeg the immigrant and Aboriginal populations.
The Winnipeg CMAs immigrant population exhibited participation, employment, and unemployment rates of 64.5%,
61.3%, and 4.9% in 2006. The non-immigrant population in the CMA had higher participation (69.9%) and employment
(66.4%) rates, with a similar unemployment rate (5.0%). Though the unemployment rate was lower for the immigrant
population, the lower rates of employment and participation suggest that the immigrant population has difficulty
engaging in the labour force, and has a higher rate of non-participation as a result. For recent immigrants, the problem
is magnified with a higher participation rate (73.8%), but much higher unemployment rate as well (9.8%). Despite higher
rates of educational attainment than the non-immigrant population, earnings levels for immigrants in Winnipeg are
generally below those of the non-immigrant population.
The introduction of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) in 1999 has accelerated the process for allowing
skilled immigrants to move to the province and city, and has been one of the primary reasons for the attraction of new
immigrants to Manitoba. While the program has demonstrated comparable success over other Provincial Nominee
Programs in terms of applicants and integration of immigrants into the workforce, work is still needed to more fully
leverage the skills of immigrants, particularly their family members. The statistics suggest that Winnipegs newimmigrant population is generally well skilled yet under-employed. If the province and city is to retain these skilled

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

workers, more work needs to be done to bring the labour force characteristics of the immigrant population, particularly
the family members of skilled immigrants, more in line with the non-immigrant population15.
Winnipegs Aboriginal population is also consistently under-employed and under-engaged in the labour force. In 2006,
the unemployment rate for the Aboriginal population in the Winnipeg CMA was higher than that of the non-Aboriginal
population (11.3% compared to 4.5%). Similarly, the participation and employment rates show disparities with the nonAboriginal population, at 65.5% and 58.1% respectively for the Aboriginal population in 2006, and 68.9% and 65.8%
respectively for the non-Aboriginal population. The First Nations population had the highest unemployment rate at
17.4%, while the Mtis populations performance (8.7%) was closer but still comparatively higher than that of the nonAboriginal populations.
These disproportionate levels of employment have resulted in higher rates of low-income among Winnipegs Aboriginal
population. In 2005, over four in 10 (43%) Aboriginal people were living under the Low Income Cut Off16, compared
to 16% of non-Aboriginal people. In addition, almost six in 10 (57%) Aboriginal children (aged 14 years and under) in
Winnipeg were living under the LICO, compared to 20% of non-Aboriginal children17. In terms of educational attainment,
there was a considerable disparity between Winnipegs Aboriginal population and non-Aboriginal population. As
of 2006, 12% of Winnipegs Aboriginal population had attained this level of education, whereas the non-Aboriginal
population had a rate of 19%. Similarly, 39.4% of the Aboriginal population in the CMA lacks a certificate, diploma, or
degree (including high school or equivalent) compared to 21.6% of the non-Aboriginal population.
Discrepancies in labour force engagement and opportunity in any demographic group work against the economic
and social prosperity goals of community-level economic development. Further, a lack of engagement from the entire
population misses the opportunity to leverage the latent areas of creativity in the population which may drive greater
global competitiveness for the community. Remedying the situation requires that economic development agencies and
organizations strengthen the links between employers and those that provide the social and educational/training services.
Workforce development is currently handled by a number of different provincial-level agencies, as well as through the
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba Mtis Federation. While informal relationships exist, it is widely noted
that there are still skill gaps in the local economy. Employment statistics suggest that there are individuals in Winnipeg that
may have the desire to fill those gaps. Further, while Manitobas Provincial Nominee Program has succeeded in attracting
skilled workers, nominees that immigrate to Manitoba have among the lowest probability of finding a job in their intended
occupation when compared to the rest of Canadas provinces and territories18. These disconnects should be the primary
target areas for the City and its economic development partners developing plans that establish the current gap areas as
they relate to the City and its employers, identifying the educational and training infrastructure that can be used to address
skills and programming gaps, and working to facilitate the process of a more formalized labour market strategy.

3.2.3

NEIGHBOURHOOD LEVEL INITIATIVES

Neighbourhood-level revitalization continues to be a focus for economic and community development in the
city. This is particularly relevant in a number of the citys regenerative areas and major redevelopment sites, where
OurWinnipeg focuses considerable effort on revitalization and the improvement of quality of life. As a result, these
areas offer strong potential as geographic targets for economic and community development in the city areas where
the city can coordinate and facilitate the efforts of organizations focused on community-level economic development,
poverty reduction, education, affordable housing, health care, and crime prevention. These initiatives are particularly
critical given the potential for older or less stabilized areas of the city to accommodate the most marginalized in the
community new immigrants, Aboriginals, disabled, or the elderly population.

15
16
17
18

Statistics Canada. (2006). 2006 Aboriginal Population Profile for Winnipeg


As defined by statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada. (2006). 2006 Aboriginal Population Profile for Winnipeg
Citizenship and Immigration Canada. (2011). Evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

45

The William Whyte neighbourhood of Winnipeg is one such example. The neighbourhood is tucked into the
citys north end bordered by Alfred Avenue on the north, Selkirk Avenue to the south, Salter Street to the east,
and McGregor Street to the west. Like the adjacent North Point Douglas and Lord Selkirk Park neighbourhoods,
the William Whyte neighbourhood is challenged by chronic low socio-economic reality, and the challenges
that it represents crime, poverty, and unemployment being just a few. Since 2010, the neighbourhood (and
the adjacent Point Douglas and Lord Selkirk neighbourhoods) have been a focus for development, particularly
through the Pathways to Education program and the efforts of community-level organizations, particularly the
William Whyte Residents Association (WWRA). Efforts are focused on collectively addressing the social and
economic challenges faced by the neighbourhood and establishing the organizational connectedness needed
to implement multi-faceted and collaborative strategies to spur development and renewal and support the
prosperity of local citizens. Though community-level and primarily social in focus, programming focused on areas
like the William Whyte neighbourhood (and Point Douglas or Lord Selkirk, or a number of other communities
bordering the downtown) still represents a target for the Citys economic development strategy - through
OurWinnipeg, the City has expressed the need to combat basic socio-economic challenges that keep every
resident from achieving social and economic prosperity.
The City and its economic development partners should lend support to community and neighbourhood-level
engagement, revitalization, and skill development efforts wherever possible. Overall, this means connecting
with the community and neighbourhood-level organizations that focus on poverty reduction, homelessness
and housing, education and training, and crime. In particular, the economic development strategy should lend
support and resources to efforts focused on education and training, in order to ensure equitable access to
educational opportunity, support for continuing education, and the completion of advanced education the
components needed to ensure that all Winnipeggers have the ability to find meaningful work, and thus engage in
the citys economic prosperity. This is one of the fundamental steps to the development of the citys workforce and
the preparation of the city to better engage in the newer knowledge-based areas of the economy.

3.3

EMERGING AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES

Progressive economic development strategic planning requires an element of anticipation. Longer-term


economic, environmental, and social sustainability depends on being able to anticipate trends, and build the
infrastructure and support services needed to respond to these trends as they emerge. This is easier said than
done though, as the increasingly connected global economy continues to show signs of volatility and elements of
uncertainty. Communities can, however, look at their existing resources, assets, and capabilities to assess areas in
which they may have greater opportunities to participate in the future.
The new economic development strategic plan recognizes the importance of identifying emerging and
future opportunities as a means of directing plans for longer term sustainability in the city. In many ways, the
opportunities for Winnipeg build on the larger trends shaping economic development knowledge-based
industries, niche-based opportunities, industry convergence, global connectivity, and regional collaboration.
They also build on the assets that Winnipeg already has access to - transportation and logistics, professional
and technical services, a diversified economy, and component pieces of an emerging innovation and economic
development ecosystem. Winnipeg can target medium- to longer-term economic development activities in the
following areas.

3.3.1

NORTHERN AND RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT

Winnipeg and Manitoba are presently positioned along the Asia-Pacific Gateway Corridor Initiative area and the
Mid-Continent Trade Corridor. The city also has major transportation connections to Eastern Canada through rail

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

and road infrastructure. These connections already provide the city and province with strong market access to
Canada and North America as well as rapidly growing economies in Asia. Emerging opportunities exist to build
infrastructure and trade connections with the Port of Churchill, as a means of opening up connections for the city
and province through Arctic shipping routes.
The idea of an Arctic Gateway initiative has been presented previously as a crucial step in Canadas interest in
servicing the emerging Northwest Passage Trade Route, while reinforcing Canadian sovereignty, security, and
environmental management of the Arctic region. In a preliminary paper presented by the University of Winnipeg,
the formation is envisioned as a T, with the north-south segment running down from the current Arctic trade
routes through Nunavut and Manitoba on the west coast of Hudson Bay. At the cross-roads of major continental
trade routes, Winnipeg represents the major southern terminus of the gateway initiative.
Winnipeg currently has rail connections with the Port, though there are presently no road connections from
Winnipeg or other provincial communities. Churchill primarily functions as an agricultural hub and staging point
for supplying communities to the north like the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut. There is one established, though
dormant, international connection through the port the Port of Murmansk, Russia and the relationship has
largely been based on the import of fertilizers from Russia, with limited amounts of wheat from Manitoba and
Western Canada exported back. Trade development initiatives are handled through the Churchill Gateway
Development Corporation (CGDC), a public-private partnership between the Province and OmniTRAX (the port
operator), which is headquartered in Winnipeg.
Any further development of the Port of Churchill will not be without challenges. The shipping season is limited
to approximately 100 days per year from July to November, while the ice has cleared from Hudson Bay. Recent
warming trends, while extending the season, are also threatening the capacity of the rail link to the port, which
is primarily constructed on permafrost. Despite current connections to the Mid-Continent trade routes of North
America via Winnipeg, few plans exist to expand either road or rail infrastructure to the port. Nevertheless,
increasing human presence and exploration of resource-based opportunity, paired with the opportunities to spinoff economic development benefits to remote northern communities has renewed interest in an Arctic Gateway
strategy. Even opportunities that were unpalatable or perhaps not feasible are seriously being considered in the
pursuit of resource extraction opportunities and geopolitical goals in the north.
Domestic connections seem to be the higher priority in the short term, as the Port of Churchill already services
much of the Hudson Bay region of Nunavut. The City could look to work with its local partners, particularly those
representing the Aboriginal population, to identify opportunities for the distribution of goods to the north while
investigating value-added manufacturing and processing activity that spin-off from that. Any development linked
to the Port of Churchill will require innovative approaches to the involvement of Aboriginal communities in the
area. Preliminary study into the Arctic Gateway notes that the involvement of local communities in governance
and decision making will be key to effectively facilitating development of the port, to counterbalance the failures
and difficulties associated with less inclusive approaches that have been used in the past. Though opportunities
are largely unknown at this point beyond distribution to northern communities, the ground work should be
completed now to ensure that plans are in place to effectively implement a gateway strategy for the Arctic as
opportunity presents itself. CentrePort Canada, as a key hub at the cross-roads of north-south and east-west trade
routes in North America, represents a key partner in the initiative, as well as the CGDC.
Though the Port of Churchill offers advantages over ports along the St. Lawrence Seaway, opportunities for
further connections to European (and Asian) markets appear longer-term. One of the key trends will be climate
recent warmer winters have slightly extended the shipping season, but it is still too short to generate significant
opportunity in Europe. With that said, the port still represents seasonal connections to Russia and the rest
of Northern Europe. As such, there are opportunities to facilitate trade between Europe and North America,
via Winnipeg. Whether domestic or international, the City should work to engage in the gateway initiative as

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47

it emerges, supporting study into present port capacity, upgrades to logistics and technology infrastructure,
potential products for export, potential value-added processing opportunities at the port and along the trade
route, and potential connections with other port infrastructure in Canada (e.g. Halifax) and Europe.
Manitoba has a profile of companies and capabilities related to the oil and gas sector, as well as the mineral
mining sector. Capital expenditures in oil and gas and other mining sectors in Manitoba have nearly doubled
from $323 million in 2005 to more than $700 million in 2010. Total production has grown at an average rate of 10%
per year from 2005-2010 and the value of oil and gas production has more than doubled from $327 million in 2005
to a record $869 million in 2010. The province has particular strengths in mineral mining, characterized by:

Fully integrated mining and processing facilities;


An efficient permitting process with stable, secure land tenure system;
Partnerships between Aboriginal peoples and industry;
Environmental stewardship balanced with industry needs; and
Easy access to geological data.
These factors form the basis of the value proposition for investment in Manitobas mineral mining sector. Manitoba is
recognized as having the second-most competitive mining tax regime in Canada and is annually rated as one of the
top 10 global jurisdictions for mineral development by the Fraser Institute. The Province has worked hard to create a
competitive and viable mineral mining sector in the province, and a stable environment for large-scale investment. There
are currently nine active mines in Manitoba that mine nickel, gold, copper, zinc, and other minerals. As a result of the
strong provincial presence in the sector, companies have emerged in Winnipeg to provide the technical, professional,
and trades-based services required by the mining sector. These companies benefit from the availability of labour in the
city, but also from the transportation infrastructure that allows them to move people and equipment to remote sites
across the province, Canada, and the world.
Though there is continued opportunity in Manitoba, and the opportunity to further drive the export of services and
expertise to sites across the globe, additional longer-term opportunity for the local mineral extraction sector may also
come from Northwestern Ontario in the form of the proposed developments in the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is
located 240 kilometres west of James Bay and northeast of Thunder Bay the current mining developments are 300
kilometres from the nearest rail or road link, and two hours away from major urban areas by air. Initially explored after
juniors and prospectors discovered diamond-bearing kimberlite pipes near Attawapiskat, the expanded exploration
resulted in the discovery of a massive chromite find. This massive mineral deposit is one of the most significant natural
resources Ontario has, and has already attracted more than 50 companies and more than 30,000 claims.
Current estimates suggest the potential for decades of chromite production as well as significant nickel, copper and
platinum. The overall resource estimate indicates that there is enough chrome ore to supply the North American market
for the next 150-200 years. Annual production of chromite from these new deposits could range in the four million
tonnes per year and possibly up to 10 million tonnes when supplying the Asian markets. Further to that, the quality and
grade of the chromite is superior when compared to other world producers.
As with most remote sites, the location of the projects creates several issues. It is largely un-serviced by roads and
rail and construction is an extremely challenging prospect due to the terrain. Bush planes remain the essential mode
of regional transit, supplemented by waterway travel in small recreational vehicles. There is also limited potential for
value-added activities at the site, and companies will still rely on external sources of expertise and labour to undertake
development as a result of the sheer scale of opportunity and the gaps in available local labour.
Winnipeg may derive a number of benefits from this development, as the largest of the urban areas in closest
proximity to the proposed Ring of Fire developments. This includes opportunities related to equipment and
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supplies, ICT and remote sensing, heavy and civil construction, logistics and distribution, workforce development,
environmental consulting and remediation, and business services. The priority needs to be connectedness with
the region prior to the development of infrastructure in the area. This includes establishing physical connections
to major hubs associated with the movement of people and minerals in and out, of the development, but also
facilitating virtual and business development connections between companies engaged in the Ring of Fire and
Winnipegs mining and resource extraction service industry.
Given the scale of the proposed development, export will likely be a key priority as well. As a key hub along the AsiaPacific Gateway, Winnipeg can engage with the companies in the development to influence the positioning of physical
infrastructure and routing of distribution (e.g. rail lines, marine shipping routes), promote the capabilities of local
companies and labour, and encourage the development of value-added processing activities related to the extracted
minerals in Winnipeg (prior to further export). In terms of partnerships and connections, Winnipeg should seek to
engage with a range of players. Local companies in the sector need to be engaged to further develop an understanding
of their capabilities, or present activities related to the Ring of Fire. The Manitoba provincial government can play a key
role as a facilitator in relationship building with the Ontario provincial government, with the understanding that more
regional approaches to economic development in Northern Ontario and Manitoba can create strong benefits for both
provinces. The City also needs to reach out to the companies engaged in the development, to understand their labour
force and infrastructure needs that Winnipeg may be able to deliver on.
Overall, Winnipeg will continue deriving opportunities related to resource extraction and development in Northern
Manitoba and Nunavut. The local sector has also derived value from exporting its expertise around the globe. In the
future though, the Ring of Fire may represent a significant opportunity for the city and its local business community. To
more fully leverage these longer-term opportunities though, the economic development work must start prior to the
ramp-up of production in the area. As the largest urban area in close proximity to the development, Winnipeg and its
local business and resident community stand to derive significant benefits from these longer-term opportunities if the
city can accomplish this.

3.3.2

INNOVATIVE INDUSTRY SECTORS

In creating an economic development strategic plan it is typical for a community to identify key target sectors as
areas of focus for economic growth. Winnipeg has pursued this approach, identifying 10 broad target sectors of
strength in which the community holds significant opportunity for economic development. However, in and of
themselves, these targets are not remarkable as other communities in the province or country may have identified
similar target sectors. At the same time, each of these targets has a certain logic and strength in the context of
the local and regional economy. A communitys challenge is thus to identify its unique sectors of competitive
advantage where it may both attract and support investment.
The very notion of pursuing and supporting investment in target sectors of the economy is based upon the
economic development notion of cluster development, the idea that industry groups together in nodes of
concentration. These nodes arise where resources are thickest where concentrations of talent, infrastructure,
financial capital, etc. are present and available to participants within the cluster.
Initially, the term cluster was applied only to large and significantly resourced industry concentrations,
particularly the world leaders in given fields (such as Silicon Valley for ICT or Zurich for pharmaceuticals). More
recently, economic development practitioners have taken to employing the phrase in a less grand sense,
and more as a short hand for explaining the potential to grow local economies by building on areas of
concentration and interconnectedness within their own community.
This shift is discussed at length in a range of specialist literature, including Per Lundequist and Dominic Powers
2002 paper Putting Porter into Practice? Practices of Regional Cluster Building: Evidence from Sweden. They
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

49

suggest that economic developers use the term cluster as something of a buzz word that represents a shift away from
narrowly focused firm-based strategies to more holistic regional economic development approaches...
They also argue that this activity, while not clustering in the traditional sense, has proven highly effective in a range of
jurisdictions. This revised cluster theory represents a significant shift in economic development thinking, as it suggests
that a range of local actors not just businesses can play an important role in driving economic growth in these target
sectors. As the US Department of Commerce has argued, Cluster theory also describes how factors external to the firm
impact competitiveness and innovation. It is not just the characteristics of firms that create a truly competitive cluster;
there are regional factors external to the firm that matter as well.
The process of mobilizing these external factors is only partially understood. However, in 2004 Maryann Feldman and
Johanna Francis argued that there are three basic stages of cluster formation. They describe these in Homegrown
Solutions: Fostering Cluster Formation as:

The movement from latent entrepreneurship to active entrepreneurship


The initial formation of the cluster
The development of a fully functioning entrepreneurial environment within an innovative and adaptable
industrial cluster
By linking the early stages of cluster development directly to this latter factor, the entrepreneurial environment,
Feldman and Francis are rooting the cluster in a specific operational environment or business climate of a given
community. This environment is entrepreneurial in nature that is, it is characterized by a thickness of opportunity, of
commercial and industrial interconnectedness, of support structure, and of human and financial capital. The City and its
economic development partners can play a key role at these stages of more entrepreneurial cluster development.
Most communities will have several business sectors where a thickness of resources is particularly evident; where a
concentration of business ventures, community organizations and institutional structures overlap in their areas of focus
and expertise. These are often referred to as areas of local competitive advantage, and form the basis of strategic
targeting exercises in economic development activity. The development of a genuine cluster-growth strategy, however,
is not merely an exercise in identifying areas of strength. It is a more nuanced approach that attempts to articulate
core messages or value propositions about how the configuration of the cluster strengths may be deployed to meet
the needs of business in a way that drives economic growth and increased employment. Looking back to the initial
discussion, it is about building a local network of strength that can compete on a global scale. It is about identifying
specific and tangible reasons why an existing local business, a new entrepreneur or an external investor would choose to
invest or reinvest funds within the community.
On the surface, this is a simple task. One identifies the assets and strengths of the community, and works to build
support structures to aid in the development of these areas. However, the challenge arises in deploying resources
to areas that can be competitive with the hundreds of similar sector-based activities being undertaken by other
communities. What Winnipeg should seek to do is to differentiate the community by identifying aspects or facets of its
clusters that are rare or even unique. It should look to identify key innovation areas in which other communities are not as
well placed to support development.
The solution to this challenge lies in understanding the interactions between a communitys clusters. Many communities
in Canada and the Prairies have a large agricultural sector. Many have a strong history in the manufacturing sector.
However, far fewer have strength in both. From this perspective, each time an additional cluster is identified, the
communitys value proposition to a certain segment of potential investors in strengthened.
This approach to the identification of high-priority and innovative areas allows communities to identify those specific
areas of strength that are complimentary to each other, and thus identify the point or points at which the community
has a regional, national or global competitive advantage. These areas of advantage may then form a key part of the
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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

orientation of services and support in a communitys innovation ecosystem, to both anchor increased internal investment
from businesses and entrepreneurs (latent and active), and attract investment from external sources. At a practical level,
this approach suggests that Winnipegs area of greatest competitive advantage lies in activities that incorporate more
than one element of activity from different target sector strengths. Such concentrations of assets represent areas of
activity where the concentration of industrial, commercial, community and institutional strengths may be leveraged to
present a truly compelling case for the deployment of limited innovation resources.
As the model presented here suggests, each circle represents an area of local/regional strength. Where two circles
overlap, the region has an area of competitive advantage at a regional or national level. Where three circles overlap, the
advantage is significant enough to position the region as a leading destination for investment at the global level. These
can also be considered the key areas of innovation for a community; where the deployment of resources can support
growth of truly unique economic sector opportunities that could be largely unmatched in other communities. In a sense,
these become the high-priority, niche opportunities for the city. The intent is not to replace the target sectors, but rather
to re-orient programming and activities towards areas where the city can derive the highest value for its residents and
business community.
Figure 14: Identifying High Priority and Innovative Industry Sectors

Sector of
Strength

Innovative
Sector
Sector of
Strength

Sector of
Strength

The true depth of the cluster target area and its associated support structures is perhaps best demonstrated not through
this circle exercise, but through a pyramid exercise to describe the full range of businesses and organizations that
will support development of the key innovation areas, if properly networked together. This approach suggests that
the most obvious commercial ventures in a cluster are only the tip of a much larger pyramid, comprised of increasingly
broad layers of expertise, commercial activity and human resource capacity that anchor and support the more obvious
pinnacle (or key innovation area) of the cluster pyramid. This becomes the value chain or innovation ecosystem for the
areas of innovation. As such, efforts targeted at the pinnacle of the pyramid must also be targeted at the layers below.
This includes investment attraction and business retention and expansion activities, but also small business support,
workforce development, and key programs and services focused on innovation. Manitoba BOLD, an initiative of the
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and its industry partners, has focused on the identification and development of
ideas to support key areas of innovation. In many ways, initiatives and programs like this play a key role in building the
strategies focused on the development of each tier of the pyramid. As such, community partners are a key element of
constructing effectively networked value chain supports for key innovation areas.
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

51

Figure 15: The Pyramid Model of Networked Support for Innovative Industry Sectors

Most Visible
Companies

First Tier Suppliers

Service Sector Support

Institutional Strengths (education, government, NGO)

A full pyramid population map would identify areas of excess capacity that Winnipeg may leverage to further
develop key sectors, or areas that are relatively under-serviced, in which Winnipeg and its economic development
partners may be able to expand the range of programs and services that are offered to the sector.
Winnipegs target sector strengths lend themselves to five key areas of industry innovation which should form the
basis for economic development programming and assistance at the City over the medium and long term, as
outlined below. Again, the intent is not to replace sector-based activity, but to further refine sector-based activities
into areas of opportunity resulting from broader industry trends and the capabilities present in the city.

3.3.2.1

ADVANCED MATERIALS

Advanced materials research and development is focused on the improvement of existing materials in areas like
cost, weight, strength, and durability. Advanced materials have applications in potentially all industry sectors,
with much of the existing work being done in aerospace, automotive, construction, and energy applications. As
such, advanced materials development lies at the convergence of a number of component sectors, including
manufacturing (particularly automotive and aerospace), and emerging areas of life sciences, and energy and
environmental technologies (e.g. renewable energy, building components).
The emerging green and environmental technologies industry is proving to be a key driver for advanced material
development. Most advanced materials have inherent green qualities or qualities that make them appealing
to the industry based on its goals of reduced environmental impacts. For example, lightweight materials in
automotive and aerospace industries translate to increased fuel efficiencies. More durable advanced composite
materials have applications in areas like wind turbines. A broad range of manufacturing industries have an interest
and stake in the advanced materials area for similar reasons. The health and life sciences sector plays the role
of adopter and innovator in the advanced materials area, particularly related to medical and assistive devices
(e.g. ceramics in dental/orthopaedic implants, metals in laparoscopy instruments). The value-added agricultural
processing, and related niche bioproducts sector have a more emerging role in the sector, related specifically
back to bio-based materials like plastics, composites, and adhesives/resins/coatings.

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Research and development is most frequently focused on a number of more discrete areas within this industry
convergence, including:

Metals and alloys (aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and titanium).


Synthetic and bio-based polymers and plastics.
Ceramics.
Synthetic and bio-based composites.
The advanced materials convergence area links explicitly to a number of regional and local level strategies in
Winnipeg. The city has undeniable strengths in transportation equipment manufacturing. The life sciences sector
has manufacturing strengths focused on pharmaceuticals, but has more nascent strengths in medical devices and
engineering. Further, the energy and environment sector in the city has strengths in renewable energy systems,
for which advanced materials have positive implications on large-scale structures (e.g. wind turbines) and microgeneration systems. Underlying these industry strengths are research and academic strengths like the CIC, the
National Research Council (NRC), and specialized programming at the citys post-secondary institutions.
Winnipegs opportunity in advanced materials stretches across the later parts of the value chain, including
secondary conversion (e.g. complex chemical synthesis, polymerization) of intermediate chemicals and
components into advanced materials; and final assembly into components specific to industry needs (e.g.
automotive parts, building materials, windmill blades).

3.3.2.2

AGRI-FOOD AND NUTRACEUTICALS

At the intersection of strengths in manufacturing and agriculture, Manitoba and Winnipeg have a strong tradition
related to food processing industries, or the agri-food sector. The city is home to a number of major industry
players in the food and agricultural sector, which generate annual revenues in excess of $22 billion per year. Some
of the most recognizable names in the industry, like Cargill, Nestle, McCain, Maple Leaf Foods, and Pillsbury
have a presence in Winnipeg as a result of advantages related to food manufacturing. As a result, the city has
developed specializations in a number of primary areas of the agri-food value chain, such as:

Pork and poultry slaughtering and processing.


Egg products processing.
Oat and flour milling.
Potato processing.
Oilseed crushing.
Milk and cheese products.
Hay compaction.
Livestock genetics.

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53

While these strengths will continue to be relevant in the future, the existing agri-food industry in Winnipeg paired
with the existing strengths in life sciences and pharmaceuticals lends strength to a value proposition in the areas
in which they intersect: nutraceuticals and functional foods. Nutraceuticals are foodstuffs which provide health
benefits in addition to their basic nutritional value19. These may include fortified foods with nutrients added,
as well as dietary supplements that can be sold in capsules, tablets or powders. The idea behind the use of
nutraceuticals is to extract the naturally existing nutrients that have been identified as beneficial to health and
wellness, and provide them in a variety of other forms and different products20.
Foods and beverages that integrate these beneficial nutrients are also commonly referred to as functional foods,
signifying they and/or their components may provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition, i.e. they contain
bioactive compounds that may have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease21. While
all foods are functional in that they provide nutrients, nutraceuticals contain health-attributes not generally
associated with that particular food. Research in the sector focuses on two key areas:
1.

Defining the functional attributes of traditional foods that are beneficial for health and wellness, and

2.

Creating new food products with those beneficial components22.

The functional food industry, consisting of food, beverage and supplement sectors, is one of several areas of the
food industry that has experienced fast growth in recent years23. It is estimated by BCC Research that the global
market for the functional food industry will reach $176.7 billion in 2013, with a compound annual growth rate
(CAGR) of 7.4% over the next several years. More specifically, the functional food sector is expected to experience
6.9% CAGR, the supplement sector is expected to rise by 3.8% CAGR, and the functional beverage sector is
expected to be the fastest growing segment, at 10.8% CAGR24. It is anticipated that this growth will be fuelled
not only by industrial innovation and development of new products that satisfy the demand of increasingly health
conscious consumers, but also by health claims covering a wide range of health issues25.
It should be noted that consumer scepticism of the industry persists, mainly due to the fact that the benefits
associated with consuming certain nutrient-fortified products are often difficult to detect. The industry suggests
the establishment of a health claim regulating agency to increase consumer confidence and better regulate the
range of claims being made. Strict examination of some of the functional food claims may discourage some
companies from launching products. As such, professional and scientific research in areas like life sciences is key
to the value proposition for nutraceuticals industry activity.
Winnipeg is home to one of North Americas leading clusters of functional foods manufacturers, building on the
provinces profile of companies focused on agricultural and agri-food innovations. The city and Capital Region is
particularly well-positioned with regards to foods that are made from hemp, flax, or pulses (e.g. peas or beans),
and is home to companies like Hemp Oil Canada, Bee Maid Honey, and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods and Oils.
Further, Winnipeg is home to a thriving bioactives cluster - the Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network (MAHRN)
- which is comprised of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (University of Manitoba),
the Food Development Centre from Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development (MAFRD), and the
Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (a partnership between St. Boniface Hospital,
the University of Manitoba, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada).
19 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (2009). What are Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals?
http://www4.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/display-afficher.do?id=1171305207040&lang=eng
20
Nutraceuticals 2008. http://www.nutraceuticals.com/
21 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (2009). What are Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals?
http://www4.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/display-afficher.do?id=1171305207040&lang=eng
22
North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research. (2007). Neutraceuticals. www.aboutbioscience.org
23 Functional Foods: Public Health Boom or 21st Century Quackery? A Review of Regulations and Demand for Functional Foods in
Japan, the U.S. and the UK. (1999).
24 Ibid.
25 Scholan, I. (2007). Functional Beverages - Where Next? Innovation in Functional Beverages Market is set to continue.
International Food Ingredients.
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These assets differentiate the city from competitors in the increasingly competitive sector. Through these
structures, the city has the potential to be at the leading edge of scientific research and development in the
sector. Other cities are home to agri-food processing clusters and life sciences clusters. The further integration of
these strengths and development of programming more specific to the area of innovation will provide a stronger
value proposition for investors in the sector.

3.3.2.3

BIOMATERIALS AND BIOPRODUCTS

Growing environmental and ecological concerns are leading governments to enact new legislation to reduce
societys dependence on fossil fuels and non-renewable goods and encourage the use of renewables. This
societal and legislative change has resulted in the research and development of plant-based and other
renewable, biological-based materials. This includes biofuel development as well. Manitoba is a traditional centre
of biomass that can be used in bio-based applications, which makes the subsector a logical target for the city,
as it can build on the proximity to agricultural products and residues in the surrounding rural areas, but also the
resident capacity and thickness of resources in manufacturing, agribusiness, and energy and environment present
in the city. The agri-food processing strengths noted above play a key role in the development of the sector, as
primary infrastructure needed to develop products further down the bioproducts value chain (e.g. the availability
of oilseed processing infrastructure).
The immediate benefits of using bio-based components in exchange for synthetics or petroleum-based
components seem clear the use of a renewable input stock with higher recyclability will reduce an industrys
overall environmental impact and carbon footprint. However, these are not the only advantages to bio-based
components. Many of the resulting bio-based materials are low in weight and cost, thus reducing overall costs
in production and material usage. Further, the weight advantages can translate to areas like fuel efficiency, which
is critical for electric and hybrid vehicles. Lower chemical input in the production phase reduces health hazards
associated with the manufacture and usage of bio-based materials. Further, it has been found that physical
properties such as flexural and tensile strength can be improved through the inclusion of bio-based fibres and
components in specific material applications, such as composites26. Finally, the introduction of bio-based fuels
(e.g. ethanol and biodiesel) offers the potential to respond to continued concern over emissions and the volatility
of oil prices.
Manitoba has long been a centre of agricultural production, much like Canadas other Prairie Provinces. As such,
clusters of biomaterials and biofuels companies have concentrated in these areas, based on bulk access to
feedstocks. Specific to Manitoba, the strengths in cereal grains and oil seeds, and agricultural, forestry, industrial
(e.g. food processing) and municipal waste residues provide the primary value proposition for biomaterials
and bioproducts development, which is strengthened further by high-rates of productivity per acre and yield
stability in the agricultural sector. Indeed this has been the basis for bioproduct development in the city thus far.
Winnipegs industry profile includes companies like Winnipeg Forest Products and Oi Cellular Furniture, which
primarily focus on bio-based materials, as well as OEMs which have strong positions and investments in bio-based
materials like Boeing, New Flyer, and Buhler. Research-based strengths are added through the CIC. The policybased approaches of the province though, including the Manitoba Bioproducts Strategy, the Manitoba Biofuels
Act, and the Manitoba Biodiesel Strategy, add strength to the Citys position as they articulate the approaches
and opportunities that are being pursued in the province. Winnipeg may not be positioned to drive investment
at early areas of the value chain like primary feedstock production, but the manufacturing and research capacity
in the city and the availability of feedstocks in close proximity make biomaterials and biocomposites a key area of
industrial innovation for the city. Winnipeg and its economic development partners need to clearly identify their
positioning on the industry value chain, and modify programming to support that positioning.
26 Panthapulakkal, S and Sain, M (2006). Injection molded wheat straw and corn stem filled polypropylene composites.

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55

3.3.2.4

INTERACTIVE AND DIGITAL MEDIA

Winnipeg is the centre of Manitobas ICT sector. The city exhibits strengths in more traditional areas of ICT like
computer systems design and telecommunications. The sector is anchored by large businesses like MTS Allstream
and IBM, which provides a stable presence for the city in the sector. However, the key industry trend in ICT has
been of industry convergence over the last several decades, as noted previously. As a result, much of the rest of
the sectors prospects are driven by niche areas of manufacturing, and the opportunities to service the strong
manufacturing, finance, insurance, and logistics sectors of the local economy with specialized hardware and
software solutions. One of the more innovative areas of industry convergence that offers potential for Winnipeg is
interactive and digital media at the intersection of traditional strengths in ICT, and strengths in cultural industries
(like music, film, and performing arts) and education.
Manitoba is home to 125 digital and interactive media companies that together employ approximately 600 people,
and generate revenues that have grown 850% between 2007 and 2010. Web design and development are key areas
of activity for the sector, with capabilities centring on web and mobile apps (e.g. IC Group, ManLab), visual effects
and motion graphics (e.g. Opus, Elemental, Systematic Design), and gaming. Much of this activity has been a result of
available tax credits, the availability of creative industry professionals, industry and professional support organizations,
and sector-specific assistance programs at the local level. The presence of the University of Manitoba and the University
of Winnipeg provide a steady stream of graduates from which the sector can draw on in areas like computer science.
Red River College offers industry-specific training and educational programming focused on new media design web
design, 3D animation, and video and motion graphics. The vibrant arts and culture sector also provides strength to
the industry, with professionals and technical workers skilled in the content creation and production activities (e.g.
performing arts, visual arts) needed to drive the digital content creation and distribution activities of the sector.
Gaps still exist for local economic development efforts. One of the more innovative assets - Fortune Cat Studios,
an incubator for the gaming industry that was operational in Winnipeg from 2006 to 2010 has since closed due
to a lack of private and public support. While the sector continues to be driven by innovative small businesses,
there remains a gap in the local system for support of the sector. Further, access to stable levels of venture
capital and angel investment plague the subsector, as well as the wider ICT and knowledge-based sector in
the community. Winnipeg has the components to foster a stronger interactive and digital media sector, but
development of stronger connections to the institutional and financial supports for the sector are needed.

3.3.2.5

ALTERNATIVE AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

The alternative and renewable energy sector covers the entire value chain of the traditional utilities sector, from
energy generation to energy transmission and support industries. In addition to utilities, the advanced energy
sector is composed of manufacturing, energy and environmental industries, information technology, and agribusiness industries, with each sector adding the necessary specialties to address the construction, management,
and maintenance of renewable energy systems.
The energy and environmental technologies sector is the key driver for the development of renewable energy systems.
The sector offers the technologies that permit the use of renewable feedstocks as inputs to generate energy, while
requiring new systems of energy delivery and management that assist with matching energy supply from diverse
providers to changing demands. Manufacturing sector strengths, particularly in areas like advanced materials,
chemicals, transportation equipment, engines and turbines, and batteries, translate to opportunities related to the
manufacturing of components and processing of biological materials for energy, but also opportunities to harness
industrial waste products (e.g. biomass, heat, or chemicals) for waste-to-energy applications. Agribusiness industries
work at the front of the value chain, offering organic raw materials and biomass that can be used to create both
fuel and energy. Information technology industries provide the technical tools to manage advanced manufacturing
processes to create advanced energy systems, but also the communications requirements of energy producers and

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transmitters to continuously monitor available supply and current demand (e.g. the smart grid), from the increasingly
dispersed energy generation network permitted through advanced energy. At the convergence of these industry
strengths is the alternative and renewable energy sector.
The convergence sector links explicitly with a number of regional and local strategies for economic development.
Primarily it links with the emerging emphasis from Manitoba Hydro to encourage the development of large
and small scale renewable energy in the province. Manitoba Hydro has programming in place to encourage
innovation and development of alternative renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, geothermal heat
pumps, and bio-fuels. This is bolstered by provincial grants, tax credits, and other incentives for electric customers
to invest in renewable energy resources in the province.
In terms of industry composition, Manitoba and Winnipeg have a presence in all types of alternative and
renewable energy subsectors. Manitoba leads Canada in the installation of geothermal heating systems. There
are about 6,000 geothermal systems installed in Manitoba, representing between 25 to 30 per cent of all
geothermal system installations in the country. The subsector is driven provincially by the Manitoba Geothermal
Energy Alliance (MGEA) in Winnipeg, which facilitates collaboration of strategic partnerships to encourage growth
of the industry. In terms of wind, Manitoba is home to a combined capacity of 237 MW, with 200 MW of additional
capacity targeted each year from 2013-2018. Manitoba also has strong solar potential, and Winnipeg is home to
mid-North Americas largest designer and supplier of commercial and residential solar products (Solar Solutions).
There is also potential around biomass applications in the city, due to proximity of major agricultural operations
and presence of industries that can provide primary feedstocks for energy applications (e.g. food processing
residues). Each of the major post-secondary institutions in the city also offer a broad range of programming
focused on environmental sciences, resource management, and biotechnology, which have positive implications
on the development of the sector.
As a leader in renewable energy related to hydro power, Manitoba and Winnipeg have opportunities to build
on this recognized profile and develop opportunities in other areas of alternative and renewable energy
development. The city has manufacturing capabilities related to metalworking and machinery which can translate
into civil and utility structure construction, while the CIC continues to look at applications of composites in areas
like renewable energy system components. Agribusiness firms produce co-products which can assist with the
development of biomass energy products. Lastly, ICT firms offer opportunity to develop products related to the
storage of energy and management of delivery and transmission.
Winnipeg can play a key role in creating the network needed to identify opportunities within the sector,
facilitating opportunities to connect businesses in traditional sectors with partners in the renewable energy
sector locally or abroad. Further, economic development agencies in the city play a key promotional role for the
development of the sector articulating the strong positioning that the city has related to the renewable energy
sector to both Canadian and international audiences.

3.4

INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS AND DIRECTION

The economic development strategic plans of a community must also take into account the structures that
will play a key role in implementing the plans. As noted previously, Winnipeg benefits from a strong profile of
organizations around the city focused on the components of economic development, ranging from traditional
areas like business development, export development, and investment attraction, to more contemporary areas of
activity like downtown revitalization and renewal, workforce development, talent attraction, and improvements to
quality of place. These organizations contribute to what is widely considered to be a sophisticated ecosystem of
economic development service delivery in the city, which has driven the diversification and success of Winnipegs
economy over the last decade. In many ways, it is less a question of increasing capacity of any one organization
in the city than it is a question of how better to organize the ecosystem to support economic development in
City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

57

the city to increase capacity without demand for new staff and resources, which can be difficult to obtain in an
era of more constrained budgets and funding opportunities. The following section offers insight on the current
organizational capacity present within Winnipeg, as well as identifies opportunities for further partnership and
collaboration within the citys economic development ecosystem aimed at increasing organizational capacity,
especially as it relates to the pursuit of economic development opportunity defined in this strategy.

3.4.1

ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY

Economic Development Winnipeg is unquestionably the lead economic development organization in the city.
Through the City of Winnipeg, the corporation intends to increase collaboration among Winnipegs various economic
development players with the intent of minimizing fragmentation and leveraging the expertise of other organizations
to achieve positive results. By its mandate EDW plays the role of network administrator for the city assembling,
managing and maintaining the network of organizations needed to devise and implement economic development
initiatives for Winnipeg. Staff members at EDW are widely regarded as key participants in any economic development
effort across the city, and maintain the relationships needed to ensure a more collaborative approach to the prosperity
of Winnipeg. The organizations public-private nature allows it to access funding from stable public sector sources
and coordinate with local and provincial government departments, while gathering critical direction and funding from
private sector partners that offer insight into the challenges and opportunities within the local economy from a business
or corporate perspective. The structure also provides the organization with a wide mandate for operations, and allows
it to quickly integrate into economic development and tourism efforts across the city especially those conducted by
partners within the Winnipeg Partnership Committee. Further, the Tourism Winnipeg division and the YES! Winnipeg
initiative within EDW provides the capacity for more detailed sector-based and traditional investment attraction/
business retention activities of the city.
Like all government organizations, EDW faces challenges related to fiscal constraints and generating returns
on investments for its primary shareholder the City of Winnipeg. This takes on greater relevance considering
the challenges within public and private sector organizations over the last several years, many of which have
faced radically different prospects for funding and revenue from taxes and sales alike. As one of the key drivers
and facilitators of development and business investment in a community, public and private sector economic
development organizations continually face pressure to ensure that they are generating returns on the
investments made by public and private sector stakeholders. EDW is not different. Its activities and partnerships
have a bearing on the generation of tax revenues for the community, as new business arrives in Winnipeg and
existing businesses expand. As such, EDW (and its divisions) has a bearing on the fiscal sustainability of the city, in
addition to its efforts to facilitate improvements to social and environmental sustainability through advocacy, job
creation and protection, and workforce development.
From that perspective though, it is critical that the baseline tools be in place to ensure the greatest fiscal benefits are
being derived from the efforts of economic development organizations. As noted previously, this includes property
tax revenues and revenues that can be levied on new developments in the city to finance the construction, operation,
and maintenance of the hard infrastructure that allows the city to continue being a competitive location for business
investment. It is here where the capacity of the city, not necessarily EDW, has been challenged.
The 2011 budget marked the first time since 1997 that any type of property tax rate was increased in the city frontage levy
rates were increased by approximately 47%. The operating budget in 2012 prescribed an increase in residential property
taxes as well. One of the major criticisms of this approach suggested that the City did not raise its available revenue streams
in line with inflation to offset the costs of infrastructure renewal. Though this alone would not have offset the full cost of
construction, maintenance, and operations, it could have maintained revenue growth more in line with the growth in costs.
The City is widely considered to be facing an infrastructure deficit of $3.8 billion a figure which caused the City
(with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities) to form the Infrastructure Funding Council in 2010, to assess
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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

options for sustainably tacking the deficit while permitting new growth. For Manitobas municipalities, including
Winnipeg, the taskforce suggests maximizing the use of existing financial tools available (e.g. borrowing, taxsupported smart debt, or special purpose taxes) to finance infrastructure, in addition to working with the
Province to pursue sustained federal municipal infrastructure funding. It is also worth noting that the City of
Winnipeg, along with other municipalities in the province continues to advocate for a share of provincial sales tax,
as a means of addressing infrastructure deficits.
Consultations suggested that the City is currently not meeting this objective existing tools are not being used to
their full extent and other tools may be available to introduce new revenue streams (e.g. development charges). Also,
the Province is most likely to look favourably at additional funding for municipalities only if all other avenues have
been explored, including the generation of revenues with better use of existing tools. It is outside of the scope of an
economic development strategy to address the exact tools that must be in place. Rather, the economic development
strategy should advocate on behalf of economic development agencies in the city to ensure that the proper tools are
in place to fully realize revenues from new development and tax increases that economic development efforts produce.
At present, this should be the highest priority fiscal constraint that EDW can assist with.
Examinations of organizational capacity for economic development in Winnipeg must also include a discussion of
the Winnipeg Partnership Committee (WPC). The Winnipeg Partnership Committee was created to offer advisory
services to the Board of Directors of EDW, in order to forge a culture of collaboration in the pursuit of economic
development. The diversity of the committee is intended to allow discussion and action on the broad range of
issues that impact the economic prospects of the city, and bring together the organizations and agencies that
can create longer term prosperity. The WPC includes business, government (municipal, provincial, federal) and
academic representatives:

World Trade Centre


Winnipeg

Business Council of
Manitoba

Canadian Manufacturers
and Exporters

CentrePort Canada
CentreVenture
Development Corporation

City of Winnipeg
Economic Development
Winnipeg Inc.

Entreprises Riel
IBM Canada
Manitoba Agriculture, Food
and Rural Development

Manitoba Jobs and the


Economy

Manitoba Heavy
Construction Association

Manitoba Innovation
Council

Manitoba Mineral

PCL Constructors Canada


Inc.

Premiers Economic
Advisory Committee

Red River College


University of Manitoba
University of Winnipeg
Winnipeg Airports Authority
Inc.

Winnipeg Chamber of
Commerce

Resources

Where capacity falls short at EDW, the members of the WPC have the opportunity to enhance activities in their
specific areas of concern related to economic development. However, the WPC has been characterized as
primarily focused on networking and information sharing. This still provides considerable value to economic
development discourse in the community, and is a key advantage for the city. In many other cities, this type of
structure does not exist.
Under the new economic development strategy, there is little incentive to modify the WPC. However, there are
opportunities to build on this structure to increase the existing capacity of EDW in working towards the economic
development opportunities outlined in the strategy, especially with regards to implementing initiative-specific

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

59

strategies and activities that leverage the capacity of WPC members and other organizations in the city. The
following section outlines potential opportunities to revise and re-orient the current organizational capacity to
connect to the opportunities in the strategy.

3.4.2

NEW DIRECTIONS FOR PARTNERSHIPS

The WPC provides a strong base upon with to build a more collaborative economic development ecosystem in
Winnipeg. The structure already brings together a wide range of players that have direct impacts on economic
development. However, the WPC includes still only a subset of the full range of organizations focused on issues
influencing economic development in the city. There is room to introduce a number of other organizations to
pursue economic development under the Citys new strategic plan, especially within the three major areas of
opportunity presented above: business and industrial, social and community development, and emerging and
future opportunities.
New community partnerships and collaborative networks should build on the infrastructure of the WPC to
develop a more community-wide approach to economic development. The first step is to use the existing
structure of the WPC to better pursue partnerships and develop initiatives under the new economic development
strategy. Where networking is a primary function of the larger group, smaller and initiative-based working
groups should be created composed of current members of the WPC to better encourage collaborative working
relationships focused on solutions in specific programming areas (i.e. international talent attraction, Aboriginal
engagement, tourism product development, international economic development community partnerships, risk
capital expansion, or innovative industry sector development). The new direction is not focused on formalizing
the structure of the Winnipeg Partnership Committee, but rather using the existing structure as a venue to create
smaller project-oriented working groups of organizations to engage in specific areas of economic development.
Consultations across the city have noted that collaboration on specific initiatives, rather than broader and
ongoing collaboration, is a strength of the economic development organizations across the city. For that reason,
smaller initiative-based working groups driven by the members of the WPC are recommended under the new
strategy.
There are several objectives to the new directions in partnership and collaboration:

Closer collaboration with organizations, businesses, and institutions (perhaps even those outside of
the economic development space or outside of Winnipeg) to build more comprehensive project teams
focused on specific initiatives.

Network and capacity building within the citys target sectors, their associated value chains, and the
innovative industry sectors at the convergence of sector strengths.

Service delivery expansion and enhancement in supportive areas like workforce development,
entrepreneurial and small business support, and commercialization.

Alignment of strategic objectives and actions at organizations across the city and Capital Region towards
common goals for economic, social, and environmental prosperity.

New and expanded funding support and assistance from public and private sector organizations.
EDW and the broader WPC will play the role of network orchestrator maintaining the network of organizations
that make up the WPC (as it does currently), but also the network of organizations, businesses, and institutions
outside of the WPC (i.e. MMF/MEDO, FNPP, BIZs) that can be assembled into small ad-hoc working groups
focused on specific areas of economic development. Again, many of these players may be outside of the city,

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

or perhaps outside of Canada. It will be EDWs task to establish and maintain these relationships to ensure that
collaboration can occur. Once specific initiatives are identified by EDW, the organization should work to facilitate
collaboration between the required players by assembling the working group, and maintain a seat within the
working group on behalf of the City of Winnipeg.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

61

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Strategic
Goals and
Action Plan

Winnipeg has articulated a number of more aspirational goals for community development through the
OurWinnipeg plan. The economic development strategy benefits from the presence of the plan, providing a
foundational land use plan and community building framework upon which to build the economic development
goals, objectives, and tactics needed to meet the social, economic, and environmental goals of the plan. With
that in mind, specific goals have been developed to guide the Citys economic development activities over
the next five years. The goals build on the concepts identified in the strategic directions presented above, and
articulate the specific intended outcomes for the city in each of those strategic areas. The strategic objectives
underneath those goals provide the performance standards for those goals, as well as establish what is specifically
intended to be accomplished. Each of the objectives has been developed with consideration of four general
areas of activity for EDW: increasing and leveraging existing capacity through partnerships, reorienting existing
activities towards new high-value areas, aligning with directions in OurWinnipeg, and becoming a more globallyoriented and connected community.
This document, and the associated goals, objectives, and actions bring a new focus for economic development
in the City of Winnipeg that directs the broad range of economic development partners towards common and
mutually beneficial outcomes, while respecting the significant amount of work that has already been completed,
and the momentum that currently exists in the city. The strategy is meant to prioritize opportunities, and provide
the framework for the City and its partners to achieve high-value results from economic development investment.
The new economic development strategy has three broad goals for Winnipeg from 2013-2018:
1. An integrated and holistic ecosystem of economic development service delivery and programming that
supports the local business community and offers connections to external markets and partners from around
the globe.
2. A complete community that enables economic and environmental sustainability, while allowing new and
existing residents to achieve personal and social prosperity.
3. A well-developed profile of infrastructure, services, and relationships that can respond to future uncertainty and
emerging areas of economic opportunity.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

63

This chapter provides a short elaboration of the goals for Winnipeg, and provides the strategic objectives
and actions that are intended to achieve those goals. These strategic actions arise from a variety of sources,
including those emerging directly from data and research on this project, from consultations with key community
stakeholders within Winnipeg, from reviews of existing action strategies of organizations in the Winnipeg area,
from best practices among external economic development organizations, and from the expert analysis and
insight of both consultants and economic development professionals engaged with this process. Each strategic
action is described in detail below, and fixed to a proposed implementation schedule over the five-year period.
The objectives are each assigned a set of key performance indicators or metrics which may be used to assess
progress on the implementation of the proposed actions.
In many cases, the City of Winnipeg and Economic Development Winnipeg (as well as YES! Winnipeg and
Tourism Winnipeg within EDW) will be the lead on the initiative. Initiatives that are to be led by the City
of Winnipeg are assigned to the City of Winnipeg (meaning the government, administration, and various
departments of the City collectively undertaking the initiative), Winnipeg Planning, Property and Development
(PP&D) (meaning the land use planning division of the City), or EDW (suggesting actions that will be led solely
by the organization and its internal partners). However, EDW will not be the sole economic development
service delivery organization in the city, especially given the need to create new partnerships. As such,
other organizations have been implicated in the plan to offer direction on potential partners to assist with
implementation or capacity expansion.
The action plan is not intended to replace annual work plans and business plans which drill down into the actual
tactics and approaches that will be taken to fulfill the objectives and ultimately work to fulfilling the goals. Rather,
it provides the broad strategic actions that should guide these specific tactics, as well as consideration of when
each action should be integrated into annual work plans at EDW.
To ensure consistency between the Citys economic development strategy and the strategic direction from
OurWinnipeg, each strategic objective for the economic development strategy has been related back to its
foundational directions from the OurWinnipeg municipal development plan.

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

One
Goal One

An integrated and holistic ecosystem of economic development service

delivery and programming that supports the local business community and

offers connections to external markets and partners from around the globe.

Winnipeg is already home to a strong profile of organizations providing a full spectrum of services and programs
focused on economic development. However, generating economic development and prosperity in an
increasingly connected world requires a more collaborative and networked approach from communities.
OurWinnipeg directs the City to create a more effectively networked system of services and organizations to
support the prosperity of the community. In part, this relies on the maintenance of strong intergovernmental
cooperation, such as with the Province, other local governments (across the region and across the world),
Aboriginal governments and organizations, and the broad range of organizations that have an influence on areas
like crime prevention, infrastructure renewal, taxation, regulatory overlap, and regional economic development.
The networked system also depends on recognition and identification of public, private and community
partners that have an influence on economic development, with the intent of collaborating with the full profile
of those partners to leverage and advance economic advantages in the city and region (e.g. cultural diversity,
corporate profile, higher education and research institutes, and multimodal transportation infrastructure). This
strategic direction forms the basis for the goal of a more holistic and integrated ecosystem of service delivery
and programming. However, the goals are also meant to support quality of life improvements for international
newcomers and Aboriginals, support the generation of new local employment, increase productivity in local
industries, and support more regional, efficient, and focused approaches to economic development.
The achievement of the goal requires a multi-faceted approach. It is rooted in the fact that the city has
opportunities to support economic development in a number of more traditional business and industrial areas:

Through its business community and the multinational, export-oriented, and trade-focused businesses
and organizations that already call the city home. The economic strengths of the city based on its business
community can also provide the basis for stronger educational or trade partnerships with other communities.

Through growing national and ethnic communities and organizations in the city. The connections to
countries of origin may produce new opportunities for trade, the attraction of skilled immigrants, or the
development of sister cities or cultural partnerships.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

65

Through existing multimodal infrastructure, which offers physical ties to other areas of Canada and
the world that can represent new opportunities for trade, export, investment, cultural exchange, and
information sharing.

Through research and academic organizations present in the community, which offer the potential to
engage in a broader global discourse in a range of academic and practical issues, while promoting
and improving the visibility of the city on a global scale and offering opportunities to access a global
knowledge-base to which these organizations have access to.

Through regional government partners, higher levels of government, and Aboriginal organizations that
have mutual goals for economic development, social prosperity of the people they represent, and a
stronger Capital Region.
Objective 1.1: Establish and leverage connections with local multinational firms, export-oriented
businesses, entrepreneurs, and cultural organizations to establish new or stronger connections
to international markets, attract new private sector investment, and attract skilled workers and
entrepreneurs.
Recommended Actions

Potential Partners

1.1.1

Engage in business retention and expansion activities


to promote the city to external markets and monitor
the potential for attraction of investment from within
the citys existing business base.

EDW, Winnipeg Chamber of


Commerce, Province of Manitoba
(Jobs and the Economy), World Trade
Centre Winnipeg

1.1.2

Engage with business and community organizations


representing Winnipeg`s largest cultural communities
to promote Winnipeg as a destination for skilled
immigrants and entrepreneurs, develop joint
programming and initiatives, and promote business
development services at the City.

EDW, cultural business organizations


(e.g. Manitoba Filipino Business
Council) and community organizations
(e.g. Jewish Foundation of Manitoba)

Establish an annual calendar of trade and sector-based


events and circulate it to economic development
partners and local export-oriented businesses in order
to create informal or ad hoc trade missions and
shared promotional opportunities.

EDW, Winnipeg Chamber of


Commerce, World Trade Centre
Winnipeg, Province of Manitoba (Jobs
and the Economy)

1.1.3

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

1.1.4

Position the city as a leader in agribusiness, nationally


and internationally.

EDW, National Research Council


(NRC), University of Manitoba,
University of Winnipeg, Province of
Manitoba (Agriculture, Food and Rural
Development)

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 3: Maintain strong intergovernmental cooperation. (p. 50)


03-1 Opportunity, Direction 7: Develop community directed strategies to support quality of life
for our growing communities of international newcomers. (p. 77)
Objective 1.2: Develop partnerships with key domestic and international jurisdictions to attract
business development opportunities to the city, learn from and exchange best practices, and
facilitate international trade.
Recommended Actions

Potential Partners

1.2.1

Evaluate potential domestic and international


economic or educational partnerships; explore current
partnerships for additional opportunities.

EDW, Province of Manitoba (Jobs and


the Economy), City of Winnipeg

1.2.2

Explore potential Canadian partnerships along


major Atlantic and Pacific gateways, as a means of
encouraging industrial and business opportunities
related to the import and export of goods.

EDW, Federal Government (Asia


Pacific Gateway Corridor Initiative,
Atlantic Gateway and Trade Corridor)

1.2.3

Establish new connections with inland and ocean port


communities.

CentrePort Canada, EDW, Province


of Manitoba (Jobs and the Economy),
DFAIT, Winnipeg Chamber of
Commerce

1.2.4

Revitalize current, and evaluate potential, trade and


information sharing opportunities along the MidContinent Trade Corridor.

EDW, World Trade Centre Winnipeg,


Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce,
Province of Manitoba (Jobs and the
Economy)

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 3: Maintain strong intergovernmental cooperation. (p. 50)

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

67

Objective 1.3: Integrate economic and community development marketing, investment


attraction, and community development initiatives into the activities of Winnipeg`s leading
academic and research institutions.
Recommended Actions

1.3.1

Potential Partners

Establish linkages to facilitate the attraction of sustainable


development pilot projects, and identify emerging trends
in sustainable community and economic development.

EDW, IISD, University of Manitoba,


University of Winnipeg

1.3.2

Work to articulate a clearer positioning within niche


target sectors and collaborate on strategic investment
attraction initiatives.

EDW, Composites Innovation Centre,


Richardson Centre for Functional
Foods and Nutraceuticals, Province of
Manitoba (Agriculture, Food and Rural
Development), NRC, DFAIT, Province
of Manitoba (Jobs and the Economy)

1.3.3

Work to establish stronger links between business and


innovative research and commercialization activities.

a) Identify supports for local businesses implementing


new and innovative technologies.

EDW, University of Manitoba,


University of Winnipeg, Red River
College, Province of Manitoba

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 4: Collaborate with all public, private and community economic
development agencies to advance economic advantages. (p. 50)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 6: Plan for a rising share of employment growth and productivity. (p.
51)

02-1 Sustainability, Key Direction: Establish partnerships with communities, businesses, and
other public sector agencies to achieve joint goals towards a sustainable Winnipeg. (p. 65)

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Objective 1.4: Engage with higher levels of government, surrounding local governments, and
Aboriginal government and non-governmental organizations to access and encourage new
funding opportunities and align economic development activities towards areas of mutual
positive impacts.
Recommended Actions

1.4.1

Collaborate with municipal governments comprising


the Manitoba Capital Region to create a long-term
economic development strategy for addressing global
competitiveness.

Potential Partners

EDW, City of Winnipeg, Province of


Manitoba (Municipal Government),
Capital Region: City of Selkirk, Town
of Stonewall, RMs of Cartier, East St.
Paul, Headingley, Macdonald, Ritchot,
Rockwood, Rosser, St. Andrews,
St. Clements, St. Francois Xavier,
Springfield, Tache, West St. Paul

1.4.2

Pursue intergovernmental cooperation around


Aboriginal economic development and play a
leadership role in identifying economic development
activities of mutual interest.

MMF, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs,


EDW, City of Winnipeg, Aboriginal
Chamber of Commerce, Business
Council of Manitoba, post-secondary
institutions (Universit de SaintBoniface), Province of Manitoba,
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce,
Province of Manitoba (Aboriginal and
Northern Affairs)

1.4.3

Engage local Aboriginal organizations and identify


areas for further business and skill development.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, EDW,


Province of Manitoba (Aboriginal and
Northern Affairs)

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-1c Key Directions for Specific City Areas Capital Region, Key Direction: Acknowledging
that mutual success will come from thinking and acting as a region, the City of Winnipeg will
collaborate with the municipalities comprising the Capital Region to plan for a sustainable,
vibrant, and growing region. (p. 40)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 3: Maintain strong intergovernmental cooperation. (p. 50)


03-1 Opportunity, Direction 6: Foster opportunities for Aboriginal Winnipeggers, particularly
youth, to obtain meaningful employment by building on current civic practices, processes, and
community partnerships. (p. 77)

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

69

Objective 1.5: Advocate for and facilitate new and expanded infrastructure, policies, and
programming that support the development of the city as a key multimodal hub of domestic and
international trade at the crossroads of North America.
Recommended Actions
1.5.1

Potential Partners

Support a multimodal transportation master plan


focused on the efficient intra- and inter-regional
movement of goods destined for regional, domestic,
or international markets.

City of Winnipeg (Property, Planning


& Development), EDW, CentrePort
Canada, Winnipeg Airports Authority

1.5.2

Work with CentrePort Canada and the local business


community to develop pilot projects that increase
the export of Manitobas goods internationally, or
that integrate locally developed container tracking
technologies and innovations.

CentrePort Canada, EDW, Winnipeg


Chamber of Commerce, Province of
Manitoba (Jobs and the Economy),
Province of Manitoba (Agriculture,
Food and Rural Development)

1.5.3

Collaborate on marketing initiatives targeted at


investors, businesses, and site selectors.

EDW, CentrePort Canada, Winnipeg


Airports Authority, local businesses

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

1.5.4

Work with the Winnipeg Airports Authority to identify


and study investment and development opportunities
for corridor development linking air traffic and
passenger movement.

City of Winnipeg (Property, Planning &


Development), Province of Manitoba
(Municipal Government), Winnipeg
Airports Authority, CentrePort Canada

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-1b Key Directions for the Entire City, Key Directions for Connecting and Expanding Our
Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Network (p. 32)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 1: Provide efficient and focused civic administration and governance.
(p.49)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 2: Provide a predictable and cost effective business environment that
promotes investment and growth. (p. 50)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 4: Collaborate with all public, private, and community development
agencies to advance economic advantages. (p. 50)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 7: Create favourable conditions for development that is consistent
with the principles and goals of complete communities. (p. 52)
Objective 1.6: Create favourable economic and regulatory conditions for development that are
consistent with the goals of the City and the local business community.
Recommended Actions

1.6.1

Ensure timely availability and information on the citys


available lands.

1.6.2

Identify opportunities for the City to facilitate new


private sector investments to derive greater revenues
from taxes, development charges and job growth.

a) Determine an appropriate level of tax-supported,


longer-term debt as part of the Citys capital plans.

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Potential Partners

City of Winnipeg (Property, Planning &


Development), EDW

City of Winnipeg (Property, Planning


& Development), EDW, Province of
Manitoba (Municipal Government)

71

Investigate opportunities to accelerate planning


approval processes for strategic private sector
investments.

City of Winnipeg (Property, Planning


& Development), EDW, Province of
Manitoba (Municipal Government),
Partnership of the Manitoba Capital
Region

1.6.4

Pursue provincial endorsement of a growth-based


revenue sharing formula to benefit communities in the
Manitoba Capital Region.

City of Winnipeg, EDW, Province of


Manitoba (Municipal Government),
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce,
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce,
Partnership of the Manitoba Capital
Region

1.6.5

Investigate innovative applications of sustainable


financial and programming incentives across North
America that can be applied to new investment in
Winnipeg.

1.6.3

City of Winnipeg (Property,


Planning & Development), EDW,
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce,
CentreVenture, Forks North Portage
Partnership (FNPP), Province of
Manitoba (Municipal Government)

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 3: Maintain strong intergovernmental collaboration. (p. 50)


01-3 Prosperity, Direction 4: Collaborate with all public, private, and community economic
development agencies to advance economic advantages. (p. 50)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 6: Plan for a rising share of employment growth and productivity. (p.
51)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 7: Create favourable conditions for development that is consistent
with the goals and principles of complete communities. (p. 52)

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Two
Goal Two

A complete community that enables economic and environmental


sustainability, while allowing new and existing residents to achieve
personal and social prosperity.

Winnipeg has the potential to be a model complete community. Its diversified economy and quality of life ensures
that there are a vast array of assets and opportunities that allow almost anyone to live and prosper in the community.
Further, its positioning as a regional centre for population and services largely based on its heritage as a gateway to
the west ensures that the city will continue to accommodate significant shares of Manitobas jobs and population.
OurWinnipeg makes sustainability a key feature of municipal planning and development. This includes environmental
sustainability, but also economic and social sustainability with the understanding that community prosperity will not
be achieved unless all three areas are addressed. While the central focus of an economic development strategy is
usually financial, a sole focus in this area neglects the need to support environmentally or socially-progressive ideas
and initiatives that indirectly affect economic development. This includes community revitalization and quality of life,
workforce development and engagement, and support for neighbourhood-level initiatives that are focused social
initiatives to improve quality of life for the city and its residents. From that perspective, the foundational elements
of OurWinnipeg that lead to achieving this goal are based in downtown and community revitalization, community
prosperity, access to opportunity, and sustainability. The focus is a community that supports environmental sustainability
and the social capacity of all of its residents, equally with economic sustainability.
To achieve the goal of a more socially, environmentally, and fiscally sustainable and complete community, as envisioned
through OurWinnipeg, the economic development strategy recommends approaches from a number of areas:

Through support for organizations that improve livability in the city, including improvements to the
downtown area. The revitalization of downtown Winnipeg remains a key policy area of OurWinnipeg,
mandating a focus on employment generation and quality of life through the economic development
strategy.

Through promotion of the citys sophisticated arts, culture, and natural heritage, as a means of attracting
new residents from across the globe to live and work in the community.

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73

Through concerted efforts to ensure that the local workforce is productive and highly skilled, and new
potential skilled workers are retained in the community. Winnipegs labour force must be prepared to
compete in a new economy, and it is critical that the city attracts, develops, and retains the skilled workers
that encourage the development and retention of high-value employment opportunities in the city.

Through support for organizations that engage and assist the citys Aboriginal and immigrant population
with accessing employment opportunities, upgrading skills, or starting new business ventures.

Through leadership in the identification and integration of environmentally sound and sustainable
business practices in municipal service delivery, while promoting more sustainable practices across the
business community.
Objective 2.1: Establish support for organizations focused on community building activities that
improve livability and vibrancy in the city, and make downtown Winnipeg a key element of the
city`s identity, quality of life, employment, and tourism offering.
Recommended Actions
2.1.1

Potential Partners

Support the phased, district, and cluster-based


approach to developing a thriving and vibrant
downtown.

a) Integrate investment attraction activities focused on


knowledge-based industries.
b) Work collaboratively to facilitate the expansion and
development of satellite educational, incubation, and
research facilities.

2.1.2

2.1.3

2.1.4

74

Identify and support key projects that encourage


and support downtown living, and facilitate strategic
economic and cultural initiatives.

Where necessary, act as a broker, facilitator or advocate


for the City of Winnipeg, in discussions regarding
the assembly of land and the public acquisition of
buildings.

Promote and support the development of downtown


Winnipeg as a world-class centre for sports,
conventions, education, tourism, entertainment and
arts and culture.

CentreVenture, EDW, City of


Winnipeg, Province of Manitoba, postsecondary institutions, the Forks North
Portage Partnership

Downtown Council

Downtown Council, landowners

EDW, CentreVenture, RBC Convention


Centre Winnipeg, Winnipeg
Chamber of Commerce, Downtown
Winnipeg Biz, the Forks North
Portage Partnership, Retail Merchants
Association of Canada

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

2.1.5

Investigate a more formal structure for the citys


Downtown Council to facilitate the ongoing pooling of
resources and efforts.

Downtown Council, EDW,


CentreVenture

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-1c Key Directions for Specific City Areas Downtown, Key Directions: Pursue a focused
district, destination, and cluster approach to downtown development that will seek to:

Provide predictability and opportunity for investment.


Increase the variety of complementary experiences and opportunities.
Help achieve a critical mass of people-oriented activity that is vital to ongoing economic success. (p. 34)

01-1c Key Directions for Specific City Areas Downtown, Key Directions: Facilitate the
expansion of employment and educational opportunities in the downtown seeking to:

Reinforce downtowns role as a hub for business, for learning, and for commercial activity.

Capitalize upon downtowns strategic advantages (p. 34)

01-1c Key Directions for Specific City Areas Downtown, Key Directions: Support the expanded
presence of arts, culture, sports, entertainment, and leisure throughout Downtown together
with complementary services and attractions seeking to:

Draw more people and create more extended hour activity strategically throughout
downtown.

Establish downtown as a place of vibrancy and celebration. (p. 35)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 4: Work with all public, private, and community economic
development agencies to advance economic advantages. (p. 50)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 7: Create favourable conditions for development that are consistent
with the goals and principles of complete communities. (p. 52).

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 8: Encourage activities beneficial to the Winnipeg economy. (p. 53)
02-3 Heritage, Direction 4: Conserve Downtowns rich legacy of heritage resources that provide
significant and sustainable development opportunities. (p. 70)

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75

Objective 2.2: Market the city`s quality of life assets in arts, culture, and natural heritage to
creative and skilled workers, and visitors from across Canada and the world.
Recommended Actions

Potential Partners

2.2.1

Develop and promote a positive and welcoming image


of Winnipeg and the Manitoba Capital Region.

2.2.2

Update and maintain the cultural sector map and


inventory of cultural heritage resources.

EDW, Province of Manitoba (Jobs


and the Economy), Winnipeg
Chamber of Commerce, World Trade
Centre Winnipeg, Partnership of the
Manitoba Capital Region

Winnipeg Arts Council, EDW

a) Identify opportunities to promote the network of


organizations, institutions, and entrepreneurs.

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-3 Prosperity, Key Direction 4: Collaborate with all public, private, and community economic
development agencies to advance economic advantages. (p. 50).

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 8: Encourage activities beneficial to the Winnipeg economy. (p. 53)
03-3 Creativity, Direction 6: Promote awareness of the richness of Winnipegs arts and culture
within and outside of Winnipeg. (p. 86)

03-3 Creativity, Direction 8: Establish Winnipeg as a city of choice for artists and creative
professionals. (p.86)

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Objective 2.3: Create the baseline infrastructure and relationships needed to position the
city for employment growth, productivity improvements, and replacement of the retiring
workforce.
Recommended Actions
2.3.1

Potential Partners

Work with sector-based stakeholders from the


Manitoba Capital Region to determine current and
anticipated skill, productivity, and innovation gaps in
the local economy.

a) Work with post-secondary institutions and local school


boards to develop programming focused on highpriority skill development.
b) Build strong partnerships with other governments and
agencies in support of joint research and innovation
ventures, apprenticeships and internship programs in
strategic industry sectors.

EDW, Winnipeg Chamber of


Commerce, local business community,
Capital Region governments, postsecondary institutions, local French
and English school boards, Province
of Manitoba (Jobs and the Economy),
Province of Manitoba (Education and
Advanced Learning)

c) Support partner efforts to retain existing and


experienced workers in the labour force.

2.3.2

Work with post-secondary institutions to enhance


awareness, reputation, and recognition of the strengths
of the citys institutions.

Post-secondary institutions, EDW

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 4: Collaborate with all public, private, and community economic
development agencies to advance economic advantages. (p. 50)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 6: Plan for a rising share of employment and productivity. (p. 51)

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77

Objective 2.4: Work collaboratively to develop new programming and training focused on
attracting, retaining, and integrating new immigrants and their families.
Recommended Actions

2.4.1

Potential Partners

Work with the Province of Manitoba through the


Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program to retain skilled
immigrant workers and recent graduates, and to
support foreign-born entrepreneurs.

2.4.2 Build connections with cultural communities and


organizations to promote business support and
employment assistance services.

City of Winnipeg, EDW, Manitoba


Immigrant Centre, SEED Winnipeg,
Chambers of Commerce

a) Develop strategies to reduce barriers for new


immigrants seeking skill development and
employment.

2.4.3

Province of Manitoba (Labour &


Immigration) and (Multiculturalism
& Literacy), EDW, local business
community, post-secondary
institutions

Make Winnipeg a centre of excellence in immigrant


engagement and community integration.

Province of Manitoba (Labour and


Immigration) and (Multiculturalism and
Literacy), EDW, Manitoba Immigrant
Centre, Province of Manitoba (Jobs
and the Economy), Province of
Manitoba (Education and Advanced
Learning)

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

03-1 Opportunity, Direction 2: Provide equitable access to municipal programs, services, and
facilities. (p. 74)

03-1 Opportunity, Direction 7: Develop community-directed strategies to support quality of life


for our growing communities of international newcomers. (p. 77)

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Objective 2.5: Work collaboratively to develop new programming and training focused on
providing Aboriginal Winnipeggers, particularly youth, with meaningful opportunities for
education, employment, and entrepreneurship.
Recommended Actions

Potential Partners

2.5.1

Facilitate connections between Aboriginal training


providers and educational institutions as a means of
expanding and enhancing available programming
to match current and anticipated needs in the local
labour force.

EDW, MMF, Assembly of Manitoba


Chiefs, Aboriginal Chamber of
Commerce, Province of Manitoba
(Aboriginal and Northern Affairs),
local business, local English and
French school boards, post-secondary
institutions

2.5.2

Support efforts aimed at increasing educational


opportunities in the province and supporting
enrolment, particularly for Aboriginal youth, new
immigrants and those returning to the school system.

Province of Manitoba (Aboriginal and


Northern Affairs), MMF, Assembly
of Manitoba Chiefs, EDW, SEED
Winnipeg

2.5.3

Support small business development efforts across


the city in an effort to expand capacity and resources
available to support Aboriginal business ventures.

MMF, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs,


Province of Manitoba (Jobs and the
Economy), EDW, Business Council of
Manitoba

2.5.4

Work with Aboriginal organizations to develop a


mentoring program composed of Aboriginal and nonAboriginal business leaders and professionals aimed at
engagement of Aboriginal youth.

MMF, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs,


Province of Manitoba (Aboriginal
and Northern Affairs), EDW, SEED
Winnipeg, Business Council of
Manitoba

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 3: Maintain strong intergovernmental cooperation. (p. 50)


01-3 Prosperity, Direction 6: Plan for a rising share of employment growth and prosperity. (p.51)
03-1 Opportunity, Direction 6: Foster opportunities for Aboriginal Winnipeggers, particularly
youth, to obtain meaningful employment by building on current civic practices, processes, and
community partnerships. (p. 77)

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79

Objective 2.6: Demonstrate visionary civic leadership on the integration of sustainable practices
into city policies and initiatives while working collaboratively with the local business community
to understand and integrate sustainable initiatives.
Recommended Actions

2.6.1

Potential Partners

Advocate for the adoption of sustainable business


practices and initiatives in the local business
community, especially within the area of renewable
energy.

a) Work to identify local and international technologies


that support sustainability projects in Winnipeg.

City of Winnipeg (Property, Planning


& Development), EDW, IISD, Province
of Manitoba (Jobs and the Economy),
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce,
local businesses, Manitoba Hydro

b) Develop methods to support local business in their


efforts to implement sustainable practices.

2.6.2

Support and promote sustainable products and


processes developed by local businesses, or products
and processes licensed to or distributed by local
businesses.

City of Winnipeg, EDW, Winnipeg


Chamber of Commerce, local
businesses

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

03-1 Prosperity, Direction 1: Provide efficient and focused civic administration and governance.
(p.49)

03-1 Prosperity, Direction 5: Demonstrate visionary civic leadership and commitment to


sustainable long-term planning. (p. 51)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 6: Plan for a rising share of employment growth and prosperity. (p.51)
02-1 Sustainability, Key Direction: Incorporate sustainable practices into internal civic operations
and programs and services. (p.65)

02-1 Sustainability, Key Direction: Establish partnerships with communities, businesses, and
other public sector agencies to achieve joint goals towards a sustainable Winnipeg. (p. 65)

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Three
Goal Three

A well-developed profile of infrastructure, services, and relationships


that can respond to future uncertainty and emerging areas of
economic opportunity.

The diversity of Winnipegs business community and assets has served the city well over the last several decades, especially
as traditional sectors of the economy restructured and realigned their processes to match with new economic conditions.
This same diversity of sectors and assets offers the foundation for bold strategic planning over the longer term.
OurWinnipeg outlines a number of strategic directions regarding the type of city Winnipeg should strive to be
over the longer-term. The plan envisions a higher share of employment and productivity in local industries and
labour force and greater support for the creative industries and workers that drive innovation in the community.
Underlying this is the development and application of innovative and efficient municipal structures and activities
that are sustainable over the longer-term, and the alignment of transportation and employment land capital
planning with the needs of productive and innovative sectors of the economy. Further, OurWinnipeg directs for
the development of a more regional and collaborative environment for economic development, matching with
the increasing regionalization of economic competitiveness and the emerging need to maintain a strong regional
network of partners, suppliers, and customers. Along with the diversified economy, these foundational elements
of OurWinnipeg form the basis for longer term economic development strategic planning.
From that perspective, planning for emerging and future opportunities over the longer term in the economic
development strategy is intended to be accomplished through several broad directions:

Through coordinated approaches to infrastructure development, and strategic investment in


communications technology that allow for a more responsive approach to economic development from
the municipality.

Through efforts focused on northern development and goods movement, which position the city as a
knowledge-based and professional services centre for surrounding northern and resource development.

Through the development of stronger capacity to address barriers to innovation in the city, while
encouraging the emergence of new sectors of the economy that leverage the citys existing industrial
strengths (e.g. advanced materials, biomaterials and bioproducts, agri-food and nutraceuticals and
functional foods, interactive and digital media, and alternative and renewable energy).
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81

Through the development of more cluster-based approaches to supporting innovation in the city,
including the development of networked value chains and the development of incubation infrastructure
to encourage small business development and entrepreneurship in innovative industry sectors.

Objective 3.1: Develop more efficient and focused civic administration and governance
that plans for longer-term sustainability, economic opportunity, and innovative technology
advancement.
Recommended Actions

Potential Partners

3.1.1

Ensure capital investment plans are aligned with longer


term planning and economic development objectives.

3.1.2

Create working groups focused on specific projects


developed under the Citys economic development
strategy.

3.1.3

Investigate global best practices in civic engagement


of the local business community and apply
innovative processes to improve City-to-business
communications.

3.1.4

Make strategic investments to promote and


facilitate the integration and sharing of data
between departments and the release of economic
development data for the community.

City of Winnipeg, EDW

EDW, members of the Winnipeg


Partnership Committee

EDW, Winnipeg Chamber of


Commerce, local businesses

City of Winnipeg, EDW, New Media


Manitoba, Province of Manitoba

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 1: Provide efficient and focused civic administration and governance.
(p. 49)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 2: Provide a predictable and cost-effective business environment that
promotes investment and growth. (p. 50)

03-3 Creativity, Direction 7: Grow support for creative industries and entrepreneurs. (p.86)

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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

Objective 3.2: Connect with government, transportation and resource development business
leaders in Manitoba, Nunavut, and Ontario to effectively position Winnipeg as a hub for
industrial and knowledge-based activities in resource development and transportation in the
north.
Recommended Actions

3.2.1

Facilitate the creation of a regional trade and


procurement network.

a) Investigate the potential for municipal partnerships


with strategic communities in Northwestern Ontario
and Nunavut to encourage mining sector activity and
supply chain opportunities.

3.2.2

Create a comprehensive inventory of professional and


technical/industrial services businesses in the mining
and oil and gas sector and the environmental sector.

a) Establish mining and resource sector marketing


materials that highlight the professional and technical
capabilities of businesses across the Manitoba Capital
Region.

Potential Partners

Province of Manitoba (Jobs and


the Economy), EDW, Province of
Manitoba (Mineral Resources),
provincial governments, local mining,
construction, and professional
services businesses, Prospectors and
Developers Association of Canada
(PDAC), World Trade Centre Winnipeg

EDW, Winnipeg Chamber of


Commerce, Province of Manitoba
(Jobs and the Economy), Province of
Manitoba (Mineral Resources)

3.2.3

Create a comprehensive inventory of professional and


technical/industrial services businesses in the mining
and oil and gas sector and the environmental sector.

CentrePort Canada, EDW, landowners,


Province of Manitoba (Jobs and the
Economy), Province of Manitoba
(Mineral Resources), Canadian
Association of Mining Equipment and
Services for Export, Prospectors and
Developers Association of Canada

3.2.4

Work collaboratively with stakeholders to assess the


potential for the development of the Arctic Gateway
through the Port of Churchill, including the upgrading
of infrastructure, new investments in technology and
trade route development.

Churchill Gateway Development


Corporation (CGDC), OmniTRAX,
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce,
EDW, Province of Manitoba,
CentrePort Canada, Province of
Manitoba (Jobs and the Economy)

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83

Objective 3.3: Build out the capacity for education, training, commercialization, and
entrepreneurship in knowledge-based and innovative sectors.
Recommended Actions

3.3.1

Potential Partners

Create full sector profiles and inventories for each of


the citys innovative industry sectors outlined in section
3.3.2.

a) Create sector-based working groups to identify


synergies and establish relationships across industry
sectors.

3.3.2

Work with post-secondary institutions to create local


centres of excellence within the citys innovative
industry sectors (renewable energy, nutraceuticals,
bioproducts (biocomposites)).

a) Attract internationally-recognized faculty and create


specialized programming to develop the skillsets and
labour force required.

3.3.3

84

Support efforts to develop strategies focused on


innovation in high growth and export-oriented SMEs.

EDW, sector associations

Post-secondary institutions,
sector-based working groups (e.g.
Composites Innovation Centre, New
Media Manitoba), EDW, Winnipeg
Chamber of Commerce

Manitoba Innovation Council, EDW,


Province of Manitoba (Jobs and
the Economy), World Trade Centre
Winnipeg

City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

3.3.4

Work to identify and address barriers to innovation and


commercialization.

a) Assist with the integration of locally developed and


available ICT applications into non-ICT sectors of the
local economy.

3.3.5

Manitoba Innovation Council, EDW,


Province of Manitoba (Jobs and the
Economy), post-secondary institutions,
Information Communication
Technologies Association of Manitoba
(ICTAM)

Connect with small business support organizations,


research organizations, and post-secondary institutions
to identify a robust pipeline of innovative research
projects and researchers.

a) Evaluate local and regional venture capital and angel


investment opportunities to identify gaps in local
availability.
b) Identify and connect with external venture capital
and angel investment networks focused on the citys
innovative industry sectors.

EDW, post-secondary institutions


and research and commercialization
structures, NRC, Province of Manitoba
(Jobs and the Economy)

a) Work with the Province of Manitoba to create small


investment programs to spur private investment, or
incentives for early-stage investment in innovative
companies and entrepreneurs.

Foundational Strategic Direction from OurWinnipeg:

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 3: Maintain strong intergovernmental cooperation. (p. 50)


01-3 Prosperity, Direction 4: Collaborate with all public, private, and community economic
development agencies to advance economic advantages. (p. 50)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 6: Plan for a rising share of employment growth and productivity. (p.
51)

03-3 Creativity, Direction 7: Grow support for creative industries and entrepreneurs. (p.86)

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85

Objective 3.4: Develop cluster-based initiatives in the city`s innovative industry sectors
through value chain development, cross-sectoral collaboration, physical spaces, and support for
innovative public and private research and development.
Recommended Actions
3.4.1

Potential Partners

Establish business networks and investment attraction


initiatives focused on the high-value suppliers to
multiple target industry sectors.

a) Establish stronger connections between industries


supporting multiple sector supply chains to identify
opportunities to participate as suppliers to growing
innovative industry sectors.

EDW, Province of Manitoba (Jobs


and the Economy), Canadian
Manufacturers and Exporters

b) Develop targeted investment attraction or small


business support programs to increase the capacity of
smaller industry supply chains.
3.4.2

Building on models developed at Canadian postsecondary institutions (e.g. University of Waterloo)


explore the potential for the development of a suite
of virtual incubation services provided by the City
and sponsored by local businesses and academic
institutions, but without the need for physical spaces.

a) Create an inventory of available incubation services,


to assess any gap areas in business development
programming and services.

EDW, post-secondary institutions,


Province of Manitoba (Jobs and the
Economy), City of Winnipeg

b) Assess the opportunity to develop specialized


programming focused on the citys innovative industry
sectors and programming that can complement existing
services available.
3.4.3

Work with post-secondary institutions and existing


incubation facilities to assess the business case for
additional incubation capacity, and identify the public
or private sector investment required to ensure
sustainable operations.

Post-secondary institutions, EDW,


Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce,
CentreVenture, local businesses

Foundational Strategic Directions from OurWinnipeg:

01-1c Key Directions for Specific City Areas Downtown, Key Direction: Facilitate the expansion
of employment and educational opportunities in the downtown seeking to:

Reinforce the downtowns role as a hub for business, for learning, for government, and for
commercial activity.

Capitalize on downtowns strategic advantages. (p. 34)

01-3 Prosperity, Direction 6: Plan for a rising share of employment growth and productivity. (p.
51)

03-3 Creativity, Direction 7: Grow support for creative industries and entrepreneurs. (p.86)
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City of Winnipeg | Economic Development Strategy, 2013-2017

City of

Winnipeg
Economic Development Strategy | 2013-2017

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