Manitoba's Strategic Advantages


Manitoba is a developed, diverse and dynamic economy.

Key components of Manitoba’s diversified economy:
Manufacturing | Financial Services | Agriculture | Hydro-electricity | Natural Resources

Manitoba has one of the most diversified economies in Canada, with stable economic growth and one of the nation's lowest unemployment rates.

Although Manitoba is rich in natural resources and fertile farmland, the provincial economy is not dependent on any single industry or commodity. In fact, studies by Moody’s Investors Services of New York have shown that Winnipeg has one of Canada’s most diverse urban economies. This diversity has led to an unemployment rate that is consistently among the lowest in Canada.

The diverse manufacturing base – which includes aerospace materials, buses, building products, machinery, furniture, electronics, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and processed foods – allows Manitoba’s economy to prosper even when prices for cyclical commodities decline.

Our province is a major force in exporting goods around the world. Leading export markets – after the United States – are China/ Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

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Aerospace components, buses, furniture, farm equipment, windows, pharmaceuticals – Manitoba makes it all – and makes more of it all the time.

High productivity and access to a skilled and reliable workforce help Manitoba’s manufacturing exports to grow and encourage export-driven expansion. Some of the more well-known firms enjoying success in Manitoba’s thriving business environment are:

  • New Flyer Industries is the major supplier to the North American urban transit bus market. The company is the leader in bringing new innovations to market, including diesel/electric hybrid technology.
  • Biovail Corporation, is one of the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical companies in the world. The company’s manufacturing facility in Steinbach, Manitoba holds the world-wide manufacturing mandate for Biovail’s slow-release drug products, including Wellbutrin XL.
  • Parker Hannifin Electronic Controls – located in Winnipeg, the electronic controls division of Parker Hannifin designs and manufactures electronic components for heavy vehicle and agricultural equipment OEM’s around the world.
  • Pollard Banknote and Friesens Corporation – These two firms are recognized world-wide for their excellence in the printing industry. Pollard Banknote’s Winnipeg plant prints lottery tickets for clients worldwide. Friesens Corporation, located in Altona, is Canada’s largest hardcover book printer.
  • Cangene Corporation, a world leader in specialty hyper-immune plasma and biotechnology products has been awarded a number of contracts by the U.S. government to develop drugs to respond to potential biological attacks, with recent contracts valued at over $500 million. The firm also produces WinRho, the substance given to Rh-negative pregnant women around the world to prevent potentially fatal Rh disease in their children.
  • StandardAero is one of the world’s largest independent gas turbine engine and accessories maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities.With operations around the globe, it provides a unique mix of management and MRO services to airline, business aviation, helicopter, government/military aircraft, and industrial operators.

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Financial Services

Canada’s largest mutual fund company and largest insurance company are the cornerstones of our financial services sector.

  • Winnipeg-based IGM Financial Inc.has approximately $133.5 billion in total assets under management.
  • Great-West Lifeco Inc. operates subsidiaries in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, with approximately $495 billion in combined assets under administration. Through its Great West Life Assurance Company – Canada’s largest insurance company – and its subsidiaries, it serves the financial security needs of 12 million Canadians.

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Manitoba's rich soil and clear skies – plus the energy and innovation of its agricultural community – allow a province with four per cent of Canada's people to produce about ten per cent of the nation's agricultural products.

Livestock accounts for 36 per cent of market receipts, while crops – including canola, wheat, flax, other grains and vegetables – account for 64 per cent.

But the agricultural sector does more than just produce the raw materials. Manitoba’s food products sector is one of our largest industries, turning primary goods into packaged french fries, cooking oil, and processed meats.

Increasingly, Manitoba’s agricultural products are processed in Manitoba, creating more value-added employment and spin-offs in the construction and trucking industries. The agricultural biotechnology industry is also growing in Manitoba, as researchers strive to develop new crops and new uses for existing crops.

See also Business Facts: Manitoba Economy

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Powered by Manitoba Hydro’s reliable, renewable and low cost electricity, Manitoba has a definite energy advantage in comparison to other North American jurisdictions.

Manitoba has abundant hydroelectric capacity, published rates that are among the lowest in North America, and enjoys high system reliability and superior power quality. Annual industry surveys by Hydro Quebec have consistently shown that Manitoba is the most competitive in terms of published electrical rates for large industrial customers.

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Natural Resources

The dramatic rock outcroppings in Northern Manitoba’s Canadian Shield country are a sign of one of the province’s great natural resources.

Mining is the second-largest primary industry in Manitoba, with $2.5 billion in annual production, directly employing some 6,100 people, particularly in the North. Mines produce base and precious metals, such as nickel, zinc, copper, gold, and industrial minerals like tantalum, cesium, dolomite, spodumene, gypsum, salt, dimension stone, limestone, peat, lime, crushed rock, sand and gravel aggregate. There is potential to mine platinum-group elements (platinum, palladium and rhodium), rare earth elements, uranium, titanium, vanadium, chromite, silica, diamonds and potash.

Manitoba’s abundant lakes are not only recreational resources. They are the basis of a freshwater fishery that annually produces millions of kilograms of fish, including walleye, mullet, whitefish, pike, sauger and a local delicacy called goldeye. Commercial production is exported throughout North America.

For millennia, Manitoba’s wildlife has been a crucial natural resource for the First Nations. It is still a valuable resource, both for the guiding and outfitting industry, and the growing ecotourism sector, which attracts tourists from around the world to Churchill on Hudson’s Bay to see polar bear and beluga whales.

See Manitoba Conservation | Business Facts: Manitoba Economy

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