Western Canada has a plentiful resource base, a highly educated population, a diverse work force, and a pro-business culture - not to mention its wondrous natural beauty. The governments of the four western Canadian provinces - Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan - are working individuallyas well as collectively to build upon these resources in order to further develop and diversify their economies. Some of these developments are highlighted below:
Area Development Research Desk (Aug/Sep 06)
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Manitoba Means Business
Manitoba has one of Canada's most diversified economies, helping to make this province the most stable economic performer in the country. It is the only province in Canada to see 14 consecutive years of private capital investment growth, with 2004 growth at a robust level of 8.1 percent. Manitoba's manufacturing shipments increased 10.4 percent in 2004, outpacing the Canadian average for the second consecutive year, while the province's foreign exports grew by 7.5 percent.
Key Clusters Manitoba's diverse economic base is strong in many areas including:
Manufacturing: Aerospace components, buses, furniture, farm equipment, windows, clothing, and outerwear - Manitoba makes it all. High productivity and access to a skilled and reliable work force 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, Biovail Corp., Vansco Electronics, and the Cangene Corp.
Financial Services: Canada's largest mutual fund company (Investors Group) and largest insurance company (Great-West Lifeco Inc.) are the cornerstones of Manitoba's financial services sector.
Agriculture/Food Processing: Manitoba's rich soil and clear skies - plus the energy and innovation of its agricultural community - allow a province with 4 percent of Canada's people to produce 10 percent of the nation's agricultural products. Significant food processors located here include Maple Leaf Foods, McCain's Midwest Food Products, and JR Simplot.
Biotechnology/Life Sciences: Manitoba is home to Canada's fastest-growing biotechnology sector. Growing clusters of research-based private-sector firms and public research institutions give Manitoba an expanding international profile in agriculture and health biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical and diagnostic services. Some of the province's more prominent success stories include the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, which is the home of Canada's new Public Health Agency; Smartpark at the University of Manitoba; the St. Boniface General Hospital Research Centre; and the National Research Council's Institute of Biodiagnostics.
Information/Communications: Manitoba's ICT industry has internationally competitive expertise and products. The province hosts a wide array of ICT companies, including two large Manitoba-based multinationals - Manitoba Telecom Services and CanWest Global. This core strength is bolstered by the local operations of several ICT multinationals including IBM, whose Manitoba operation employs more than 500 people, and EDS, which employs over 300 Manitobans.
Hydroelectricity: Powered by Manitoba Hydro's reliable, renewable, and low-cost electricity, Manitoba has a definite energy advantage. The province has abundant hydroelectric capacity, the lowest published rates in North America, and enjoys high system reliability and superior power quality. A Hydro Quebec survey revealed that Manitoba is the most competitive in terms of published electrical rates for large industrial customers.
Strategic Tax Incentives
Manitoba has implemented numerous tax initiatives that benefit businesses that choose to locate here. For example:
•The corporate income tax rate has been reduced from 17 percent in 1999 to 14.5 percent in 2006, and will be reduced to 14 percent in 2007.
•The small business income tax rate has been reduced from 8 percent in 1999 to 4.5 percent in 2006, and will be reduced to 4 percent in 2007.
•The 10 percent Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit was recently broadened to apply to purchases of both new and used buildings, and machinery and equipment; and the first 2 percent has now been made refundable.
•The Manitoba R&D Tax Credit has been increased to 20 percent of eligible expenses, making it one of the most attractive in Canada.
Manitobans are educated and highly skilled, even by the standard of a country that has the highest postsecondary education rate in the world. Four universities - including western Canada's oldest - and three community colleges, plus a variety of vocational and technical learning centers, ensure that Manitoba's work force is both trained and motivated. Combined with remarkably low employee turnover rates, this commitment to education and training gives Manitoba's businesses a tremendous edge over the competition.
Boeing Canada Technology, Motorcoach Industries, Biovail Corp., Dow Chemicals, Maple Leaf Foods, Standard Aero Ltd., Monsanto, Allstream, Pillsbury, 3M Canada, and Magellan (Bristol) Aerospace are just a few of the multinational corporations that have chosen to establish or expand their operations in Manitoba. Their reason for doing so is simple - Manitoba's combination of low operating costs, skilled labor, and central location is simply too attractive to pass up.