Manitoba Budget Misses Manufacturing Mark

April 2, 2024, Winnipeg, MB – While Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) members were pleased to see positive measures in Manitoba’s budget, CME remains concerned these measures don’t go far enough to address what the Bank of Canada has called a productivity emergency.

The widening productivity gap between Canada and other jurisdictions is driven in part by stagnant investment in the sector, and in turn, negatively affects the standard of living for all Manitobans. Today’s budget contained important social, health and education measures that will benefit all Manitobans, yet manufacturers are still waiting to learn more about the government’s vision for manufacturing.

“Manufacturers understand very well that the economic horse pulls the social wagon” says CME Senior Director of Marketing & Communications Jill Knaggs. “Given that manufacturing is the backbone of the provincial economy, with 26.4 billion in sales that generate 10 per cent of provincial GDP, we would like to have seen a stronger focus on encouraging investment to help our members grow their businesses and create opportunities for workers and their communities.”

Manitoba’s diverse manufacturing economy has long protected the province from steep swings in economic outlook. Availability of hydro-electricity, a skilled workforce and enviable position at the heart of the continent further add to the province’s economic advantage. However, Manitoba can no longer claim to be the low-cost jurisdiction as it once did. With steep US competition driven by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), labour disruptions to critical infrastructure and inflationary pressure, manufacturers are increasingly feeling the pinch when it comes to investing locally.

CME has long called for an increase to Manitoba’s Industrial Tax Credit from 8 to 10 percent and for the measure to be made permanent. Not included in the budget, the credit would have accelerated economic growth in the province and created more good jobs for Manitobans, spurring the capital investment needed to address the productivity crisis the country faces. CME is also concerned about the government’s intent to ban replacement workers, which would disrupt a fair and balanced bargaining process.

While sector-wide manufacturing measures were notably absent from the budget, it did include a $50 million commitment to create a Manitoba-specific Strategic Innovation Fund, which CME welcomes as a signal of the province’s commitment to strengthening Manitoba’s reputation as a jurisdiction of choice for growing businesses.

“CME applauds a fiscally responsible budget and understands the challenge the government faces”, continues Knaggs. “The Kinew government has been committed to listening and has met frequently with CME and our members. While we had hoped to see targeted supports for the sector, we will continue to work with the province to overcome barriers to economic growth and signal that Manitoba is open for business.”

About Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

Since 1871, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been helping manufacturers grow at home and, compete around the world. Our focus is to ensure manufacturers are recognized as engines for growth in the economy, with Canada acknowledged as both a global leader and innovator in advanced manufacturing and a global leader in exporting. CME is a member-driven association that directly represents more than 2,500 leading companies who account for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports.

For more information

Jill Knaggs

Senior Director, National Communications & Marketing

204.612.3372 |