Business Council Of Manitoba: Government budgets provide opportunities

Bram Strain, Business Council of Manitoba

Budgeting in 2023 for governments comes at a time when individuals, and businesses are navigating an environment of elevated interest rates, inflation, and affordability concerns. Amid those factors, each has their own set of political environments to deal with. The provincial government has a fall election to contend with while the Federal government is focused on balancing a minority government. Even with these differences, both the federal and provincial budgets outlined opportunities for Manitobans to achieve economic growth.

Manitoba focused on taxes and economic growth.

The budget outlined the largest personal tax reductions in our history, through an increase in the basic personal exemption and adjustment of the tax brackets. These measures help to keep money with Manitobans while making us more competitive in attracting and retaining a workforce.

A $50 million addition to the Manitoba First fund will have the largest legacy impact for Manitoba. This fund now sits at $100 million and will act as a multiplier to add much needed capital to our ecosystem. Impact was immediate with Manitoba First, announcing their first deal mere days later. Over time, this may well prove to be the smartest investment the province could make, providing a base for countless businesses to start, grow and prosper while providing high quality career opportunities for Manitobans.

The Federal budget was focused on affordability and the green economy.

Of particular interest to Manitoba business is the focus on clean tax credits, power, tech, hydrogen and zero emission manufacturing. When it comes to clean energy, Manitoba has a clear advantage. The hydro advantage. Our basic input into manufacturing is already clean power, we can generate more, we have the rare earth resources to produce clean tech and the inputs for clean hydrogen. There is no jurisdiction better placed to lead in these areas. This is an opportunity.

The budget also unveiled that Winnipeg was selected as the headquarters for the newly established Canada Water Agency. This is an acknowledgement of Manitoba’s leadership in water management and will support all things water, from climate change effects, flood mitigation, water retention for agricultural irrigation to a clean and sustainable Lake Winnipeg. There is an enormous economic and environmental opportunity for Manitoba as we learn to manage and utilize the natural resource across jurisdictions.

Economic Reconciliation was a clear theme for both budgets.

The importance of this cannot be understated. To move forward as a province and a country we need to work in the true spirit of the treaties and share in the economic opportunities the future affords us. True partnerships and the supporting policies and programs are key to making this a reality.

Overall, both budgets provided Manitobans with tools for economic success. There is always room for more, but the general takeaway from both budgets is opportunity. Manitoba businesses and Manitobans are poised to seize these opportunities and make the province the place of choice to live, work and invest.


Highlights from Manitoba business

Stay informed on breaking news, announcements and more right here.