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MBI Business Brief – August 19, 2022

Minimum wage to increase

The Government of Manitoba announced Aug. 18 that the provincial minimum wage will rise to $15 by October 2023.

“Our government recognizes the financial challenges many Manitobans are facing as a result of global inflationary pressures,” said Premier Heather Stefanson with the announcement. “Today’s announcement delivers on our commitment to making life more affordable for all Manitobans. This phased-in approach will ensure small businesses remain strong and continue to grow while helping workers and their families get ahead by earning bigger paycheques. Our balanced approach to increasing the minimum wage will help workers make ends meet while also recognizing the concerns of small businesses who are struggling during this difficult time.”

The minimum wage will increase from $11.95 to $13.50 on October 1, 2022, and then to $14.15 on April 1, 2023. With the expected consumer price index increase for 2022, the government expects the minimum wage to $15.00 in October 2023.

WestJet announces direct flights from Los Angeles to Winnipeg

On Aug. 17, WestJet announced its newest route in Manitoba and will launch flights between Los Angeles and Winnipeg three times a week starting October 31.

The announcement was made at Winnipeg’s Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, attended by the Honourable Heather Stefanson, Premier of Manitoba; Nick Hays, president and CEO, Winnipeg Airports Authority; Dayna Spiring, president and CEO, Economic Development Winnipeg; and Rod Bruinooge, interim CEO, Manitoba Film and Music.

“It was an honour to attend today’s celebration that is the result of the collaborative partnership between Winnipeg Airports Authority, Economic Development Winnipeg, the Government of Manitoba and WestJet,” said John Weatherill, WestJet, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer. “WestJet is thrilled to be a part of this investment creating a new, direct link for business, tourism and entertainment between these two unique cites, building on our commitment to Winnipeg.”

The new route between Los Angeles and Winnipeg will help support Manitoba’s growing film and television industry, which saw over $364.5 Million worth of production volume to Manitoba last year.

First intake for Arts, Culture and Sport in Community (ACSC) Fund begins

The Manitoba government opened applications for the 2022-23 Arts, Culture and Sport in Community (ACSC) fund on Aug.16. There is $34 million in financial support available for the arts, culture (heritage, public libraries and ethnocultural organizations) and amateur sport sectors. The fund includes three programs for capital projects, community celebrations and small capital and special initiatives. Application deadlines depend on the funding stream.

Delta 9 announces Q2 results and acquisition of stores

Winnipeg-based Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. released its Q2 results on Aug. 15. The company saw net revenue of $17.5 million for the second quarter of 2022, up four per cent from the same period last year. Gross profit reached $4.6 million in Q2 2022, down six per cent from $4.9 million in Q2 2021. Delta 9 reported a net loss from operations of $3.4 million, compared to a loss of $0.8 million in Q2 2021.

“Our team delivered strong second quarter results with sequential and year over year topline growth and improved margins driven by a focus on our strategic growth plan,” said John Arbuthnot, CEO at Delta 9. “During our recent strategic planning review with the Board of Directors, we have identified several proactive growth opportunities to maneuver the current economic conditions by continuing to expand our retail cannabis store network across Canada and expand certain aspects of our business into new markets. Our balance sheet remains strong, enabling the repurchase of $11.8 million in convertible debt in July, while also providing meaningful working capital to support organic growth and pursue strategic M&A acquisitions.”

The same day Delta 9 also announced the acquisition of three retail cannabis stores in Manitoba from 10552763 Canada Corp. under the Garden Variety brand. The stores – two in Winnipeg and one in Brandon, will join Delta 9 when the transaction closes on or around August 29, 2022.

Funding for Winnipeg Airports Authority announced

The provincial government announced $4.8 million in funding for the Winnipeg Airports Authority on Aug. 12 to help improve flight connectivity between Manitoba and international markets.

“Our government is working closely and collaboratively with our economic development partners to identify areas of growth and opportunity and provide strategic investments to help Manitoba businesses thrive and take their operations to the next level,” said Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen. “WAA is a crucial partner to Manitoba’s economy, connecting Manitobans to the world. More convenient and direct flight options will benefit Manitoba businesses’ ability to attract talent and investment and contribute to our economy.”

The funding will help WAA establish direct flight services for key business and leisure destinations, and is part of the province’s $50-million Pandemic Long-Term Recovery Fund, administered by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.

“WAA exists to serve our community and central to that is growing our province’s connectivity to meet the needs of everyone who lives and works here,” said Nick Hays, president and CEO, WAA. “This funding will help us compete in attracting new direct routes or airlines at a time when our industry continues to recover from the pandemic. In turn, Manitobans will benefit from better access while our province’s economy will benefit from more trade, tourism and business.”

NiCAN Limited announced board and executive team

NiCAN Limited, a newly-listed nickel exploration company working in Manitoba, introduced its board of directors and executive team on Aug. 10.

Among the team at NiCAN are:

  • Mike Hoffman, current chair at 1911 Gold, is NiCAN’s new board chair. An experienced mine engineer and executive, he has worked in the Manitoba mining industry for years.
  • Brad Humphrey is NiCAN’s CEO and director on the board. Prior to joining NiCAN, he worked for QMX Gold as the company’s CEO.
  • Shaun Heinrichs joins the company as the chief financial officer, and is the CEO at 1911 Gold.

NiCAN was formed in 2021 and has two projects in Manitoba – the Wine Project in the Flin Flon-Snow Lake area, and the Pipy Project in the Thompson area.

Pollard Banknote releases Q2 2022 results

Pollard Banknote announced its Q2 2022 results Aug. 10, reporting that sales rose to $115.9 million, up 2.2 per cent from Q2 2021. Income from operations was $8.7 million in Q2, down from $12.1 million from the same period last year due to $3.2 million from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy received in 2021.

“Our second quarter results are comparable with our first quarter of 2022, reflecting the strong demand in our main product categories,” declared John Pollard, co-CEO at Pollard. “In particular our charitable gaming businesses, including eGaming systems, and our iLottery operations generated very strong results again, combining strong revenue with effective cost management to produce very positive margins.”

Coming Soon: Kane Biotech Q2 results on August 25, 2022 and The North West Company Q2 results on August 16, 2022.

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