Today the Province of Manitoba announced that they have awarded a contract to Deloitte LLP to help facilitate a new framework to improve economic alignment and growth. This is an important step forward in the development of a provincial economic development strategy, which is something The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce has been calling for:
“We are pleased the province recognizes the need to make policy and funding decisions based on a strategy. With a strong strategy in place, various economic agencies can then move forward to collaborate and align their collective efforts to deliver the best return on investment for all Manitobans,” says Loren Remillard, President and CEO, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to the eventual strategy, with the hopes it will provide a framework for prosperity, one that all Manitobans can embrace.
There is a pressing need for such a strategy which has been absent for years. Recent data has been mixed, with Manitoba losing over 5,000 jobs in September. While our unemployment rate is the second lowest amongst all provinces, we have a dire need for more good paying jobs. Our income per capita levels are thousands of dollars below levels seen in the majority of Canadian provinces.
While we support the efforts to attract Amazon to Winnipeg, it is important the province also recognizes the real job creators of this province are the small businesses that are responsible for almost 90% of all private sector job growth in Canada. For example, our small business threshold is the lowest in Canada.
The eventual provincial economic development strategy must address the needs of small businesses, and help support the real job creators of our economy.