Business and community leaders have been eagerly anticipating the release of a new action plan for economic growth, based on the review conducted by former Winnipeg Chamber CEO Dave Angus and Payworks CEO Barb Gamey. In the throne speech, the government committed to releasing that plan shortly, and we expect to hear more details at the State of the Province address on December 6th.
Ensuring the training provided by colleges is closely aligned with the demands of the labour market was another focus. The government said it will issue mandate letters to colleges, implement a performance-based funding model and streamline the approval process for new training programs, which was a recommendation in the Chamber’s BOLD Manitoba platform from the 2016 provincial election.
Getting more people into the workforce is also the goal of a new initiative that was announced to improve the assessment process for people on welfare. The new system will help identify opportunities to move people into paid work on an expedited schedule.
Other highlights included:
- Introducing a new law to restore the rights of Manitobans to vote on major tax increases, and provide a framework for calling and conducting a referendum;
- Establishing a lead entity to support economic growth and development in the north;
- Delivering a renewed Travel Manitoba tourism strategy;
- Making new investments in capital modernization and training to assist the agri-food sector in capitalizing on global market opportunities in protein extraction;
- Simplifying the tax and royalty structure for the oil and gas industry;
- Modernizing the process of identifying Crown land and property available for sale;
- Working with members of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region to adopt a regional strategy to coordinate land use and development in the region;
- Allowing the safe testing of autonomous vehicles on provincial roads;
While the Chamber appreciates the government’s efforts to streamline its operations, tackle the deficit and modernize the civil service, we would like to see a stronger focus on competitiveness as the government enters the second half of its current mandate.
We’re hopeful the economic growth plan will provide some of that direction, and we continue to push the government to establish a tax review commission to ensure our tax system is as simple, streamlined and competitive as possible.
Director of Policy