Written by Chris Minaker, Vice President of Policy and Engagement
Winnipeg is a great Canadian city. Other cities, near and far, can only dream of the assets that we have including a diverse workforce and a diversified economy; a relatively young population; a growing spirit of reconciliation; some of the lowest energy prices (and greenest energy) in North America; a central geographic location and a world-class transportation and logistics hub; a thriving set of industries including ICT, new media, advanced manufacturing, construction, bioscience and ag innovation; and innovative partnerships with post-secondary that propel us forward.
Not everything is rosy, however. Winnipeg also has some big challenges including the homelessness crisis, and demand for mental health supports and addictions treatment; workforce challenges and the need to improve workplace inclusion; the need to improve our infrastructure; and the fact that we are vulnerable to climate change and not doing enough to protect our environment.
These challenges can be turned into opportunities, however, with the right mindset and collaboration between community, business, and government.
Just as environmental, social and governance factors are considered when the world’s leading investment funds make decisions about where to invest, there is a growing realization that issues affecting business also affect our community and the land we live on.
Solving these problems starts by listening to our members. The Chamber conducts regular member surveys and we meet with a group of members we call the “policy pool.” The insights we gather are then researched, backed up by data, facts and evidence, and turned into action and recommendations that we provide to government.
For example, a recent survey of our members showed that 81% want the Winnipeg Chamber to focus on workforce development, 79% want to enhance competitiveness, 77% want us to address the root causes of crime, and 70% would like us to focus on sustainability by addressing climate change and building the zero-waste economy in Manitoba. This is a strong direction and your Chamber will respond by bringing forward constructive solutions based on evidence, data, and business case studies from around the world, and around the corner.
We know that there is a lot of good work that is happening in government and in community, but it needs to be better connected, coordinated, and communicated. Our intent is not to duplicate efforts; rather the Winnipeg Chamber can bring a business perspective to the table and help focus attention on solutions that work.
The Winnipeg Chamber is celebrating its 150th in 2023. As we look back to 1873, The Winnipeg Chamber has always stood for sound decision-making, stability, and service to the community. Recent examples of our community engagement include Leadership Winnipeg (now in it’s 19th year) and the Bold Winnipeg campaign.
But we are looking forward, to a brighter future where we have turned challenges into opportunities and leveraged our assets to become a global city, where everyone can prosper.
If you have questions about this or any Chamber policy, please contact Chris at [email protected]