Review the Business Climate

How it's done

The business climate is the general economic environment that local businesses operate in. Reviewing and understanding the local business climate provides valuable insights about the economy, costs, risks, and incentives that may impact the success of your business. This activity will guide you to better understand the business climate in Winnipeg and help you answer the following fundamental questions.

What is the business climate in Winnipeg?

We have compiled the most important aspects of Winnipeg’s business climate as an interactive dashboard below. This dashboard provides valuable economic, resident, household, dwelling and development indicators that may influence the success of your business.

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Resident Indicator Population Growth Chart

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What costs and assistance should I know about?

Whether you have a new or existing business it is critical to be aware of costs, incentives and grants that impact your business. This dashboard provides you with a snapshot of the major costs of conducting business in Winnipeg and assistance available to Winnipeg businesses.

Affordable and Competitive Taxes

Individuals, businesses and other entities pay the five per cent federal Goods and Services Tax (5%) on most goods and services. Most businesses, including manufacturers and processors, qualify for full input tax credits on the amount of 5% paid on purchases made for business purposes where the firm is not the final consumer.

Manitoba Retail Sales Tax

The Retail Sales Tax is an eight per cent tax applied to the retail sale or rental of most goods and certain services in Manitoba. The tax is calculated on the selling price, before the federal GST is applied.

Manitoba Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy (payroll tax)

The Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy (HE Levy) is a tax imposed on remuneration paid to employees. Employers, and all their associated corporations and certain partnerships, who are permanently established in Manitoba pay the HE Levy, but are exempted if their total annual remuneration is $1.25 million or less. For further details, please see PWC, Tax Facts and Figures, Canada 2018.

Corporate Tax Rates

Manitoba ranks competitively with the rest of Canada when it comes to corporate income and investment income taxation.

Summary table for selected taxes on Corporations in Manitoba:

Income Tax Rate: Canadian Controlled Private Corporations

Income Tax Rate: General and Manufacturing and Processing (per cent) Active Business Income earned in Canada to $500,000 1 Investment Income Tax (per cent)
Federal Rate 15% 10% 38.67%
Manitoba 12% 0% or 12% 12%
Combined Rate 27% 10% or 22% 50.67%

Other taxes

Capital-Tax Rates Financial Institutions [except insurance] (per cent)2 Payroll Tax (per cent) Provincial Sales Tax (per cent)
Federal Rate 1.25% - -
Manitoba 0% to 6% 0% to 4.3% 8%
Combined Rate 1.25% to 7.25% 0% to 4.3% 8%

Source: Price Waterhouse Coopers, Tax Facts and Figures, Canada 2018.


1 The lower rate applies to active business income up to $450,000 in Manitoba, and the higher rate to active business income from this threshold to $500,000.

2 Manitoba capital tax rate is 0 per cent until taxable paid-up capital is >= $4 Billion, after which it is 6 per cent.

Business Tax Rates

The business tax rate in Winnipeg in 2018 is 5.14% of the annual rental value (ARV). This rate is set annually by City Council. For more information about the business tax, please see (How Business Taxes are Calculated).

In 2018, a Small Business Tax Credit (SBTC) sees businesses with an ARV of $33,300 or less receiving an offsetting credit equal to their full business tax. This credit does not include BIZ Zone levies.

Property Taxes

Property taxes are calculated in the City of Winnipeg by applying municipal and school division mill rates against the portioned assessment against individual and business properties. Additionally, Provincial Education Support mill rates are applied against non-residential and non-farm properties.

Municipal mill rates are set by City Council, the provincial government sets the Provincial Education Support mill rate, and the school divisions in the City of Winnipeg set their own mill rates. For more information on mill rates, please see (Statistics).

Business Improvement Zone Levies

Sixteen Winnipeg neighbourhoods have chosen to form Business Improvement Zones (BIZ), as permitted by the City of Winnipeg charter. The BIZ Zones' mandates are to attract new business and economic development to the area, and to lobby on behalf of their member organizations. If applicable, a BIZ levy is applied against the annual rental value. Each BIZ sets its own levy rate and is collected on their behalf by the City of Winnipeg. To see the latest rates, please see (Statistics).

Tax Incremental Financing

Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) is a tool that governments use as a financial incentive to spur economic growth, while minimizing the financial risk for the public sector. The incremental taxes (or increase in taxes) created by significant new development are used to help fund the development. TIF projects must create substantial property value improvements in order to receive funding, with a clear return on investment for the public.

In order to assist businesses in completion of a variety of building projects, and to ensure your project complies with City of Winnipeg Council policies, by-laws and provincial regulations, the City of Winnipeg coordinates land development services through the Planning Property and Development’s Land Development Branch. The Branch will be able to assist the businesses with respect to permits, inspections and zoning, coordinate an application process and approval and oversee implementation, preparation and certification of Development and Servicing Agreements, Zoning Agreements, Subdivision Agreements, and By-laws.

For more information on development project, fees and charges, please contact the city of Winnipeg Planning, Property and Development office at 204-986-5140.

Average hourly earnings indicate the incomes her hour available from employment. The cost of labour in Winnipeg is very competitive across many industries compare to the other Canadian cities, often better than the national average. A summary of these earnings are provided in the table below.

Hourly Rate by Industry

Industry Canada Winnipeg
Agriculture Forestry Fishing and Hunting 20.73 16.78
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction 44.45 43.15
Utilities 38.73 36.35
Manufacturing 25.23 23.18
Wholesale Trade 26.68 26.60
Retail Trade 15.25 14.55
Transportation and Warehousing 25.40 24.98
Information and Cultural Industries 27.08 23.88
Finance and Insurance 29.60 25.83
Real Estate Rental and Leasing 21.88 19.28
Professional Scientific and Technical Services 31.30 27.18
Administrative and Support 17.73 15.83
Educational Services 27.18 25.70
Health Care and Social Assistance 23.05 22.10
Arts Entertainment and Recreation 14.95 15.40
Accommodation and Food Services 11.40 9.93
Other Services(except Public Admin) 19.93 19.70
Public Administration 32.68 30.65

Source: Statistics Canada, 2017

Affordability and frugality are core components of the Winnipeg advantage. Our affordable housing, low utility costs, healthy CPI index and competitive tax rates, means that Winnipeggers enjoy more disposable income compared to other major cities across Canada. In fact, Winnipeg was ranked as the most cost-competitive city compared to the U.S. and Western Canada by KPMG, as recently as 2016.


Winnipeg real estate is affordable, with the housing market mirroring the city's stable and diverse economy. With house prices costing $213,942 less than the Canadian average in 2017, it's easy to see why Winnipeg has a reputation for being a great space to build a career and family simultaneously.

Average Annual Residential Prices, Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas

Canada $509,827
Winnipeg $295,885
Halifax $293,473
Regina $316,201
Saskatoon $336,703
Edmonton $380,089
Ottawa $394,464
Calgary $466,259
Hamilton $555,861
Victoria $652,928
Toronto $823,874
Vancouver $917,162

Source: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Housing Market Outlook, Fall 2018

Rental properties allow for short-term flexibility living options, with available properties across the city. The rental vacancy rate in Winnipeg is currently 2.9% with an average apartment rent of $1,030.

Average Annual Rent, Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas

October 2018
Canada $987
Vacancy Rate 2.4
Winnipeg $1,030
Vacancy Rate 2.9
Halifax $1,066
Vacancy Rate 1.6
Regina $1,041
Vacancy Rate 7.7
Saskatoon $1,024
Vacancy Rate 8.3
Edmonton $1,131
Vacancy Rate 5.3
Ottawa $1,174
Vacancy Rate 1.6
Calgary $1,149
Vacancy Rate 3.9
Hamilton $1,077
Vacancy Rate 3.1
Victoria $1,170
Vacancy Rate 1.2
Greater Toronto Area $1,359
Vacancy Rate 1.2
Vancouver $1,385
Vacancy Rate 1.0

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Rental Market Reports, 2018

Government partners offer an array of local, provincial and national programs that provide financial assistance like tax credits, tax incentives, training assistance, R&D assistance, loan guarantees and wage subsidies. Governments are also active partners through investment in industry-applied research capacity.

Below is a list of some of the most compelling government-administered programs now available to assist local businesses. Other sector-specific incentive programs are offered as well, and EDW's business development experts know them all.

Click HERE for a list of some of the most compelling government-administered programs now available to assist local businesses. Other sector-specific incentive programs are offered as well, and EDW's business development experts know them all

How do I use this information?

Having access to business climate statistics and information is one thing, but it's quite another to use data effectively and in a way that will benefit your business. This next section will help you do just that. Learn how to use this information to make better business decisions.

Monitor the local business climate

On-going assessment of the business climate is an essential part of operating a competitive business. In any business climate, there are numerous factors outside your control that will impact your business, both positively and negatively. The health of the economy impacts all businesses, but small businesses usually feel the effect of economic changes faster than big businesses. Improvements in the economy typically provide a rapid increase in new opportunities for small businesses, while an economic downturn can have a significant and prolonged negative impact.

Unfortunately, you can’t influence the economy, but you can monitor the business climate indicators provided above and then take the necessary actions to minimize risks to your business. Staying up to date with the business climate can also help you identify new opportunities that your business can take advantage of.

Know your costs

All industries are unique and incur different types of costs when starting or operating. Understanding these costs is essential when it comes to setting prices, budgeting and planning for growth or downturns. We’ve provided some of the local costs associated with taxes, development and labour that often get overlooked by businesses. There may be other municipal and provincial costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

Where can I learn more about the business climate?

While we are providing you with a range of valuable information about the business climate, the fact is that there's much more available. In this section we provide you with links to other websites that will supplement our information and help to keep your finger on the pulse.

If you have any questions about the above information please contact our YES! Winnipeg team . There may also be other municipal and provincial costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

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