Winnipeg’s Economy Moves, Feeds, Entertains, and Innovates

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The City of Winnipeg is Manitoba’s capital and the largest metropolitan area between Calgary and Toronto. Known as the ‘Gateway to the West’, Winnipeg’s geography contributes to some aspects of its economy, while culture and innovative thinking also play key roles. Let’s examine the industries that make Winnipeg’s economy so diverse.

Winnipeg’s Aerospace Industry Western Canada’s Largest

Winnipeg’s aerospace sector is a cornerstone of its economy, positioning the city as the largest aerospace center in Western Canada and third largest in Canada, with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion.1

This industry is distinguished by its comprehensive capabilities in maintenance, repair, and overhaul, and is home to prominent companies like StandardAero, Boeing Canada Winnipeg, and Magellan Aerospace.

Moreover, Winnipeg’s aerospace sector is bolstered by a robust research and development environment. Key institutions like Red River College’s Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training and General Electric’s large engine Research and Development Test Centre are instrumental in propelling the industry forward. This focus on R&D ensures continuous innovation and adaptation to evolving aerospace technology demands.

Advanced Manufacturing Goes Beyond Aerospace

While aerospace is a major contributor to Winnipeg’s advanced manufacturing industry, it doesn’t end there. The city is among the largest transportation manufacturing centres in North America,2 with areas of focus including aircraft and space components, transit electrification, coach buses, fire trucks, and agricultural equipment.

The industry is supported by Manitoba’s relatively low energy costs, a highly skilled labor force, and substantial manufacturing tax credits. These elements, combined with strong partnerships between industry, private sector, educational institutions, and government, create a fertile environment for manufacturing companies to innovate and grow​.

Winnipeg’s Agribusiness Combines Product with R&D

Manitoba is known for producing a substantial portion of Canada’s hogs, soybeans, oats, and potatoes. As a result, Winnipeg is a central hub for numerous leading international agribusiness companies and industry associations. Roquette is the world’s largest pea processing facility, Maple Leaf Foods is Canada’s largest processor of bacon, and Manitoba Harvest is the world’s largest manufacturer of hemp food products.3 These and other Winnipeg-area agribusinesses are strong contributors to Protein Industries Canada, helping to position Canada as a global source of protein products. 3  

Both the city and the province are home to numerous world-class agri-food research and development centers, including Cereals Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission Grain Research Laboratory, and Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre.4

Cultural Cradle: Winnipeg’s Movies and Video Games Industry

Winnipeg is known as the Cultural Cradle of Canada, and this is reflected in the city’s vibrant film and arts industry. This sector is boosted significantly by some of the most competitive film tax credits in the world, attracting a wide array of productions to the region. The presence of these productions not only brings direct economic benefits but also highlights Winnipeg’s diverse arts, culture, and unique architectural landscapes.

Additionally, the city’s creative sector is marked by its inclusivity and diversity. Around 41% of production companies in Winnipeg are owned by women, making it a leader in gender diversity within the industry. This diversity extends to linguistic and cultural aspects as well, with significant contributions from French-language and Indigenous production companies.

In addition to film, Winnipeg is home to many new media companies and game studios such as Ubisoft Winnipeg, who recently expanded to add a new team of online programmers.6

The impact of the creative sector on Winnipeg’s economy is multifaceted. It not only generates direct financial returns but also enhances the city’s cultural profile, attracts tourism, and fosters a vibrant community atmosphere that further attracts talent and investment to the region.

Information and Communications Technology

Winnipeg’s Information and Communications Technology sector is recognized as one of the top emerging tech hubs in Canada. This burgeoning industry spans a diverse array of specializations, with Economic Development Winnipeg listing systems design, health informatics, e-learning, master data management, financial software, security, wired and wireless communications, mobile, web and cloud applications, visual and motion graphics, and video gaming as areas of focus.7

Winnipeg’s accessible housing market make it an attractive destination for global talent who contribute to the industry, while partnerships between academia and industry thrive, fostering a landscape where research and practical applications meet.

Major players operating within Winnipeg include Microsoft, Bell MTS, Canadian Tire Cloud Computing Centre, Imaginet, Online Business Systems, while Farmers Edge, Librestream, and RAPID RTC are rising stars.7

1 “Aerospace.” Destination Winnipeg -. Accessed March 13, 2024.

2 Lizard, Visual. “Winnipeg Manufacturing Industry Information.” Economic Development Winnipeg. Accessed March 13, 2024.

3 Lizard, Visual. “Agriculture Sector.” Economic Development Winnipeg. Accessed March 13, 2024.

4 “Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources.” Government of Manitoba. Accessed March 13, 2024.

5 Lizard, Visual. “Creative Industries and New Media Sector.” Economic Development Winnipeg. Accessed March 13, 2024.

6 “Our Studio Expands with the Addition of a New Team.” Ubisoft Winnipeg. Accessed March 13, 2024.

7 Lizard, Visual. “Winnipeg Tech Sector.” Economic Development Winnipeg. Accessed March 13, 2024.