News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 21, 2017


Create your Success Story in Manitoba's north: Premier

Premier Brian Pallister and Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen today announced the next phase of the Manitoba government’s Look North Strategy, a long-term vision for sustainable economic and business development and growth for the province’s north.

“Northern Manitoba is home to diverse economic opportunities, unique cultural and tourism experiences, an excellent quality of life, an eager labour market and welcoming communities,” said Pallister.  “Whether businesses or investors are looking to move or expand an existing business, have an idea they would like to develop into an entrepreneurial opportunity or wish to build a partnership that will result in economic development and job creation, we encourage them to ‘Look North’ and investigate the untapped potential of this vast region of Manitoba.”

The strategy encourages those from outside northern Manitoba to consider investing in the incredible, untapped potential of the region, the premier said.  It includes a website,, with information on building a business in northern Manitoba, encourages Manitobans to share their vision and love for the north via social media using the hashtag #looknorthmb or by submitting short videos, photos or in writing.

Dates for a number of community roundtables throughout Manitoba as well as three Northern Economic Summits to be held in The Pas (April 3 and 4), Thompson (April 4 and 5) and Churchill (April 5 and 6) were also announced.

"Manitoba’s north is a region ripe with opportunities, particularly in areas such as the sustainable development of natural resources and the expansion of tourism,” said Cullen.  “Look North is an ongoing and in-depth process that will continue to engage Manitobans as we create the environment necessary for the attraction of new businesses and the expansion of existing expertise.”

Today’s announcement builds on Manitoba’s commitment to develop a renewed Duty to Consult framework to advance reconciliation by fostering a mutually respectful relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples, the premier said.  The renewed frameworks will identify more effective mechanisms to address and mitigate adverse impacts on the exercise of Aboriginal and treaty rights.  Manitoba is developing a plan to engage Indigenous communities in the development of the renewed framework, he noted.

A plan is also in development to engage Manitoba’s First Nation communities with interest in increasing their participation in the economic benefits of mining within Manitoba’s highest mineral potential regions, Cullen said.  The input of these communities will inform the mining sector specific elements of the renewed Duty to Consult framework including establishing efficient timelines with respect to permitting, certainty around land tenure and adequate resources for communities to participate in a meaningful consultation process. 

A simultaneous launch took place in Thompson, where Kelly Bindle, legislative assistant, Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade, was joined by northern economic development task force co-chairs Onekanew (Chief) Christian Sinclair of Opaskwayak Cree Nation and Chuck Davidson, president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, who are previewing the strategy during meetings with northern communities and business leaders. 

“Today’s announcement is further proof that our government is committed to bringing new investment, new ideas and new opportunities to northern Manitoba,” said Bindle.  “There is much to love about this region and I am proud to be part of a team that recognizes all the north has to offer.” 

“Innovation and vision are absolutely necessary as Manitoba’s north moves forward in pursuit of opportunities to expand existing sectors and develop new economy-building enterprises,” said Sinclair.  “Our meetings with northern leaders, business owners and Indigenous communities have already resulted in the identification of both challenges and areas for development, and we expect to generate the kind of partnerships that have been successful in many other northern and remote regions.” 

The announcement also highlighted several of the success stories found across northern Manitoba.  From small, unique shops that find their roots in northern Manitoba but maintain a presence in Winnipeg to southern-based businesses operating in the north, there are numerous inspiring success stories found with a direct connection to Manitoba’s north, the premier noted. 

Now in its second year of operation, a Salisbury House restaurant in Norway House has become a great success story, Pallister said.  The Winnipeg-based restaurant chain ventured out of the city for the first time in May 2015, opening a restaurant in Norway House as a profit-sharing economic partnership between Salisbury House Restaurants and the chief and council of Norway House Cree Nation, which now employs approximately 40 people from the community. 

“We have a large vibrant community that is full of opportunity and mutually beneficial partnerships are key to community development,” said Chief Ron Evans, Norway House Cree Nation.  “Our goal is to facilitate new business relationships that are both profitable for business owners and benefit the community.  We believe that our community’s future success depends on a growing business sector that provides new services and opportunities for jobs, experience and training.” 

“Salisbury House is very proud to have established an economic relationship with Norway House Cree Nation.  The restaurant has been successful in bringing fresh food to Norway House and providing training and employment for the community,” said Earl Barish, president and CEO, Salisbury House of Canada Ltd. 

Teekca’s Aboriginal Boutique was first opened in Norway House Cree Nation in 1997 by Marilyn Tanner-Spence (Wawayseecappo), CEO, and Chief Walter Spence (Fox Lake Cree Nation) to provide gifts crafted by the first peoples of North America and to share the history, geography and culture they share.  The enterprise has since expanded to three locations, with stores in Thompson and at The Forks also offering unique art works and hand-crafted items from Aboriginal artisans. 

“The north offers so much in terms of opportunity for businesses to grow or get started.  You really have to look at what’s missing, what do people travel out for, how can you fill that void?  The ideas can start out small but can grow into something bigger,” said Tanner-Spence. 

Frontiers North Adventures is a family-owned business, based in Winnipeg, but operating in northern communities for the past three decades, creating unique experiences for visitors with interests in travel, photography, wildlife and culture.  This business offers an array of experiences that embrace the unique offerings of Manitoba’s north from polar bears to northern lights. 

“We built our business in Manitoba’s north and continue to see ways to flourish and grow here,” said John Gunter, president and CEO, Frontiers North Adventures.  “Through the Look North strategy, we hope that others will discover what we’ve known for more than 30 years, that the northern part of this province is full of opportunity.” 

A northern tourism strategy being led by Travel Manitoba will help inform the Look North economic development strategy by focusing on the tourism opportunities that exist throughout the region, Cullen said.  

“There is significant potential to grow the number of visitors to Manitoba’s north for the kind of immersive experiences that travellers are seeking today,” said Colin Ferguson, president and CEO, Travel Manitoba.  “Beyond the ‘bucket list’ experiences of polar bear viewing and beluga whale watching, we’re seeing greater demand for things like viewing the northern lights, remote fly-in fishing experiences and other authentic northern experiences, particularly in our international markets.  We are immediately starting to develop a northern tourism strategy with stakeholders to capitalize on this economic opportunity.” 

The premier called upon Manitobans to continue to contribute their creativity and vision to the development of Manitoba’s north. 

“The need for economic diversification and development throughout Manitoba’s north has been ignored for too long and short-term fixes have not prompted sustainable development,” said the premier.  “Northern Manitoba is a region with the potential to contribute in previously unimagined ways to our province’s economy.  Look North will engage all Manitobans in a consultative process that will encourage the creativity and vision necessary if we are to unleash the true potential of our province’s north.” 

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