Landing and Settling in Manitoba

Last updated: 28 September 2023

Manitoba Page CV

Uncover the richness and diversity of Manitoba, where vibrant city life and serene natural beauty go hand in hand. 

Enjoy affordable living, quality healthcare, abundant job opportunities, a diverse culture and a welcoming community for newcomers. Read on to find out why Manitoba might be the right move for you.

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    Manitoba, located in the heart of Canada, is known for its diverse economy, welcoming communities, and natural beauty. The province offers affordable housing, a lower cost of living compared to other Canadian provinces, and a variety of industries providing numerous job opportunities. Whether you choose to live in Winnipeg, its dynamic capital city, or in one of the many charming small towns, Manitoba offers a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle for newcomers. Here's a closer look at what you can expect when living in Manitoba.

    What are the benefits of living in Manitoba

    Manitoba, particularly Winnipeg, is renowned for its low cost of living, positioning it as one of the most affordable real estate markets in Canada. Compared to other regions in the country, the expenses related to food, housing, and general living are relatively lower. This affordability extends beyond personal expenses to include business costs, with affordable industrial land, office rents, and electricity rates. Consequently, entrepreneurs and businesses find Manitoba an appealing location due to its cost-effectiveness.

    The economy of Manitoba boasts a diverse range of employment opportunities. Key sectors such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, agribusiness, information and communication technologies, creative industries, energy and environment, life sciences and biotechnology, mining and minerals, tourism, and transportation and distribution contribute to the province's economic vitality. This diversity creates a favorable environment for individuals seeking employment in various industries.

    Cultural diversity is also a prominent aspect of Manitoba's identity. The province prides itself on its multiculturalism, as people from different ethnic backgrounds actively contribute to its rich tapestry of cultures. Manitoba hosts numerous cultural events that celebrate this diversity, allowing residents and visitors alike to engage with different traditions and enjoy a wide range of ethnic cuisines.

    With its abundant natural landscapes, Manitoba offers unparalleled access to nature. Referred to as the "Land of 100,000 Lakes," the province provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and camping. It's diverse wildlife further enhances the experience, providing a chance to encounter and appreciate the natural beauty of the region.

    Housing in Manitoba

    As already noted, Manitoba boast some of the most affordable housing (and general living costs) in all of Canada—both to buy and to rent. Common property types include single family detached homes, condominiums, duplex/triplexes, single family attached homes, and townhouses.

    Much of this affordability is due not just to lower municipal property taxes and low cost utilities, but also to the province’s extensive housing programs—which provides a wide range of subsidized housing options. In addition to a resident’s income, eligibility for Manitoba’s housing programs is restricted to those who:

    • Have a complete a program application;
    • Have a total adjusted household income at or below the rental Program Income Limits (PILs);
    • Are in core housing need (SHRP);
    • Are a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident of Canada or refugee claimant;
    • Have provided a rental history; and
    • Have paid outstanding debt owed to the program or sign an approved payment plan.

    International students and permanent residents who received their status through a family class sponsorship are not eligible for this program. To learn more about Manitoba’s housing programs, click here.

    To learn more about housing, you can visit our dedicated webpages on renting or buying a home in Canada.

    Commuting in Manitoba

    Due to the province’s centralisation, commuting through public transit is often much less accessible outside the province’s main population centre: Winnipeg.

    The two main modes of public transportation in the city are:

    • The BLUE Rapid Transit Line is a recently introduced transportation service that offers frequent and dependable connectivity between downtown Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, and St. Norbert. This line is particularly active during rush hour on weekdays, ensuring convenient travel options for commuters. If you choose to take the BLUE line into the city, there are ample parking lots available at its stations for park and ride purposes; and
    • The Winnipeg bus network, which provides an extensive fixed-route bus service that operates year-round, including late-night service. One notable feature is the Southwest Transitway, a dedicated lane exclusively for buses, allowing them to travel smoothly without interruptions from traffic.

    Winnipeg Transit offers a reloadable fare card known as peggo, which provides a convenient payment option for bus rides and the BLUE Rapid Transit Line. You have the option to purchase and load credit onto a peggo card at various locations such as 7-Eleven, Shoppers Drug Mart, and other authorized outlets. Alternatively, you can order a peggo card online. By registering your peggo card online, you can load any pass or cash amount onto it, ensuring flexibility in your fare payment. Registering your card also provides protection for your card's balance in case of theft or loss.

    There are two types of peggo cards available:

    • Green peggo cards: These cards are intended for individuals eligible for a reduced fare, such as children, students, and seniors; or
    • White peggo cards: These cards are designated for regular adult fare.

    Using your peggo card is simple. Just tap the chipped card against the card readers located at the entrances of BLUE line stations or on the bus. If you have loaded cash onto your card, the cost of one fare will be deducted from your balance each time you tap your card.

    To get more in-depth information about public transport and commuting in Winnipeg click here.

    For more information on driving in Canada, find our dedicated webpage here.

    Employment in Manitoba

    Manitoba has always been a market where skilled workers are in high demand. This was one of the catalysing forces behind the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) one of the first Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in Canada. The program selects workers from around the world who have the necessary skills for the local workforce and nominates them to secure permanent resident visas in Canada to live and work in Manitoba.

    Manitoba welcomes around 15,000 immigrants through the MPNP every year, with most newcomers choosing to live and work in the provincial capital—Winnipeg. The MPNP has proven to be successful, considering that internationally experienced workers who have migrated through the program show promising outcomes. A recent survey revealed that 85% of the nominees from Manitoba began working within three months after arriving, whilst 76% of them became homeowners within their first five years there. Moreover, there was a 95% permanent settlement rate amongst these families in the community.

    Boasting a roughly 4-5% annual unemployment rate, Manitoba enjoys a high rate of labour force participation—as the province’s strong wholesale and retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, and manufacturing industries make up the province’s three largest sectors by employment, respectively.

    In addition, the residents of Manitoba generally have a strong earning profile, with a provincial minimum wage of $15.30 CAD per hour, on par with other Canadian provinces.

    Some of Manitoba’s largest employers include:

    • The Manitoba Health Services Insurance Plan;
    • Canada Life Assurance Company;
    • Bell MTS;
    • Buhler Industries;
    • University of Manitoba;
    • IGM Financial; and
    • Manitoba Hydro.

    For more information on how to find and secure employment in Canada, visit our dedicated webpage here

    Healthcare in Manitoba

    Manitoba’s public health program is called The Manitoba Health Services Insurance Plan (MHSIP). It is a universal, provincial health insurance program in Manitoba, Canada, that covers a variety of health care services for eligible residents. These services include standard medical needs, hospital care, and specific health requirements such as optical and dental care. It also includes mental health services and home care, which are subject to eligibility.

    MHSIP covers consultation and treatment services provided by physicians, along with necessary surgical and diagnostic procedures. Necessary hospital visits and stays, including use of operating room and ward accommodation, are part of the coverage.

    Under certain conditions, the program also covers optometric and dental services like for people under the age of 19 or 65 and older, as well as individuals with specific medical conditions.

    For services that are not covered by the MHSIP, the individual is responsible for the cost unless they have additional private insurance or other coverage. Such services may include cosmetic surgery, unnecessary diagnostic services, ambulatory costs, and care in private hospital rooms.

    You may be eligible for Manitoba Health coverage if you are:

    • A Canadian citizen;
    • An Indigenous person registered under the federal Indian Act;
    • A Permanent resident in Manitoba;
    • Residing in Manitoba on a valid work permit of 12 consecutive months or more;
    • A Spouse or a minor child under 18 years of a work permit holder, within the permit validity periods;
    • A Convention refugee or protected person as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada;
    • In Manitoba providing agricultural services with issued work permits; and/or
    • Residing in Manitoba and physically present for six months (183 days) in a calendar year.

    Non-eligible individuals for Manitoba Health coverage include:

    • Tourists;
    • Transients;
    • Visitors; and
    • Students from other Canadian provinces or territories residing in Manitoba temporarily for full-time studies, planning to return to their home province or territory after studying.

    The Manitoba government has also included a helpful tool to help newcomers better understand what documents they may need when registering for provincial healthcare, which can be found here.

    You can register for healthcare by submitting your documents online, or by mail, email, or in-person.

    For more information on healthcare in Canada, visit our dedicated webpage here

    Education in Manitoba

    K-12 Education

    Elementary and high school education in Manitoba provides students with abundant resources and opportunities for learning. Education in Manitoba is delivered through both public and funded independent schools. Children in the province typically start kindergarten at the age of five and complete grade twelve at the age of seventeen or eighteen.

    The education system focuses on a broad range of study areas including English and/or French language studies, arts, health, science, social studies, and others. Moreover, programs and resources are available to ensure that children with diverse learning needs receive adequate support.

    There are provisions for more active learning experiences through field trips and outdoor learning activities. In addition, learning about Indigenous perspectives and traditions is an integral part of Manitoba’s education system.

    In terms of secondary education, students are encouraged to explore their interests and aspirations. High school programs encompass various curricular and extracurricular activities that prepare students for post-secondary education and the workplace.

    For parents, teachers, and students who seek detailed information about the curriculum or policies, they can access practical resources and guidelines on the government's education website. Resources are also available to help students transition smoothly between elementary, middle, and high school, what to expect at school, and more.

    Post-secondary Education

    Post-secondary education in Manitoba is offered through a range of educational institutions. These institutions, which include universities and colleges, offer a variety of programs ranging from practical, employment-based training to theoretical degrees in the arts, humanities and sciences. The programs offered span from certificate and diploma courses to undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, including masters and doctorates. Additionally, they also provide pre-professional and professional degree programs in a wide spectrum of disciplines.

    For international students looking to study in Manitoba's universities and colleges, it's essential to remember they can only apply to institutions and programs approved by the province. This regulation is in accordance with study permit conditions and ensures protection under the International Education Act.

    Several universities and colleges in Manitoba are designated to accept international students. These are known as Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs). Below is a complete list of universities and colleges that are authorised to accept international students:


    • Booth University College
    • Brandon University
    • Canadian Mennonite University
    • Providence University College
    • University College of the North
    • Université de Saint-Boniface
    • University of Manitoba
    • University of Winnipeg


    • Assiniboine Community College
    • École Technique et Professionnelle
    • International College of Manitoba
    • Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology
    • Red River College Polytech

    A complete list of DLIs across Canada can be found at IRCC’s dedicated webpage, here.

    For more information on studying in Canada, visit our dedicated webpage here

    Weather in Manitoba

    The weather in Manitoba features a moderately dry climate and significant seasonal temperature fluctuations, due to its location at the centre of North America.

    During the winter, temperatures can drop to approximately -40°C throughout the province, while in the summer, the southern regions can experience temperatures as high as 30-38°C. The average daily temperatures in Winnipeg range from -23 to -5°C in January to 14-27°C in July.

    The province experiences annual rainfall ranging from 360mm in the north to 560mm in the southeast, with the majority falling between May and September. Snow usually covers the ground from November to April in the south and even longer in the north.

    Winnipeg—Manitoba's capital city—experiences strong, temperate summers and extremely cold, snowy and windy winters, with the city being partly cloudy throughout the year. Over the year, temperatures usually range between -19°C to 27°C and it being rare for the temperature to fall below -30°C in the winter, or exceed 31°C in the summers. Transitional seasons of autumn and spring are relatively short on average. 

    As per the tourism scores, the optimal timeframe for visiting Winnipeg and engaging in warm-weather activities spans from the beginning of July to the end of August.

    For a complete guide on how to dress for Canada’s weather, click here.

    Emergency Services in Manitoba

    While many national contacts are still relevant to newcomers moving to Manitoba, there are some specific emergency contacts that residents of Manitoba should be aware of. These include:

    • Emergency: 911
    • Canadian Association Of Suicide Prevention: (204) 784-4073
    • Canadian Centre for Child Protection: (204) 945-5735
    • Child And Family Services: (204) 944-4200
    • Canadian Mental Health Association: (204) 982-6100
    • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
    • Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth: 1-800-263-7146
    • Manitoba Crisis Services (24/7): 1-877-499-8770
    • Mental Health Crisis Response Centre: (204) 940-1781
    • Residential School Survivors Society Crisis Line (24/7): 1-866-925-4419
    • Sexual Assault Crisis Line (24/7): 1-888-292-7565
    • Suicide Prevention (24/7): 1-833-456-4566
    • Youth Emergency Crisis Stabilisation System (24/7): 1-888-383-2776 or (204) 949-4777
    • Winnipeg Child And Family Services: (204) 944-4200

    Newcomer Services in Manitoba

    Newcomer services in Manitoba can be organised under the following categories:

    • Newcomer Arrival and Settlement Services;
    • Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Workers (NISW);
    • Health and Family Supports;
    • Employment Supports;
    • Adult Language Training Programs;
    • Services de soutien francophone;
    • Colleges and Universities;
    • Hospitals;
    • Libraries; and
    • Other Government Services.

    The provincial Manitoba government has compiled all of these service providers on an online map tool which can be found here.

    It should be noted that eligibility for newcomer services may differ depending on your legal status in Canada, and who is providing the specific services. While most newcomer services are eligible only for permanent residents and some temporary residents, it is best to check with each individual provider on what specific eligibility criteria they use.

    For more information on free newcomer settlement services in Canada, visit our dedicated webpage here

    Taxation in Manitoba

    In Manitoba, the income tax rates vary from 10.8% to 17.4%. When combined with federal tax, the total tax burden can lie between 25.8% and 50.4%. As the income level in Manitoba increases, so does the marginal tax rate, which means individuals with higher income pay a larger amount of tax in the higher income brackets.

    Instead of a harmonised tax on goods and services, Manitoba has both a Good and Services Tax (GST) and a Retail Sales Tax (RST).

    GST is 7% nationally, similar to RST (specific to Manitoba) which is also at 7%. Note that RST is applied to the original price of the product, before GST is calculated on top.

    For more information on how to file your personal income returns in Canada, find our dedicated webpage here.

    Things to Do in Manitoba

    Noted for both its natural beauty and historic sites, Manitoba offers a host of leisure activities for newcomers catering to a variety of tastes and interests; some of the most noteworthy of which include:

    The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a treasure trove of resources that gives visitors the chance to learn about human rights from a global viewpoint. Similarly, the Assiniboine Park provides various attractions for visitors, including a stunning zoo, a lush conservatory, and the Lyric Theatre which is the home of a famous summer series put on by Manitoba.

    Further, an array of activities can be enjoyed at The Forks, a destination rich in history and culture. It features a skateboard plaza, local eateries, and a dynamic market scene. The Riding Mountain National Park is a haven for wildlife and offers several options for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking.

    If you are interested in rare wildlife, the Hudson Bay coastline is known for housing unique species like polar bears and beluga whales, which can be observed during their wildlife tours. Another destination is The Manitoba Museum, which beautifully presents the history of Manitoba through exhibits including archaeology, palaeontology, and astronomy.

    Railway lovers can enjoy the Prairie Dog Central Train, which offers a delightful ride through rustic landscapes and historic sites. The Grand Beach Provincial Park, often described as one of the finest in North America, offers swimming and sunbathing during the warm months. For winter leisure, Interlake, with its extensive network of 1,400 kilometres of snowmobile trails, is a great choice.

    Lastly, another compelling experience is witnessing the Northern Lights, a breathtaking phenomenon best seen during winter months due to the geographical positioning of Manitoba.

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