Media Releases

Identifying the Value of Manitoba’s Natural Assets
—Are we considering the benefit of our trees, wetlands and aquifers?

Download PDF

May 5, 2021—Climate change and water do not follow or stop at municipal boundaries. Because of this, the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) is taking a regional approach by launching the first regional natural asset management project in the province. The goal of this historic project is to provide the 18 municipalities that comprise the WMR, including and surrounding the City of Winnipeg, with a shared list of natural assets that provide services that are often not accounted for such as water purification and storage, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions reduction. The WMR’s project will identity a complete inventory and the current condition of our shared natural assets.

This shared approach is an integral part of the WMR’s Draft Plan20-50 and moves us into the next stages of our climate change policy that works with our natural assets to create climate resiliency. The leaders of the communities within the WMR are working together to manage, restore and protect their regional ecosystem. This is a critical way for the WMR to also provide opportunities for investment in green technologies and infrastructure that support a low-carbon future.

What are natural assets? Examples include parks, trees, aquifers, wetlands and grasslands. They provide services like storm water management, improve the air quality, offer protection from extreme weather and others. Generally, natural assets are not typically considered within local government asset management processes, but they can form a core element of asset- management strategies. However, research shows that identifying, measuring and managing natural assets as part of an overall asset management strategy can save capital and operating costs. Local governments are finding that natural assets are resilient and adaptable to climate change and with effective monitoring, maintenance and rehabilitation now, natural assets can provide service and add value for decades in ways that many traditional engineered assets cannot match.

The project is being undertaken by the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative with support from the WMR. “We’re very pleased to be working with the WMR as they take this critical first step towards a full natural asset management project,” says Roy Brooke, Executive Director, Municipal Natural Assets Initiative. “The WMR is now joining the growing number of local governments that recognize it’s as important to understand, measure, manage and account for natural assets as it is for engineered assets.”

This project will provide a baseline in each municipality across the WMR and the information will be shared to help communities build an understanding of the natural assets on which they rely and the extent of their reliance. It will also provide an overview of the condition of their assets.

WMR Executive Director Colleen Sklar says: “This is an important piece of Draft Plan20-50’s priorities to provide a Natural Asset and Green Infrastructure study. Just as importantly, this is an important first step for Manitoba to begin to take stock of how we can effectively tackle climate change.”

For more information about the WMR’s Draft Plan20-50 please visit

For more information about the Municipal Natural Assets Inventory please visit

Please call Colleen Sklar for more information at the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) 204-781- 7346 or contact her by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) is comprised of 18 municipalities that include and surround Winnipeg. It provides the platform for municipalities to work on projects that cross boundaries in support of good growth, good stewardship and good governance.

Have a voice and help shape the future of our region

April 9, 2021

Manitoba’s first long-term regional plan to guide land use, servicing and development in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region for the next 30 years – Draft Plan20-50 – has been released to the public for feedback.

“Draft Plan20-50 is a roadmap for planning beyond boundaries and election cycles to secure a high-quality of life for Manitoba’s growing metropolitan region to 2050,” said Winnipeg Metropolitan Region Executive Director Colleen Sklar, “The draft is the foundation to move our region forward, helping our economy recover, attracting new opportunities and creating good jobs for all.”

Now, the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region would like to hear from Manitobans. All feedback received prior to June 1, 2021 will be compiled into the Draft Plan20-50 Review Document and be delivered along with the draft plan to the Minister of Municipal Relations, the Honourable Derek Johnson, at the province of Manitoba.

In 2019, the province of Manitoba asked the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) to develop Draft Plan20-50, a plan to help coordinate at a regional level. In preparing the draft plan document, the WMR met with over 500 organizations and individuals and spent over 1000 hours in interviews.

Draft Plan20-50:

  • Coordinates and ensures the long-term supply of serviced residential, commercial and industrial land;
  • Provides confidence for investment;
  • Plans, prioritizes and facilitates investment in infrastructure;
  • Secures the protection of agricultural land, natural land and freshwater resources;
  • Builds resilience to flooding and drought and the effects of a changing climate; and,
  • Ensures efficient and effective service delivery to residents and businesses.

Getting to Draft Plan20-50 has not been an easy process, and no plan is ever perfect. The leaders of the WMR have taken a balanced approach to addressing the region’s needs and meeting the key components necessary for a regional plan. Download Plan20-50 and Have your Say.

Progress Made Toward Building Climate-Resiliency in Manitoba Communities

November 25, 2019Today’s announcement by the Honourable Premier Brian Pallister moves the METRO Region forward in building safe and strong communities with $15 million being invested for damage prevention and climate resiliency for municipalities in the capital region. According to Premier Pallister, an additional $3 million will be invested this year for “critical and local measures” namely spring flood preparedness. The investment will be made according to the priorities of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) and the Winnipeg METRO Region (WMR).

“Manitobans know first-hand the devastating effects extreme weather events such as flooding and drought has on property, infrastructure, our communities and our economy,” says Colleen Sklar, Executive Director of the Winnipeg METRO Region and Chair of the Expert Advisory Council (EAC) for the Made-in Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, “Today’s announcement from Premier Pallister creates an opportunity to address and manage spring flooding in the short-term while creating climate-ready communities long in to the future.”

Today’s announcement sets a course for proactive and solution-based planning and action to meet the real and potentially significant challenges to our environment, economy and our communities. “We know that resiliency isn’t built one community at a time,” says Fran Smee, co-chair of the WMR and Reeve of the RM of Rosser, “By working together from the solid collaborative base we have built at the METRO Region we can begin immediately to ensure we make the greatest impact toward emergency preparedness and building resiliency in our communities.”


The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) is comprised of 18 municipalities that include and surround Winnipeg. It provides the platform for municipalities to work on projects that cross boundaries in support of good growth, good stewardship and good governance.

For more information: Colleen Sklar, Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) 204-781-7346 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


New Report Details Steps to Economic Growth in Winnipeg METRO Region

October 31, 2019 – A three-point plan to economic growth in the Winnipeg METRO Region (METRO) was detailed today following the release of a new report entitled: For the Benefit of All: Regional Competitiveness & Collaboration in the Winnipeg METRO Region

The Report, authored by Robert W. Murray, Ph.D., Managing Director – Government Affairs and Public Policy at Dentons Canada LLP, provides an analysis of the current context and offers a starting place to move from debating regionalism to enacting steps necessary to increase economic investment in Manitoba.

“Despite efforts of greater regional collaboration, the ongoing hesitancy relating to further collaboration and the fragmented planning processes among Metro Region municipalities is not only putting the region at risk in areas such as sustainable water supply and future prime agricultural land protection but is also hindering the Region’s ability to pursue economic opportunities vital to the Region’s growth,” Murray stated in the Report.

He added, “Put simply – the status quo is unsustainable and needs to be fixed.”

In March 2019, the Province of Manitoba mandated the METRO Region to coordinate economic development, reduce red tape and duplication, and develop a strategy to coordinate land use and servicing – an approach preferred by Murray to address challenges and capitalize on the potential immediate opportunities.

“The time for action is now,” said the report, “and the way forward is clear if the METRO Region is to create the conditions for future economic success.”

Step 1 – Develop a Culture of Regional Collaboration

Highlights of recommended action steps include:

  • Create a provincial Working Group to examine governance structures, policies, legislation and frameworks, and consult with task forces to provide input in regional land use planning and infrastructure, shared servicing, economic development, urban reserves and revenue sharing.

Step 2 - Build a Foundation for Economic Success

Highlights of recommended action steps include:

  • Develop a regional land use and servicing plan, developed by WMR and partners, to be submitted to the Minister of Municipal Relations;
  • Establish an Indigenous Advisory Council comprised of representatives to assist in all regional decisions;
  • Create a single regional planning authority for the Region, appointed by the Province;
  • Develop a regional asset inventory of land and its development readiness, services and infrastructure;
  • Develop an accessible, shared, single-window regional database to assist development and investment;
  • Develop criteria for prioritizing regional infrastructure projects for the Province, to assist in prioritizing regional funding and develop a process to streamline regulatory approvals;
  • Explore the creation of a regional database on planning and permitting.

Step 3 – Develop an Investor-Ready Climate

Highlights of recommended action steps include:

  • Develop and unite behind a single brand to increase overall economic competitiveness;
  • Develop a regional Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) attraction and export promotion plan and a talent attraction initiative, including the development of tools and incentives to increase investment;
  • Commission an independent global competitiveness review;
  • Develop a permanent business and industry partnership council of WMR and industry representatives;
  • Collaborate to develop a regional innovation strategy to accelerate commercialization and integrate regional business and innovation opportunities into the global supply chain.

“By developing regional systems around land use planning and infrastructure, shared servicing, and regional economic development, the region stands to benefit from proven approaches to increasing service levels to residents while becoming more globally economic competitive.”


The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (METRO) is comprised of 18 municipalities that include and surround Winnipeg. It provides the platform for municipalities to work on projects that cross boundaries in support of good growth, good stewardship and good governance.

CONTACT: Jennifer David, Director of Communications, at 204-619-0717 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


June 20, 2019

JohnQ Gets METRO Region Ready for Increased Internet Access: Foundational first step moves Manitoba closer to fast, reliable and affordable high speed connectivity

June 20, 2019 - JohnQ’s high-speed Internet project - Connecting to Opportunity - broke ground today at CentrePort Canada, North America’s largest tri-modal inland port. This foundational first step moves the growing METRO Region one step closer to fast, reliable and affordable high-speed Internet.

“With 64% of the total population of Manitoba and 70% of the GDP, it is important to have access to high-speed Internet in the METRO Region that will increase our competitiveness, to create good jobs and improve the quality of life for residents.” said Brad Erb, Chair of JohnQ.

"The Internet is a connector, literally through its pipes, but, more importantly, by connecting people with opportunities," said David Fowler, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) vice-president of marketing and communications.” Connecting to Opportunity is exactly the type of project we had in mind when we developed our Community Investment Program. As part of CIRA's commitment to build a better online Canada, we're proud to see the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region break ground today as they begin work to bring broadband to all Manitobans."

This project, a stand-alone portion of JohnQ’s Connecting to Opportunity fibre optic initiative, lays the groundwork for further projects that aim to deliver high-speed Internet and connect Manitoba’s businesses, farms, homes and institutions. The project is breaking ground at CentrePort Canada, which has seen a significant amount of new industrial activity.

“As we’ve seen with the recent construction boom at CentrePort, shovel-ready sites that offer essential services, like high-speed connectivity, are critical in attracting investment by local and national companies in growth mode,” said Diane Gray, President & CEO, CentrePort Canada Inc. “CentrePort is pleased to support this JohnQ initiative, as strategic infrastructure investments greatly enhance our ability to attract industry leaders, who create jobs for Manitobans.”

Further support has been requested from both the provincial and federal governments to support the next phase of the project which will expand the infrastructure to increase access to underserviced communities across Manitoba.

"Most municipalities and First Nations outside Winnipeg don’t have access to reliable and affordable Internet—isolating them from the digital economy.” said Chris Kennedy CEO of RFNOW—a strategic partner of the project, “There are many opportunities to connect these communities and, once all phases are complete, the METRO Region will be able to make an even larger economic impact.”

Unlimited high-speed Internet access allows business owners to remain competitive as they plan, build and scale up for future growth. “As developers, we hear it first-hand,” said Robert Scaletta, Senior Vice President, Industrial for Shindico who develops land at CentrePort. “I commend the leaders for stepping up through JohnQ and prioritizing Internet as it is a requirement for successful business models today.”

“To get a project like this off the ground demonstrates the power of regional collaboration,” said Colleen Sklar, Executive Director of the Winnipeg METRO Region. “Connecting to Opportunity will ensure the METRO Region and Manitoba has the necessary economic infrastructure required for businesses to come here, stay here, grow here, and in turn, secure our future.”

The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) is comprised of 18 municipalities that include and surround Winnipeg. It provides the platform for municipalities to work on projects that cross boundaries in support of good growth, good stewardship and good governance.

JohnQ Public Inc. (JohnQ) is a co-operatively owned economic development corporation formed in 2018 by 13 members of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) with a goal to capitalize on our collective strengths to enhance development opportunities that benefit the entire province.

RFNOW Inc. is a leading-edge communications company based in Virden, Manitoba. RFNOW Inc. is a company that has a depth of knowledge and experience working with communities across the province to ensure they have access to the digital economy. They currently have a large infrastructure, network and training program in practice in Manitoba.

CIRA’s Community Investment Program is building a better online Canada through the Community Investment Program by funding charities, not-for-profits and members of the academic community who are making the internet better for all Canadians. CIRA is best known for our role managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. While this remains our primary mandate, as a member-based not-for-profit ourselves, we have a much broader goal to strengthen Canada's internet. To date CIRA has contributed $6.7 million in Community Investment Program grants.

CentrePort Canada is North America’s largest inland port, offering 20,000 acres of high-quality, affordable industrial land and unique access to tri-modal transportation, including three Class I railways (Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and BNSF Railway), a 24/7 global air cargo airport and an international trucking hub.


For more information: Colleen Sklar, Winnipeg METRO Region (WMR) 204-781-7346 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..





March 1, 2019

Historic MOU Signed: Southern Chiefs & Winnipeg METRO Region Mayors & Reeves

Municipal leaders of the Winnipeg METRO Region (WMR) and the Chiefs of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) made history on Friday March 1, 2019 at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site in St. Andrews, Manitoba - the location of the historic signing of Treaty 1 in 1871, 148 years ago. The 25 elected leaders working together in the Collaborative Leadership Initiative (CLI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding recognizing the considerable political value of First Nation and municipal governments formally agreeing to work together on common goals and interests.

“This is the first ever Indigenous-municipal government MOU signed with this many partners anywhere that we know of,”

said Brad Erb, Co-Chair of the WMR, “In the spirit of reconciliation and re-building trust between our governments, this demonstrates our commitment to working together.”

This was the fourth gathering of the CLI, facilitated by the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) which began in October 2017 when a number of the Chiefs of SCO and mayors and reeves of the WMR met for breakfast and agreed that the status quo was not good enough. The assembled CLI leadership agreed that they needed a better way forward - a collaborative and strategic approach towards reconciliation based on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In addition to shared interests and overlapping territories between First Nations and municipalities, the leaders recognized a critical need for building positive relationships, identifying common interests and barriers, dispelling myths and providing critical fact-based information for decision-making and coordination. The leadership involved committed to these four collaboration sessions that were designed to transform relationships and establish trust.

“Through the CLI, we have created a strong platform to further build our relationship by sharing the priorities and needs of our communities with each other,”

said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of SCO, “By signing the MOU on Friday, we are formalizing our relationship, as two levels of government. This enables us to progressively lead our communities toward shared prosperity, sustainable economic development and healthy lands and waters, working with other levels of government and the business sector”.


February 28, 2019

Edmonton Global Shares Insights on Keys to Economic Growth in the Winnipeg Metro Region

February 28, 2019 – With 85% of net new economic growth generated by metro regions across Canada, provinces and municipalities are coming together to find pathways to success.

The Winnipeg METRO Region (WMR), recently named a strategic partner in the Province of Manitoba’s Economic Growth Action Plan along with its partners at Economic Development Winnipeg, are hosting Malcolm Bruce, CEO of Edmonton Global - the newly formed regional economic development agency – to share what is possible when government, business and industry work together.

Bruce shared Edmonton Global’s economic strategy with over 90 leaders from government, business and industry in the region how the Edmonton Region charted a pathway toward regional economic development, “By strengthening partnerships and defining how the Edmonton Metropolitan Region can add value to the national economic narrative attracts investment and jobs,” said Bruce.

With the WMR responsible for 70% of the provincial GDP and comprised of many of the fastest growing communities in the province, there is an opportunity to explore the successful example of partnerships and the model of strategic regional economic development that Edmonton Global has established.

“Municipalities across the Winnipeg METRO Region know we need to do things differently,” said Colleen Sklar, Executive Director of the Winnipeg METRO Region, “By looking at the model used in the Edmonton region, we can learn how to chart our path forward to seize opportunities and drive economic investment and growth.”

Economic Development Winnipeg is also looking to further the collaborative process, "In Winnipeg, our business community has a reputation for coming together and working towards a common goal,” said Dayna Spiring, President and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg, “Because of that collaborative spirit, our city has seen greater success than other jurisdictions relative to our size and population. We can do more when we are all kicking in the same direction.”


December 13, 2018

New Partnership Closer to Offering High Speed & Fibre Optic Internet to Growing Winnipeg Metro Region

WINNIPEG - December 13, 2018 - Mayors and Reeves from METRO municipalities surrounding Winnipeg moved another step closer to offering high-speed and fibre optic Internet service today, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two industry-leading strategic partners.

"Most municipalities surrounding Winnipeg don’t have access to reliable, future-ready Internet and communications services," said Colleen Sklar, Executive Director of the Winnipeg METRO Region (WMR), an organization recently tasked by the Province to deliver economic development funding and programming throughout the Region. "There are many opportunities to connect communities to the digital economy and, once complete, this project will help the WMR make an even larger economic impact.”

The MOU was signed today by JohnQ Public Inc., the WMR’s economic development corporation, and two well established local and national Internet service providers – WireIE and RFNOW Inc. The regional fibre optic project – Connecting to Opportunity – is a prime example of how JohnQ works and what the WMR can accomplish through this new collaborative business model. “Business owners, industry and residents all rank high-speed services as their top priority,” said Reeve Brad Erb of Macdonald, Chair of the JohnQ Board. “Bringing the right partners to the table is the critical next step to building a cost-effective, sustainable and competitive broadband network that will allow the Region to attract good companies and good jobs while also servicing the needs of residents.”

Next steps in the process between the strategic partners include:

  • Finalizing the business model;
  • Completing the design of the network;
  • Negotiating with other stakeholders;
  • Developing and recommending the final broadband service offerings for end users; and,
  • Developing and recommending an open access model for 3rd party ISPs to promote competition.

"WireIE is excited to help design and implement a carrier-grade broadband network,” said Rob Barlow, President & CEO. “WireIE overcomes constraints around geography, time and budget, to break through barriers that traditional legacy networks can’t address. We will meet and exceed latency, bandwidth and service assurance requirements with our partners.” Based in Virden, Manitoba, RFNOW Inc. has a depth of knowledge and experience working with under-served communities like those in the WMR. “Given our large infrastructure, network and training program, we are confident in our ability to help the Winnipeg METRO Region hit the ground running,” said Chris Kennedy, COO of RFNOW.

Through JohnQ, the development of high-speed Internet infrastructure is being explored for 43 under-serviced communities in the 13 member municipalities in the METRO region surrounding Winnipeg. Many are shovel ready which means construction could commence as early as mid-May 2019.

Ray Bouchard, President & CEO of Enns Brothers Ltd. and Chair of Enterprise Machine Intelligence & Learning Initiative (EMILI) offers his congratulations to the Winnipeg METRO Region. “This is an important step in advancing more productive and sustainable agriculture in the region,” he said. “Farm operations, businesses and residents need consistent access to high-speed Internet to implement the kinds of intelligent technologies that will inform and accelerate the agriculture sector and the Manitoba economy.”


July 12, 2018

Fibre Optics - Connecting to Opportunity

On Thursday July 12, 2018 local leaders gathered at the East St. Paul council chambers to review the findings of the recently completed Fibre Optic Feasibility Study. This detailed 1500-page study commissioned by the newly formed JohnQ Public Impact Incorporated - a municipally owned development corporation - outlined the business case and feasibility of the project. By undertaking the development of a shared fibre optic network across each participating community, Internet connectivity will be provided to all residents and businesses alike.

Most municipalities outside of Winnipeg don't have the fibre optic infrastructure that provides fast, future-ready internet and communication services that residents need; and they can't provide the advanced supports that business and industry look for when expanding or relocating.

Today’s economy and changing workforce requires access to fibre optic networks. With many Internet service providers offering fibre optic networks in communities where the population density supports their business models, this leaves many communities with low-speed and limited bandwidth often at a considerable cost.

Over the next few months through JohnQ, the leaders will explore several options and possible opportunities as they develop a full financial strategy and investigate all options available for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region communities to achieve its goal of connecting communities to create economic opportunities in a way that is affordable for everyone. Further information on this exciting initiative will continue to be shared as it becomes available.

Participating communities include:

  • RM of East St. Paul 
  • RM of Headingley
  • RM of Macdonald
  • RM of Ritchot
  • RM of Rockwood
  • RM of Rosser
  • RM of St. Andrews
  • RM of St. Clements 
  • RM of St. Françis Xavier 
  • RM of Taché
  • RM of West St. Paul


March 23, 2018

The Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region has a new name and a new outlook.

Welcome to the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. We are growing and evolving, based on our strengthened spirit of collaboration, so Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region (PMCR) has adopted a new name and a new look. The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region that reflects the importance of our strong centre city – Winnipeg – and the unique character of the surrounding communities that make us a more exciting, productive and a desirable place to be.

Since 1998 The Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region (PMCR) has brought the regions leaders together to tackle the many challenges of municipal governments. In step with the region’s long history of enterprise and innovation, the Mayors and Reeves have broadened their collective vision and are announcing a new name to reflect this perspective.

The communities across this region are strongly inter-connected and we are learning how to benefit from collaborative action. Colleen Sklar, Executive Director of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region stated “our new name reflects this evolution and aligns us with other metro regions in Canada and the rest of the world. These places are finding ways to effectively work together to solve a wide array of challenges allowing them to be more resilient and adapt to fast-changing landscapes. We will do that too.”

From its inception in 1998 by Winnipeg Mayor Susan Thompson and a group of pioneering Capital Region leaders the PMCR has continued to evolve while staying focused on the job at hand, creating the conditions for good growth, good stewardship and good governance.

The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region represents 18 municipalities including and surrounding the City of Winnipeg. “The current leaders around the table see more opportunities than ever before to collaborate, this allows to not only meet the needs of our communities but to maximize the full potential of this growing metropolitan region and the Province of Manitoba” said Frances Smee, Reeve of Rosser and Co-Chair of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.

“Whether you live in Winnipeg or the surrounding area, we are all connected, our kids go to school together, play sports together and attend events, regardless of the municipality we live in, our communities have moved beyond political boundaries. It is time now for policies and politics to catch up”, said Co-Chair Janice Lukes Councillor for the City of Winnipeg.

We are embracing a renewed spirit of partnership, allowing us to join the roster of other competitive regions such as the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, Denver Region and Calgary Metropolitan Region. We are joining a movement that reflects the values of our historical roots and ensures that our future will remain true to them.

Moving in step with regions across Canada and the globe requires that we build better relationships, adopt sound frameworks and pursue opportunities that encourage partnerships. This will allow us to realize our full potential, to be competitive, and a place where local businesses expand; where new businesses come and set-up shop and where the environment is protected for future generations. This is the mission of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.


Our Office

Unit 1 - 1749 Portage Ave.
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3J 0E6

Contact Us