The Province of Manitoba

Population: 1.26 million

GDP: $43 billion

Country: Canada

GHG emissions (year): 19.8 million tons CO2e. For more info on economic and political context, see below.

Situated near the center of the North American landmass, the Canadian province of Manitoba has an extreme continental climate, with monthly average temperatures ranging from -20°C to 25°C over a typical year. Around half of Manitoba’s 1.26 million inhabitants reside in the region’s capital, Winnipeg, with the rest of the region sparsely populated.

Manitoba has one of the healthiest, most diverse economies in Canada, with a GDP of $43 billion. Last year its economy outperformed Canada in overall growth with almost all industries posting positive gains. Key economic sectors include agriculture, manufacturing and transport, which are predominantly based in the south, in or near the capital. More state-wide activities include electricity and natural gas, environmental industries, mining, minerals and petroleum

Northern Manitoba is a haven for subarctic wildlife: Churchill, on the Hudson Bay, is a center for polar bear and beluga whale eco-tourism. The geography of the province means that it was one of the world’s first to experience the many and varied effects of climate change.

In 2008 Manitoba became the first North American region to make a legal commitment to reducing emissions to below 1990 levels by 2012. It is now looking to enhance that target to 6% below 1990 levels. The Province’s current GHG emissions stand at 19.8 million tons, but its emissions reduction targets are helped by its staggering hydro power capacity, which generates 97.4% of total electricity. Increased investment in wind power has seen its share rise to 2.3%, leaving coal and gas powered generation a miniscule 0.3% share combined (0.2% and 0.1% respectively). 

As its 2008 action plan is now fully implemented, Manitoba is seeking to develop a new climate change action plan with even more ambitious targets. It will look to exploit the growth potential of renewable energy and the carbon sink capacity of its large forests. 

The province plans to grow its renewable energy sector to the point where it can export power, while stabilizing its emissions. Since the power sector is already substantially decarbonized, the province has focused emissions reductions efforts on the transportation and farming sectors, which together account for 69% of the province’s carbon emissions (35% and 34% respectively).

Manitoba’s Sustainable Development Initiatives Fund (SDIF) was established in the 1990s to support regional projects that develop innovative ways to further assist the sustainability of the provincial economy. This includes climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as health and social sustainability. Manitoba has since been recognized as a world leader in taking action on climate change and preparing for a greener future.

Alongside the policies outlined below, Manitoba is supporting leading research in Hydrogen fuel technology, and Winnipeg’s New Flyer Industries is the leading manufacturer of hybrid and alternative fuel buses in Canada and the United States. A government-funded Hydrogen Centre of Expertise addresses long-term approaches for sustainable energy, particularly research and commercialization of clean hydrogen technology.


  • Current activities

    Energy efficiency

    Manitoba is a leader in energy efficiency and its policies have been replicated elsewhere. Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart plan has established demand side targets that will achieve electricity savings of 644 megawatts (MW) and 2,053 gigawatt hours (GW.h), natural gas savings of 137 million cubic meters and GHG reductions of 1.6 million tons by 2024-25.

    The plan has already saved over 500 MW of electricity while removing approximately one million tons of GHG emissions. Despite its already impressively low use of coal, Manitoba Hydro has converted one coal generating station to cleaner natural gas and is phasing down its one remaining coal-fired generation site (which will only be run to support emergency operations).

    In 2012, the province also enacted the Emissions Tax on Coal. Revenue generated from the tax is being used to fund conversion to biomass sources where most appropriate. The government has announced that the use of coal for space and water heating will be banned in 2014.

    Green buildings and power smart technology are revitalizing Winnipeg with some of the most efficient buildings in the world. The government's Green Building Policy  requires a minimum of LEED® Silver standard in the new construction of government owned buildings, corrections facilities, schools, colleges and universities, health facilities and provincially funded building projects such as community recreation centres and cultural institutions. It will be expanded in the future to include residential projects, existing buildings and leased accommodations.

    In 2009 Manitoba implemented a regulation requiring minimum annual fuel use efficiency standards for replacement gas furnaces and small boilers: 82% for hot water gas boilers, 80% for low pressure steam gas boilers and 92% for replacement gas furnaces. Regulations focusing on energy-performance targets for new construction are under development.

    Renewable energy

    The province satisfies its own energy needs with 97.4% of its energy (5000 MW) coming from hydroelectric installations, with the potential to double this in the future. In partnership with local Aboriginal communities, Manitoba Hydro is building new generating stations to power future generations.

    Manitoba has ambitions to grow its renewable capacity substantially and to export its clean energy to the surrounding states and provinces. The province has world-leading potential for wind power generation. It will develop over 1,000 megawatts of wind power over the next decade. At times of low demand, energy from these turbines will be used to pump water into hydro reservoirs.

    Manitoba is also developing its solar power capacity and it has become a world leader in geothermal energy generation.

    Clean transport

    Manitoba’s ethanol sales mandate began in January 2008. The mandate requires fuel suppliers in Manitoba to replace at least 8.5% of their gasoline available for sale with ethanol. Approximately 140 million litres of ethanol are used in Manitoba each year.

    Manitoba’s Biodiesel Mandate Regulation under The Biofuels Act came into effect in November 2009. It’s the first regulation of its kind in Canada. The regulation requires an average of 2% biodiesel in annual diesel fuel sales. Manitoba’s biodiesel mandate requires a minimum of 20 million litres of biodiesel to be used per year. Manitoba has launched an electric vehicle roadmap. Manitoba’s economy, as a whole, could save more than $1 billion; money which could be spent domestically, creating jobs and generating new business. Since Manitoba’s electricity is almost completely greenhouse gas (GHG)-free, switching from a fossil fuel like gasoline to electricity would create large-scale GHG reductions.

    Sustainable land use

    Manitoba`s Sustainable Agriculture Practices Program came into effect in 2009. The program provides funding and technical assistance for producers to carry out on-farm sustainable agriculture projects that have positive climate change.

    The Covering New Ground program provides funding to Manitoba producer groups and provincial commodity organizations to carry out sustainable agriculture demonstration or technology transfer projects throughout the province. The province also has put nutrient limits on fertilizer applications and is bringing in new support programs for sustainable on-farm practices.

    Manitoba’s Trees for Tomorrow program committed to plant six million trees in Manitoba over five years, by the end of 2012.

    Government has also drawn up a long-term plan for the sustainable development of the north of the province in the Northern Development Strategy. This plan includes massive investment in renewable energy and transport infrastructure, a fund for seed capital in development projects and a framework to promote sustainability.

    Waste management

    The Waste Reduction and Recycling Support Program (WRARS) is a far reaching strategy to encourage greater recycling. It has reduced the amount of domestic waste going to landfill since its inception, and new best practice models have drastically cut construction and demolition waste. In addition, Manitoba's E-waste Roundup Program collected over 4 million kilograms of old electronics for responsible recycling up to 2011.

    Under The Climate Change and Emissions Reductions Act, owners or operators of prescribed landfills must submit an assessment of the potential for mitigating emissions generated at the landfill. This also includes a plan for monitoring, controlling, collecting or using greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions before they are released. Compulsory landfill biogas capture reduces the amount of methane released into the atmosphere, and allows the gas to be used to generate electricity.

    International collaboration

    The province is a member of the Western Climate Initiative, which aims to introduce a regional cap and trade program to reduce carbon emissions 15% below 2005 levels by 2020. It also signed the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Accord, and has completed consultations on implementing a multi-region cap and trade scheme.

  • More info

    Devolved powers and competencies relevant to climate and energy

    Under the Canadian constitution, responsibility for natural resources belongs to the provinces, not the federal government. The federal government has jurisdiction over off-shore resources, trade and commerce in natural resources, statistics, international relations, and boundaries.

    Most important economic sectors

    Manitoba has one of the healthiest, most diverse business economies in Canada. Last year our economy outperformed Canada in overall growth with almost all industries posting positive gains. Key economic sectors include: agriculture and agribusiness; aerospace; building materials; electricity and natural gas; environmental industries; financial services; heavy vehicle manufacturing; mining, minerals and petroleum; transportation and logistics.

    GHG breakdown by sector (%):

    Power 0.05%
    Transport 35%
    Buildings 19%
    Industry 3%
    Agriculture/forestry 34%
    Waste 5%

    Current power sector mix (%):

    Hydro 97.4%
    Coal 0.2%
    Gas 0.1%
    Nuclear n/a








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