Community Economic Development in Manitoba: Theory, History, Policy, and Practice

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Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Sara Wray Enns

Report on the history of CED in ManitobaManitoba is a province of economic growth and economic disparity. It is a province with low unemployment rates, diverse development and incredible resource wealth.  On the flip side, Manitoba has continuously had some of the highest child poverty rates in Canada, the highest homicide rates, and Winnipeg has been called the most racist city in Canada. This paradox of development and disparity is not without hope. In Manitoba there is also a rich set of grassroots organizations intent on tackling poverty, racism, crime and disparity.

These groups, institutions and initiatives have looked to the process of Community Economic Development (CED) as a means of creating broader social and economic inclusion. CED does not focus on the creation of profitable businesses alone. It also seeks to improve local communities through stable employment, improved health, a better physical environment and community control of resources.

CED in Manitoba is guided by the holistic and demanding framework put forward by The Neechi Principles. These principles consider much more than profit. They propose that the economic decisions of production, consumption and investment need to first consider the potential benefits to the community. Social outcomes such as improved health, human dignity, skill development, stability and positive environmental effects need to be of concern.

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CED organizations have touched industries from construction, to banking, to home hardware, to car sharing, to grocery stores. Manitoba has shown how social enterprise and co-ops can diversify CED projects.

As CED moves forward in Manitoba some shortcomings need to be considered. CED seeks to fill holes left by the market system. This often means CED projects are financially unviable despite being socially necessary. Structural weaknesses in finding supportive funding need to be considered. Governmental funding ebbs and flows according to shifting political priorities. External funding also shifts power away from the community to outside hands. Diverse funding for CED needs to be sought and alternative sources need to be created. Community involvement and ownership need to be at the forefront of CED projects, but this will not happen without some government support.

CED has never been easy. Despite this, a CED sector has continued to grow in Manitoba. Excitement is building around the possibilities of social enterprise, co-ops, community based service delivery, and development focused training initiatives.
With more time, resources and exposure to the benefits of CED, its positive effect on our province will only continue.  

Table of Contents

   The Problems of Capitalism
   The Importance of Community Economic Development in Marginalized Communities
   Manitoba’s Indigenous Population, Colonialism and Community Economic Development
The Theoretical Underpinnings of Community Economic Development in Manitoba
   The Neechi Principles—Drawing the Roadmap for Manitoban Community
   Economic Development
   Convergent Economic Development
   Some Challenges of Community Economic Development
The State and Community Economic Development
   The Subsidization of Community Economic Development
   Issues and Difficulties with Government Supports
Government Support for Community Economic Development in Manitoba’s Past
   Community Economic Development in Manitoba in the 50s and 60s
   Manitoban Community Economic Development in the 70s
   The Great Northern Plan
   The Core Area Initiative
Contemporary Integration of Community Economic Development into Government Policy
   The Manitoba Community Economic Development Lens and Community and Economic Development Committee of Cabinet
   Neighbourhoods Alive!
   Community Benefits Agreements
   The Manitoba Community Enterprise Development Tax Credit
   The Conservative Budget 2017—Support for CED in a Changing Political Environment
The Interconnected Web of Community Economic Development Initiatives in Manitoba
   Social Enterprise Supports
   Social Enterprises: Working with the Community and Government
   Research, Advocacy and Policy Institutions
   Community Economic Development and Finance
   Co-ops for the Everyday Manitoban
Criticisms of Community Economic Development
   The Neechi Example—Times of growth and times of uncertainty

Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Research report
Introduction to CED
Policy Development & Advocacy
Research & Development
Social Economy & Social Enterprise

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