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Manitoba Top Performing Prairie Province on Society Report Card, But Needs to Reduce Homicides and Improve Income Outcomes

The province sits in 16th place among 26 comparator regions

Ottawa, April 5, 2017 – Low rankings on a number of equity and social cohesion measures mar Manitoba’s “B” grade on The Conference Board of Canada’s society report card. The How Canada Performs: Society report card is the first to compare the social performance of Canada, the provinces, and 15 peer countries.

chart with grades for Canada and the provinces on society report card

“Manitoba is the top-performing Prairie province on the society report card,” said Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada. “However, high marks on life satisfaction and social network support mask the province’s weak performance on poverty, income mobility, homicides, and immigrant and racial wage gaps.”


  • Manitoba is the top-ranked Prairie province, placing 16th overall and scoring an overall “B”.
  • The province gets “A” grades on life satisfaction and social network support.
  • Manitoba has the second highest three-year average homicide rate among the 26 comparator jurisdictions, only the U.S. fares worse.
  • New Brunswick is the top-ranked province, placing 10th among the 26 regions. Half the provinces receive “B” grades and are middle-of-the-pack performers.
  • Canada gets a “B” overall and ranks 10th among the 16 peer countries.


Manitoba gets “B” grades on five indicators: income inequality, gender wage gap, jobless youth, burglaries, and suicides. Manitoba’s standout “A” performances are on two self-reported measures: perceived social network support and life satisfaction.

The province’s worst showing is on homicides, where it gets a “D”. With a three-year average of 3.7 homicides per 100,000 population, Manitoba has the second highest homicide rate among all the jurisdictions, after the United States.

The province also gets a “D” on intergenerational income mobility, which is a measure of the extent to which differences in income are transmitted from one generation to the next. The implication is that Manitobans born into low income families struggle to have a better income bracket than their parents. Manitoba ranks last among all Canadian jurisdictions with income mobility over two times lower than that of top-ranked province Prince Edward Island. This indicator not included in the calculation of the overall rankings since comparable international data are not available.

The province also does poorly on other equity indicators not included in the calculation of the overall rankings, due to the lack of comparable international data. Manitoba has the highest immigrant wage gap among the provinces—there is an astounding 39 percent difference in median hourly wages between university-educated landed immigrants and Canadian-born citizens in the province. The province’s racial wage gap is also among the highest in the country at 15 percent—only Ontario and Quebec have higher racial wage gaps. On a more positive note, Manitoba is the best-performing province on income of people with disabilities—the average income of people with disabilities is 76.5 per cent that of people without disabilities.

On poverty and voter turnout, Manitoba is a “C” performer. Manitoba has one of the highest poverty rates among the provinces.

Canada earns an overall “B” grade and ranks 10th among the 16 peer countries on the Society report card. The country ranks high on life satisfaction but does poorly relative to top-ranked peers on poverty, income inequality, gender wage gap, and voter turnout.

How Canada Performs is an ongoing research program at The Conference Board of Canada to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada’s socio-economic performance. Six performance domains are assessed: Economy, Education and Skills, Innovation, Environment, Health, and Society.

Explore the results of the How Canada Performs: Society report card in-depth during a live webinar on April 19, 2017 at 02:00 PM EDT.

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