MAYOR & FINANCE CHAIR TO MEET WITH BOND RATING AGENCIES

Mayor Brian Bowman and Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance, Councillor Marty Morantz, are scheduled to meet with international bond rating agencies Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s next week in New York to discuss the City of Winnipeg’s finances and the City’s projections for growth.

Mayor Bowman and Councillor Morantz will be in New York from October 3-5. Joining them on the trip will be Doug McNeil, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Mike Ruta, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the City of Winnipeg. While in New York, they will also be meeting with Phyllis Yaffe, the Consul General of Canada, Tim Tompkins from Time Square Alliance, and officials from the Traffic Management Centre at New York’s Department of Transportation.

“These discussions with international bond rating agencies are important and occur annually with the City of Winnipeg,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “It is a key opportunity for us to underscore our commitment for fiscal prudence and balance, as well as reinforce that Winnipeg’s economy and population are both projected to grow steadily over the next twenty-five years.”

“Winnipeg is growing, and we need to be building and managing our assets today in a way that builds Winnipeg for the future,” said Mayor Bowman.

The City of Winnipeg released this summer its 2016 City of Winnipeg Population, Housing, and Economic Forecast. It relies on data from Statistics Canada, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and The Conference Board of Canada, which is widely considered the foremost independent, evidence-based applied research organization in the country.

The Forecast indicates that Winnipeg’s average annual population growth over the next 25 years is estimated to increase by 8,200 people per year. It also indicates that the City of Winnipeg’s Census Metropolitan Area population will exceed 1 million people by 2034/35 and is projected to surpass 1,055,000 by 2040.

The City of Winnipeg population is expected to grow from a population of approximately 718,400 to 922,600 by 2040, an increase of over 200,000 people, representing a 28 per cent increase.

In addition to containing population and housing data, the Forecast also indicates that the annual growth in Winnipeg’s real Gross Domestic Product will be maintained at about 2.1 per cent per year, and that employment and disposable income are both projected to remain steady and strong.

“The diversity of Winnipeg’s economy remains a key strength and helps drive growth across our city,” said Councillor Marty Morantz. “In our meetings, we will be emphasizing how we are supporting growth in our city by better managing our debt, and focusing our borrowing on key intergenerational projects. At the same time, it will be important to emphasize that Winnipeg remains well below key debt limit thresholds,” said Morantz.

Mayor Bowman emphasized the critical importance immigration plays in growing Winnipeg’s population, and that Winnipeg’s diversity is both an economic and social strength.

“Immigration will continue to be the largest single contributor to population growth in Winnipeg and Manitoba,” said Mayor Bowman. “Winnipeg’s diversity will continue to grow, and it is essential that as a community we welcome new people to our city, and recognize the strength they provide.”

Statistics Canada recently announced that in the 12 months ending June 30, 2016, Manitoba’s population increased by 22,147 people or about 1.7 percent representing the largest annual growth in the province’s history. This increase was largely driven by immigration, and the continued success of the Provincial Nominee Program. The majority of those coming to Manitoba choose to reside in Winnipeg.

Existing credit ratings for the City of Winnipeg from Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s are AA and Aa2 respectively.

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