WINNIPEG - Meetings with international bond rating agencies Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s this week in New York will provide the City of Winnipeg with an opportunity to underscore an ongoing commitment to fiscal prudence and highlight steady population and economic growth projections for the City of Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and Councillor Scott Gillingham, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance, announced today.

Mayor Bowman and Councillor Gillingham will be in New York from October 2-4. 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.
“Meeting directly with international bond rating agencies is very important,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “These meetings are key opportunities for us to underscore our ongoing commitment to fiscal prudence and balance, as well as reinforce how Winnipeg’s diversified economy and population are both projected to grow steadily into the future.”

“Our city’s economic diversity remains a key strength and helps support growth across our city,” said Councillor Scott Gillingham. “I look forward to emphasizing our ongoing commitment to balance our city’s budget, and our commitment to managing our city’s debt levels in a way that keeps our city’s debt burden below key debt limit thresholds.”

Mayor Bowman and Councillor Gillingham stressed how, for the first time in many years, Council has successfully negotiated and approved several multi-year wage settlements with three of its largest unions that will help the City of Winnipeg contain its future salary and benefit costs. Salaries and benefits represent approximately 56 percent of the City of Winnipeg’s operating costs, and recent contract negotiations have been focused on finding ways to contain these costs.

“It will also be important to emphasize our ongoing commitment to prudent and responsible budgeting,” said Councillor Gillingham. “This year’s Council approved budget limited tax-supported expenditure growth to 2.3%, the lowest budgeted increase in over ten years, and it relied on no new fees or charges as revenue sources.”

Last year, the City of Winnipeg released its Population, Housing, and Economic Forecast. The Forecast 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.

It 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 in 2015 to 922,600 by 2040, an increase of over 200,000 people, representing a 28 per cent increase.

From 2012 to 2016, Winnipeg’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by an average of 2.4 percent. Winnipeg’s GDP is projected to maintain 2.2 percent growth over the next few years. Compared to the rest of Canada, Winnipeg has one of the fastest growth rates and it is expected to remain above the national average.

Mayor Bowman said he will continue to emphasize 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.”

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