Cost of Living
Affordability and frugality are core components of the Winnipeg advantage. Our competitive tax rates, low utility costs, and affordable housing means that Winnipeggers enjoy more disposable income, compared to other major cities across Canada. In fact, Winnipeg was ranked as the most cost-competitive city compared to the U.S. and Western Canada by KPMG, as recently as 2016.
Winnipeg real estate is affordable, with the housing market mirroring the city's stable and diverse economy. With house prices costing $165,000 less than the Canadian average in 2015, it's easy to see why we love our hometown so much.
MLS 2017 average residential house price: $295,885 (CMHC, 2018)
Rental properties allow for short-term flexibility living options, with available properties across the city. The rental vacancy rate in Winnipeg is currently 2.9% with an average apartment rent of $1,030 (CMHC, 2018).
Taxes: Affordable and Competitive
The Government of Canada has a goods and services tax (GST), whereby individuals, businesses and other entities pay five per cent on most goods and services procured. In Manitoba, an eight per cent retail sales tax (RST) is also levied on most goods and certain services. Both the GST and RST are calculated against the gross product price.
Most businesses, including manufacturers and processors, qualify for full input tax credits on the amount of GST paid on purchases made for business purposes where the firm is not the final consumer.
Property Taxes, Mill Rates, and Business Taxes
Property taxes are calculated in Winnipeg by applying municipal and school mill rates against the portioned assessment of an individual’s property. For calculating taxes, one mill represents one dollar of taxes for every $1,000 of portioned assessment. One mill is equivalent to 0.1% property tax rate.
Municipal mill rates are set by the City of Winnipeg, while the provincial government will establish a Provincial Education mill rate, and school divisions setting a final mill rate.
Click here to search Winnipeg business assessment rates by specific address.
Some Winnipeg neighbourhoods fall into Business Improvement Zones.
There are currently 16 BIZ Zones in Winnipeg, whose mandate is to attract new business and economic development to the area, as well as lobby on behalf of their member organizations. If applicable, a business improvement zone (BIZ) levy is also applied against the annual rental value. Click here to view a list of current BIZ levy rates.
Gross Tax Rate Calculation Example
|Portioned Assessment x||
Municipal Mill Rate
|= Municipal Taxes|
|Portioned Assessment x||
Provincial Education Mill Rate
= Provincial Education Taxes
|Portioned Assessment x||
School Division Mill Rate
= School Division Taxes
|+ Local Improvements|
|= Total Current Taxes (Gross)|
Business Tax Rates
Business taxes are calculated by applying a tax levy rate against the Annual Rental Value (ARV).
Annual Rental Value x Business Tax Rate (Set by City Council) = Gross Business Tax
The ARV is the estimated rent per square foot for the floorspace of a business, and is different from actual rental rates. The ARV includes the estimated cost of providing heat and other necessary services for occupancy comfort.
The business tax rate in Winnipeg in 2017 is 5.25 per cent. This rate is set annually by City Council.
A Small Business Tax Credit (SBTC) exists for businesses with an ARV of $32,220 or less. Qualifying businesses will receive a tax credit equal to their full business taxes. This credit does not include BIZ Zone levies.
Winnipeg’s cheap gas and hydroelectricity, coupled with an abundant and inexpensive water supply and a world-class telecommunications network, play a large factor in the city’s affordability for its residents and businesses.
Hydro and Natural Gas
Manitoba Hydro is a Crown corporation and the province's major energy provider. From its head office in downtown Winnipeg, the utility company provides among the lowest-cost business and residential electricity rates in Canada.
Manitoba Hydro also has a program dedicated to reducing energy consumption for residents and businesses. The Power Smart program is a demand-side management initiative that offers incentives and options for increasing energy efficiency. Click here for more information about Power Smart incentives.
Water and Waste
Winnipeg enjoys an abundant and cost-effective supply of some of the purest water found in North America.
Water and waste services are provided by the City of Winnipeg’s Water and Waste Department. This department consists of three distinct utilities: water, wastewater and solid waste disposal. In addition, the department provides tax-supported services for land drainage, flood control and solid waste collection.
The City of Winnipeg’s only waste disposal site—the Brady Road Landfill—is expected to have an operational lifespan of 100 years.
A longtime top priority for the Manitoba, Winnipeggers are passionate about maintaining a world-class, universal health-care system that provides timely and quality access to services for all those who need it.
Canada's universal health-care system is among the best and lowest cost of all industrialized countries. A 2009 Harris/Decima poll found 82 per cent of Canadians preferred their health-care system to the one in the U.S. Lower medical insurance premiums are a major reason for this distinct Canadian advantage.