Manitoba Premier Speaks at WESTAC Spring Forum

May 05, 2023 | Category: News Releases

Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 4, 2023—WESTAC members gathered in Winnipeg to attend the annual Spring Member Forum in conjunction with the WESTAC’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. The Forum’s theme focused on Creating Corporate Advantage and hosted several notable guest speakers.

Hon. Doyle Piwniuk, Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure, Government of Manitoba and Chair of WESTAC, opened the Forum with optimism and congratulated WESTAC on its 50th anniversary.

Speakers provided members with unique insights and explored ideas for enhancing their corporate advantage. Marie-France Paquet, Chief Economist at Global Affairs Canada, kicked off the Forum by evaluating Canada’s trade performance. She gave a refresher on Canada’s free trade agreements and key economic highlights.

The forum also featured a session on Economic Reconciliation. As Canadian businesses strive for long-term sustainability and success, it has become increasingly imperative to cultivate strong and enduring partnerships with Indigenous Peoples. These partnerships need to be founded on mutual trust, respect, and shared prosperity.

WESTAC was honoured to have Premier Heather Stefanson address members on opportunities in Manitoba. This address set the stage for the spotlight session, where some of the province’s business leaders discussed the opportunities ahead for Manitoba businesses.

“As Chair of the Council of Federation, I want to ensure that a national infrastructure strategy is a top priority for the agenda at our July meeting. I look forward to hosting my Premier colleagues in Winnipeg to spearhead this national plan which would benefit not only Manitobans but all Canadians. Together, we will get our commodities and products to market more efficiently than ever before and grow our economy,” remarked Premier Stefanson.

Other topics covered by speakers included managing skilled labour shortages, as Canada's transportation industry continues to face a tight labour market. Pedro Antunes, Chief Economist, with the Conference Board of Canada, highlighted that the transportation industry incurred a $3.8 billion GDP loss from costs associated with an excess job vacancy rate of 5.9 per cent.

The day concluded with a reception at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. WESTAC was honoured to have the reception held at the museum, which is located on the Indigenous ancestral lands on Treaty One Territory. The Red River Valley is also the birthplace of the Métis. 

A complete list of speakers can be found here.


The Western Transportation Advisory Council (WESTAC) is a council of organizations in the transportation sector represented by senior decision-makers. WESTAC’s members span all aspects of freight transportation in Canada. They include carriers and logistics providers, ports and terminals, shippers, labour unions, and the three levels of government. Members represent a significant share of the Western Canadian economy. We focus on critical issues that affect Western Canada’s freight transportation network to ensure that it is safe, efficient, reliable, and competitive.

For more information, please contact:
Marzia Rizvi
Manager, Program Development & Communications