Lessons from Winkler

How a small Manitoba city was able to open the immigration floodgates and find the talent it needs to thrive
By Todd Humber
|CHRR, Report on Recruitment & Staffing|Last Updated: 12/12/2005

Winkler, Man., doesn’t look different than many small prairie towns to a casual observer. The community, 120 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, is home to about 9,000 residents and is the economic hub of the southern, rural part of the province that straddles the American border.

One of the largest employers in town is a recreational vehicle manufacturer. And the city, the eighth largest in the province, has a strong Mennonite community. Many of the residents are German descendants.

But start talking to those residents, and it doesn’t take long to figure out what’s different about the city — many of them haven’t lived there very long. In fact, they haven’t even been in Canada very long. Between 1999 and 2004, 1,832 immigrants chose to settle in a rural part of Manitoba that most Canadians likely couldn’t find on a map.