Government of Canada launches new approach to deliver good jobs in building a green economy on the Prairies

News release

An image of a zero-emission transit bus with text “$10M toward zero-emission transit buses and motorcoaches, and building a Green Prairie Economy”.

$10 Million for NFI Group supports a sustainable and prosperous net-zero Prairie economy

December 18, 2023 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Government of Canada

The Prairies are an economic, agricultural and energy powerhouse that is increasingly diversified and has a significant impact on Canada’s overall prosperity. As we move towards a net-zero economy, people living and working on the Prairies are taking action and leading to take advantage of growing economic development opportunities. During six months of consultations earlier this year, partners from across the Prairies were clear about the need to seize new possibilities for good-paying jobs in a globally competitive green economy by building on the region’s strengths in clean resource development, agricultural and manufacturing sectors, and the service industry.

Success requires deliberate partnerships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses, governments, communities, and others. That is why the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan, supported by nine other federal ministers, is launching the Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy. It marks a new way for the federal government to work more closely with Prairie stakeholders on their priorities for a cleaner and sustainable economy that leaves no one behind.

The Framework is a principles-based approach to collaboration with local and regional organizations and partners that respects provincial jurisdiction and supports economic reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. It commits to long-term measures to enhance coordination between federal departments to drive strategic investments in the region, encouraging closer linkages with provincial governments and other stakeholders to improve access to federal programs that better meet their needs.

The Framework was tabled in Parliament December 11, 2023, and meets the legislative requirements of the Building a Green Prairie Economy Act, which also committed the government to engage extensively across the Prairies in the development of the Framework and report back to Parliament regularly.

Common themes that emerged from PrairiesCan’s consultations identified five areas for collaborative action:

  • growing key regional sectors, including natural resources, agriculture, and manufacturing;
  • effective movement of goods, people, and information;
  • expanding and capitalizing on clean electricity;
  • community economic development; and,
  • economic reconciliation and inclusive growth.

To kickstart this ambitious work, Minister Vandal has dedicated $100 million of existing PrairiesCan funding over the next three years to support projects aligned with the five priorities. This is intended to encourage greater collaboration on investment opportunities, leverage additional funding, and attract new investments across the Prairies.

As part of PrairiesCan’s $100 million commitment, Minister Vandal announced a $10 million investment in NFI Group that exemplifies work underway to advance the green Prairie economy. This investment through Canada’s Jobs and Growth Fund will enable NFI Group to build new zero-emission transit buses and motorcoaches and modernize its Winnipeg motorcoach manufacturing facility to increase production capacity. As a result, NFI Group will maintain existing jobs and add local jobs to meet future demand, while ensuring the company can capitalize on new sales opportunities and support western Canadian supply chains.


"People living on the Prairies have a long history of cooperation and know that realizing the full value of a net zero future will be possible when partners come together with shared purpose and draw upon local assets and strengths across our region. No one government, industry, or organization can do it alone. The Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy significantly strengthens our ability to enhance the coordination of federal programs that are informed by those who are building a stronger, sustainable economic future."

The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor

“NFI Group is one of Manitoba’s most exciting low-carbon industry leaders. Under the direction of Mr. Soubry, NFI Group has been on the cutting edge of zero-emission transit, supplying buses for some the largest cities around the world and right here in Winnipeg. Manitobans are proud of their work, and we are glad to see this investment from the federal government today.”

- The Honourable Wab Kinew, Manitoba Premier 

“We are excited to be working collaboratively with the federal government supporting their Green Prairie Economy strategy. NFI has been a leader in the low-carbon industry and a strong Manitoba employer employing over 2,800 Manitobans. This investment by the federal government is an important step to creating more jobs, and maintaining the current workforce.”

The Honourable Jamie Moses, Manitoba Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources 

“As stewards of these lands since time immemorial, we applaud Canada for taking a distinction-based lens to a green economy. Recent First Nation approaches to economic development and clean energy in Manitoba have seen several First Nations operating or developing solar and wind farms and other clean energy opportunities. The AMC understands that a First Nations economic strategy is a part of the road map to self-determination. But we are also aware that any strategy must be grounded in traditional environmental values and our ways and knowing that leverages the existing strengths of our people that can assist in the development of a green economy for the prairies. The AMC fully supports the development of a green economy, and First Nations look forward to working with Canada as their Treaty partners with the Crown, taking a much larger role in matters that affect Treaty lands and First Nations traditional territories and the waters that run through them.”

- Grand Chief Cathy Merrick, The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

“The Manitoba Métis Federation – the National Government of the Red River Métis – continues our ongoing commitment to a green, sustainable economy, both for our Citizens and for all who participate in the Prairie economy. This includes our energy efficient buildings, our commitment to plant and grow 50 million trees in the next 20 years, cleaning our rivers and creeks that need our support for fish, wildlife and water quality. We are also putting a focus on building partnerships to ensure all benefit from the green economy. As a member of the newly established Manitoba Premier’s Business and Jobs Council, I look forward to working with NFI Group president and CEO Paul Soubry and other business leaders in partnership and collaboration on important initiatives to be supported under PrairiesCan's Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy. Our people were born as the economic engine of the west, and there can be no doubt that our decades of work to rebuild that engine are paying dividends for all – we all have a responsibility to build a green economy.”

David Chartrand LL. D (hon.), O.M., President, Manitoba Métis Federation

"On behalf of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, we applaud the federal government for taking steps to advance the Building a Green Prairie Economy Act, recognizing the critical and vital role the prairie provinces play in Canada's long-term economic success. To build a prosperous green prairie economy, we encourage a framework that focuses on Indigenous economic reconciliation and underscores industry leadership in driving down emissions across all sectors. We look forward to continuing to collaborate on the framework on behalf of the business community."

 Deborah Yedlin, President & CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce

"The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce welcomes this announcement on the Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy. The allocation of funds to Saskatchewan's key sectors, such as natural resources and agriculture, is critical for our local economy and enhances our capacity to provide what the world needs. Saskatchewan is a leader in sustainability and innovation, and we are encouraged by the Framework as an opportunity for increased collaboration between levels of government and the local business community. This announcement is aligned with the Chamber’s priorities for economic growth, job creation, community development and Indigenous engagement in the economy.”

Prabha Ramaswamy, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

“This Framework sets the stage for sustainable growth in our region, leveraging strengths in key sectors like manufacturing, transportation, and energy production. It's a collaborative effort between all governments that aligns with Winnipeg's own commitment to a prosperous, green future. We're eager to contribute to this work.”

Scott Gillingham, Mayor, City of Winnipeg 

“On behalf of the entire team at NFI, I would like to thank PrairiesCan for their partnership and financial support. NFI is proudly headquartered in Manitoba, where over 2,800 of our team members work and live, and this non-interest-bearing loan has been instrumental in further strengthening our position in the province. The funds have been strategically invested alongside our own funds in continuing innovation of our zero-emissions transit bus and coach offerings and transforming production lines at our MCI facility. This positions us extremely well for our recovery and future success as we lead the evolution to zero-emission public transportation.”

Paul Soubry, President, and Chief Executive Officer, NFI Group Inc.

Quick facts

  • In 2022, the Prairies Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $660 billion, accounting for nearly 24 percent of Canada’s GDP ($2.8 trillion).

  • The Prairies region is the world's largest producer of potash, second largest producer of uranium, fourth largest producer of crude oil, and home to over 80% of Canada’s farmland – an area equal in size to the land mass of Spain.

  • The Building a Green Prairie Economy Act, based on the Private Members Bill C-235, championed by the late Honourable Jim Carr received royal assent on December 15, 2022.

  • The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan, was named under the Act to lead extensive consultations across the Prairies to inform the development of a Framework to be tabled in Parliament one year after royal assent of the Act.

  • The engagements with the private sector, provincial governments, Indigenous leaders, municipal governments, economic development organizations, academia, and labour organizations, done from February to July 2023 by the Minister and officials, were the largest ever undertaken by PrairiesCan.  

  • The consultations heard from nearly 500 participants in over 130 engagement sessions and received more than 130 written submissions including those from an online portal open to the public.

  • Minister Vandal is supported in the Framework by these ministers and their departments:

    • The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
    • The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages Canada
    • The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry Canada
    • The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities
    • The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
    • The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister for Indigenous Services, and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency of Northern Ontario
    • The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • The Honourable Pablo Rodriquez, Minister of Transportation Canada
    • The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Canada 
  • Future federal collaboration with sectors across the Prairie economy will build on opportunities to address challenges such as those related to supply chains, climate action, energy, and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure.

  • Progress reports will be tabled in Parliament in 2025 and every five years thereafter in accordance with the Act.


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Associated links


Carson Debert
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor

Mark Feldbauer
Communications Manager
Prairies Economic Development Canada

Chris Minaker
Director, Policy, Planning and External Relations, Manitoba Region
Prairies Economic Development Canada

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