Manitoba Green Retrofit

Manitoba Green Retrofit
Recent participants in the MGR program

For many lower income Winnipeggers, the barriers to employment in the formal labour market can often seem insurmountable. Fortunately, Manitoba Green Retrofit (MGR) has identified and helped eliminate these barriers through an innovative business model. “We find the people who want the work, who want to develop skills and improve their circumstances, and then we go and find the work together,” says General Manager, Lucas Stewart.

MGR is a non-profit social enterprise that employs unemployed and underemployed individuals. It offers energy efficiency retrofits, residential renovations, and a service for vulnerable persons who cannot prepare their home for bed bug treatments. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a socially responsible mandate to reduce poverty, improve employment opportunities, and enhance environmental sustainability, Manitoba Green Retrofit is a leader in CED principles. This non-profit social enterprise takes on small construction projects, environmental retrofits, rental apartment turnovers, and basic renovations in some of Winnipeg’s lower income housing stock. The construction work, however, is seen as a means towards a greater end. MGR seeks to improve low-income communities by providing training, creating opportunities, and building sustainable community development.

Manitoba Green Retrofit
Glen working at one of the homes

MGR has established a partnership with the North End Community Renewal Corporation to complete 300 energy retrofits in the Point Douglas Neighbourhood. The overall goal of the energy retrofit program is to lower monthly home utility costs, which in many cases are paid by tenants who are earning minimal wages or are on social assistance. The overall impacts of the project are lower monthly utility bills for low income people, improved housing stock in a low market value neighbourhood and jobs for unemployed and underemployed men and women.

The Jubilee Fund loan guarantee will allow MGR to provide employment to individuals who may otherwise not have been considered “employable” in the traditional labour market.

Manitoba Green Retrofit
Lucas