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Desautels Centre shares inaugural Report on Business Law and Private Enterprise

February 7, 2024 — 

The Marcel A. Desautels Centre for Private Enterprise and the Law has released an important research-based report highlighting current critical factors to the interaction of private enterprise and business law in Manitoba. 

The report, titled Business Law and Private Enterprise in Manitoba: 2023, includes relevant research findings and commentary on Indigenous Business Development, COVID-19, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Legislative Developments, Artificial Intelligence, and more.  The report is useful for individuals, firms, organizations, academics, students, and political leaders whose work and interests lie at the intersection of Manitoba business and law.  The report also highlights the lengthy list of contributions and accomplishments achieved by the Centre throughout 2023.  Click here to read the report in full.

Showcasing Scholars

As part of the Centre’s mission to attract top-level business law students for JD, LLM and MHR (Masters of Human Rights) graduate studies, during the 2023–2024 academic year, the Centre dedicated $39,000 for six Research Assistantships for LLM students to study business law at the University of Manitoba.  It also provided financial support to two tax law students to attend conferences in Montreal, Quebec and Geneva, Switzerland. Matthew London received the distinguished Canadian Tax Foundation – Bert Wolfe Nitikman Foundation Award for the Western Provinces for his paper titled “Incentivizing Giving via the Removal of Capital Gains Tax from the Donation of Private Company Shares.” Isha Khandelwal attended the United Nations 27th Session of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters.

The report also showcases samples of the important business law research undertaken by several law professors at the University of Manitoba.  Among them include Dr. Bryan Schwartz, Professor Martine Dennie, Dr. Bruce Curran, Professor Darcy MacPherson, Dr. Michelle Gallant, and Dr. Katie Szilagyi.  The report goes further to highlight important publications related to business law, including Dr. John D. McCamus’ piece in the Desautels Review for Private Enterprise and the Law, an imprint of the renowned Manitoba Law Journal.

The report also invites readers to engage with content on the Marcel A. Desautels Centre for Private Enterprise and the Law website.  For example, the Rod Senft lectures, presented in conjunction with The Stu Clark Centre for Innovation and Enterprise at the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba focus on issues in Family Business Law and feature scholars such as David Asper, Harvey Secter, and Sprague Richardson.  The lectures are available for online viewing here.

Indigenous Business Development

As the number of Indigenous businesses in Manitoba continues to grow, Indigenous entrepreneurs and students require greater support and resources.  Among other insights, the report discusses the federal government’s goal for all Federal departments and agencies to acquire from Indigenous firms a minimum of 5% of the total value of contracts, a percentage equivalent to the proportion of Indigenous people in Canada’s population.  Furthermore, non-Indigenous businesses will be working with Indigenous businesses more often, building relationships as suppliers, customers, competitors, or partners.  The report also discusses reconciliation legislation such as the federal United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and Manitoba’s The Path to Reconciliation Act.

Economic Energy

In 2023, Manitoba’s entrepreneurial scene thrived in part due to a supportive start-up community comprised of incubators, accelerators, and venture capital firms, including The Stu Clark Centre for Innovation and Enterprise.  Individuals should also be on the lookout for Manitoba’s thriving Information Technology (IT) sector and emerging opportunities in clean energy and biotechnology.  Additionally, manufacturing industries such as aerospace and transportation equipment continue to be important parts of Manitoba’s economy, contributing significantly to the number of jobs and GDP in the province.


While COVID-19 has presented several challenges such as labor shortages and global supply chain disruptions, Manitoba has bounced back in a significant way.  The province tallied a real GDP amount of $68.647 billion in 2022 and is expected to surpass $70 billion in 2023.  In the report, the Centre discusses how COVID-19 impacted Canadian businesses and legal systems, creating a blueprint for “a justice system of the future”.

Looking ahead to the future, legal issues are expected to emerge in several unique areas: artificial intelligence; the gig economy; data privacy and cybersecurity; social media; corporate governance and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG); and blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Further discussion of these legal issues are available on the Desautels website.


Business Law and Private Enterprise in Manitoba: 2023 serves as a comprehensive analysis and summary of important topics at the intersection of private enterprise and business law.  The report provides valuable research findings on traditional and emerging opportunities and challenges in Manitoba and across Canada, while predicting an exciting and expanding future for business in Manitoba.

This report could not have been created without Marcel A. Desautels, the Centre’s benefactor, who passed away on January 31, 2023 at the age of 88.  His contributions in establishing the Centre continue to make a positive impact on the lives and academic pursuits of countless individuals at the University of Manitoba and beyond.  The Centre will continue to embody Mr. Desautels’ vision of integrated synergies between business, law, and the humanities for years to come.

Follow the Desautels Centre on X (@DesautelsCentre) and LinkedIn (The Marcel A. Desautels Centre for Private Enterprise and the Law). 

The Desautels Centre thanks the individuals who contributed to this report: Jenna Chemerika, BA; Yvan Guy Larocque, CD, JD, LLM; Darcy MacPherson, LLB, LLM; Nick Noonan, JD, LLM; Laura Reimer, MPA, PhD; Natella Roshkoshna, LLM, PhD.

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