Max Rady College of Medicine

Concept: Health Regions in Manitoba

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Concept Description

Last Updated: 2013-12-20


    The term "health region" generally describes geographical areas defined by specific health-related boundaries that allow for area-level analysis and comparison. Over time, different health regions have been defined and used in MCHP research.

    This concept briefly describes the various "health region" definitions used in MCHP research over time and provides links to more detailed information describing each method. Links to other methods of regional analysis used in MCHP research are also provided.

Health Regions in Manitoba

    There are three major definitions of "health regions" used in MCHP research over time.

1. Administrative Health Regions

    Prior to the formation of the Regional Health Authorities (RHAs), Manitoba was divided first into 7 administrative regions (from 1970 to March, 1989) and then into 10 regions (from April 1989 to ~1997), with Winnipeg partitioned into 3 zones. The regions were divided as follows:

    7 Health Regions (1970 - 1989/03)

    • Central
    • Eastman
    • Interlake
    • NOR-MAN
    • Parkland
    • Westman
    • Winnipeg

    10 Health Regions (1989/04 - ~1997)

    • Central
    • Eastman
    • Interlake
    • NOR-MAN
    • Thompson
    • Parkland
    • Westman
    • Winnipeg (1-3)

    In order to divide research data into 7 or 10 regions, a REGION variable needs to be created using the variable municipal code (MUNCODE). In most MCHP datasets, regions have also been defined for individuals and hospitals.

    Creating 7 or 10 regions with the municipal code can be done for both Hospital Discharge Abstracts and Medical Services/Physician Claims data, but Treaty Status Indians may be classified inappropriately using municipal code only (see CAUTION below).

    • Because of changes in municipal codes and their associated regions, 10 and 7 region formats are not interchangeable. There are a number of municipal codes that have been created, or removed between each format. A number of municipal codes have moved between Westman and Parkland, Winnipeg was separated into 3 areas, and many municipal codes have changed.
    • The 10 region format will not work prior to 1989 due to municipal codes associated with Winnipeg and unorganized territories. The unorganized territories in northern Manitoba are classified as the NOR-MAN region in the 7 region format based on a majority rule in the population.
    • The 7 region format will not work on data after 1989.


    • Municipal code is generally used to assign REGION, except for Treaty Status Indians whose records are generally assigned using postal codes. This is done because all Status Indians are assigned a municipal code that corresponds to their associated band, but that may not reflect where they actually live.

    Please see the SAS code and formats section below internal access only for example SAS code related to working with the 7 or 10 administrative health regions.

2. Physician Service Areas (PSA)

3. Regional Health Authorities (RHA)

Other Methods of Regional Analysis

Related concepts 

Related terms 


  • Black C, Roos NP, Fransoo R, Martens PJ. Comparative Indicators of Population Health and Health Care use for Manitoba's Regional Health Authorities: A POPULIS Project. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation, 1999. [Report] [Summary] (View)
  • Fransoo R, Martens P, Burland E, The Need to Know Team, Prior H, Burchill C. Manitoba RHA Indicators Atlas 2009. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2009. [Report] [Summary] [Additional Materials] (View)
  • Fransoo R, Martens P, The Need to Know Team, Prior H, Burchill C, Koseva I, Bailly A, Allegro E. The 2013 RHA Indicators Atlas. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2013. [Report] [Summary] [Additional Materials] (View)
  • Martens PJ, Fransoo R, The Need to Know Team, Burland E, Jebamani L, Burchill C, Black C, Dik N, MacWilliam L, Derksen S, Walld R, Steinbach C, Dahl M. The Manitoba RHA Indicators Atlas: Population-Based Comparison of Health and Health Care Use. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2003. [Report] [Summary] [Additional Materials] (View)
  • Stewart D, Black C, Martens PJ, Peterson S, Friesen D. Assessing the Performance of Rural and Northern Hospitals in Manitoba: A First Look. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2000. [Report] [Summary] (View)
  • Wall RW. Patterns of ambulatory medical care in rural Manitoba: Determinants of utilization and the effect of physician practice-modality. [Dissertation] The University of Manitoba, 1997.(View)


  • geographic analysis
  • RHAs

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Manitoba Centre for Health Policy
Community Health Sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine,
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences,
Room 408-727 McDermot Ave.
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3E 3P5 Canada