The flag of Manitoba is a variation of the Red Ensign which bears the shield of the provincial coat of arms. This flag was approved by the passage of a bill in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly on May 11, 1965 and was officially proclaimed on 12 May 1966. Queen Elizabeth II gave permission for the use of the Union device the preceding year (October 1965). The decision to adopt the flag was made after the federal government decided to replace the Canadian Red Ensign with the Maple Leaf flag, which was quite controversial at the time. The Manitoban flag, intentionally designed to resemble the Canadian red ensign, was seen as a way of preserving heritage that some felt was lost when the national flag was changed. The flag of Ontario was adopted under similar circumstances.
In 2001, a survey conducted by the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) placed the Manitoba provincial flag 44th in design quality out of the 72 Canadian provincial, U.S. state, and U.S. territory flags ranked.