Manitoba roundup: Latex, COVID-19 and half a billion dollars

The Friday before any long weekend traditionally sees a plethora of announcements from all levels of government, and Thanksgiving weekend was no exception.

Here’s a quick round-up of most of the government announcements from Friday:

Province hopes to spend $577 million on COVID-19 response

The provincial government will ask the Manitoba Legislature for an additional half-billion dollars in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding is in addition to the $1 billion approved in April, bringing the total spending request for this fiscal year to $1.577 billion.

Budget bill introduced

The Manitoba Government introduced their Budget Bill for 2020-21 on Friday.

The bill includes measures like:

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  • raising the thresholds of the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy, benefitting about 1,000 medium-sized businesses
  • eliminating probate fees
  • increasing the Film and Video Production Tax Credit
  • increasing the number of child care spaces eligible for the Child Care Centre Development Tax Credit to 682 and
  • formalizing the Seniors Economic Recovery Credit that was sent out earlier this year.
Click to play video 'Manitoba commits funding to help health care, seniors and people with disabilities in throne speech' Manitoba commits funding to help health care, seniors and people with disabilities in throne speech

Manitoba commits funding to help health care, seniors and people with disabilities in throne speech

New CFO for Winnipeg

The city of Winnipeg is searching for a new Chief Financial Officer.

The former CFO, Mike Ruta, is currently acting as Chief Administrative Officer and won’t return to the CFO position, said Mayor Brian Bowman.

The CFO recruitment committee will include Couns. Scott Gillingham, Cindy Gilroy and Markus Chambers.

Province to treat federal income supports as earned income

The province says federal income supports for provincial employment and income assistance program (EIA) clients will be treated as earned income, says Families Minister Heather Stefanson.

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“Manitoba will treat new federal income support benefits as earned income for determining continued EIA eligibility, meaning eligible people will be able to receive more benefits than they would through EIA alone,” said Stefanson.

“Clients will also continue to receive EIA health benefits, including prescription, dental and optical, under the Rewarding Work Health Plan.”

Trails to see $7 million for enhancement

Manitoba trails will see $7 million in spending for enhancement, says the provincial government.

The province has created three separate funds for three different groups to manage, said Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires.

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“The $1-million Trails Manitoba Operating Endowment Fund will serve as ongoing operating funding for Trails Manitoba. The $4-million Manitoba Trails Improvement Endowment Fund will support annual application-based grants to create new trails or improve existing ones.

“The third fund, a $2-million Manitoba Trails Strategic Fund, is designed to support capital projects that advance recreational trail development in Winnipeg and will be distributed as matching grants.”

City looking for multi-year budget feedback

The city of Winnipeg says Winnipeggers can take a short survey on how to adjust the budget now that it’s been impacted by the pandemic.

“The multi-year budget process allows for flexibility because each year, the budget has to be approved by City Council,” said the city.

“In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic created unexpected impacts on the City. City Council now has to make decisions on how to adjust the multi-year budget to accommodate the financial impacts from the pandemic.”

Take the survey here.

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Liberals introduce latex control bill

The Manitoba Liberal Party has introduced a private members bill to ban the sale and use of latex gloves starting in January 2022.

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“For years, individuals with severe latex allergy have had to live with the fear that they will be exposed to latex as they go about their day-to-day lives,” said MLA Jon Gerrard. “This fear and concern have been heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic as more and more people have been using latex gloves to protect themselves from the virus.”

Gerrard said there are alternatives that cost the same amount, so latex is no longer needed.

Survey on Winnipeg Transit

Winnipeggers can now take an online survey to give their feedback on the City of Winnipeg’s Master Transit Plan.

This is the third and final phase of community consultation of the plan.

Take the survey before Nov. 6 here.

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