Manitoba seeking authority to spend additional $400M on COVID-19 response

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is seeking authority from the legislature to spend an additional $400 million on its pandemic response, and $50 million on other capital commitments.

Finance Minister Scott Fielding made the announcement in a news release on Wednesday, saying that as the pandemic continues, the province has to adapt its response to address the evolving needs.

“Our investments focus on our top priority of protecting Manitobans, and Manitoba has devoted the third-highest per capita pandemic spending in Canada to help protect public health and safety, prepare for potential future waves of the virus and further support the safe reopening of our economy,” he said.

On Wednesday, Fielding is introducing the Supplementary Appropriation Act, 2020-21. This act seeks authority to invest an additional $450 million over the last month of the 2020-21 fiscal year on health care and capital projects.

The province noted that this includes the authority to spend $400 million on pandemic-related costs and the early stages of the immunization campaign, as well as the authority to give $50 million to school divisions for new school construction projects. More information will be made available on these projects once planning is finished and the projects have received final approval.

“Manitoba’s COVID-19 response has included additional operating costs, wage supports and economic relief to businesses, in addition to health-care costs,” Fielding said.

“Alongside our pandemic response, our government is proceeding with investments for important capital projects, such as buying land and building new schools, that will help boost our economy and build a better Manitoba for the future.”

Fielding added that the total COVID-19 supplementary funding for the 2020-21 fiscal year will be $1.98 billion.

On Wednesday, the Manitoba government is reconvening its third session of the 42nd legislature, which will be focused on protecting the personal and financial health of residents.

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