Province Expands $120-Million Risk Recognition Program

June 16, 2020

Based on additional input from stakeholders, the Manitoba government is expanding its $120-million Risk Recognition program to include more front-line workers who were exposed to added risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced today.

“Stakeholder input is important to our government, and we extensively consulted Manitoba’s business community, trade and labour unions and essential service organizations to set up the Risk Recognition program and determine who would qualify,” said Fielding. “We recently invited stakeholders to provide additional feedback on how to expand the program and compensate more workers for their roles to support all Manitobans during the pandemic.”

The province announced the $120-million Manitoba Risk Recognition Program in mid-May following stakeholder consultations. Stakeholders comprised 15 unions, critical service providers and business community organizations that represent more than 17,000 businesses and 110,000 workers.

The payment is available to part-time and full-time employees in various public- and private-sector positions that include the areas of health care, social services, justice, transportation, food and beverage, and essential retail. Essential workers must have worked a minimum 200 cumulative hours (or would have worked that amount but were required to self-isolate under public health orders) from March 20 to May 29.

To expand the program, the province once again solicited input from the stakeholder group. A majority of stakeholders voted to increase the qualifying threshold to a total pre-tax employment income of less than $5,000 per month, or $12,500 total during the 2.5-month eligibility period, and exclude overtime from the total gross income calculation.

The program has also been expanded to include the following positions:
• hotel workers (reception, cleaners, maintenance, kitchen staff, servers, security); and
• Business Improvement Zone staff (patrol, graffiti removal, street cleaners, distributors of COVID-19-related education material and Personal Protective Equipment).

“By increasing eligible positions and income limits, and excluding overtime earnings, we will ensure the program continues to support lower- to middle-income workers and recognizes those who may have otherwise worked themselves out of qualifying through overtime,” said Fielding. “Manitoba’s program continues to reflect the federal government’s intention of this cost-sharing program to recognize low-income Canadian workers who risked their own health to provide crucial services.”

The minister is encouraging all eligible workers to apply for the program and view the full list of positions at https://manitoba.ca/covid19/infomanitobans/mrrp.html.

The province has extended the application deadline until Monday, June 29 at noon. It will issue payment via direct deposit once it verifies applications and plans to fully distribute the $120-million fund. As the fund will be divided equally between all successful applicants, the number of program participants will determine individual payments.

A comprehensive list of Manitoba government COVID-19 measures can be found at:
https://manitoba.ca/bg/2020/04/covid19.html.

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