New laws and initiatives – Canstar Herald article by Andrew Micklefield on June 16, 2021

Earlier this month Manitoba’s Legislature completed one of busiest Legislative sessions in Manitoba history. Over 100 bills from all parties were introduced, about 70 passed, a handful were defeated and the rest remain on the Order Paper for further consideration this Fall. But Manitobans rarely hear about many of the interesting but less contentious things that come from their Legislature. Here are some examples from  recent months:

The Ministry of Families has partnered with the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association to pilot the Rent Bank, a $5.6 million investment to support low-to-moderate-income families. Collectively owned and managed by over 100 non-profit housing providers, 24,000 affordable homes are available in 23 communities across Manitoba. Spending on the Department of Families rose by $34 million this year.

A new paid sick leave program received all-party support for employees missing work due to COVID-19 by providing employers with up to $600 per employee for up to five days. Employees can also take a three-hour paid leave to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

Manitoba’s first black Cabinet Minister Audrey Gordon, Minister for Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery, has strengthened online therapy and phone support for Manitobans struggling with mental health or addictions. Numerous programs with a youth focus are listed on the Department’s website and also at stresshacks.ca. 33 mental health and addictions projects have benefitted from $50 million in investments.

Amounts paid to jurors had not been looked at in decades and were recently modernized so juror rates are more in keeping with 2021.

Legal liability for professionals (for example, architects, engineers) now matches the rest of Canada. Under the old legislation, Manitoba had a broad array of liabilities depending on the subject. In some cases, liability was in place for 30 years. Other provinces modernized their rules years ago. These changes establish reasonability limitations for liability and bring Manitoba in line with the rest of Canada.

Record investments of $630 million for 2021 are allocated to roads, bridges and water infrastructure projects. Another record investment of $3 billion over four years is set aside for public schools, which includes a commitment to build 20 new schools, several of which have already opened.

I am available to answer any questions about government programs or provincial initiatives throughout the summer. Please contact me anytime at andrew@andrewmicklefield.com or 204.289.4545. Andrew Micklefield is the MLA for Rossmere and the Government Whip for the Province of Manitoba.

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