Province Selects Public Sector Expert To Conduct Mandatory Review of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act


Manitoba Families advises a Manitoban with a long history in the public sector has been selected to perform a comprehensive and mandatory review of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

Theresa Harvey Pruden will conduct the review, report on the findings and make recommendations to improve the effectiveness of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act and its regulations.  As well, the review will include consultation with the public and in particular those with disabilities.

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act became law in December 2013, and provides a clear and proactive process for identification, prevention and removal of barriers.  Physical, communication and systemic barriers prevent a significant portion of Manitobans from fully participating in society.  The act is aimed at eliminating barriers through development of accessibility standards for government, public and private-sector organizations including municipalities, business and not-for-profit organizations.

The mandatory, four-year review will focus on initiatives already taken under the act and the structures that support it.  It is anticipated the review will begin in March and the final report, with recommendations, to be completed before the end of the year.

Harvey Pruden, of Winnipeg, has 30 years experience in the provincial public sector and has volunteered for numerous organizations including the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women, Sport and Physical Activity, Go for Green and Coalition for Active Living.  She is the recipient of a Governor General’s Award for Volunteerism and has worked as a consultant on a women’s heart health initiative with St. Boniface Hospital Foundation and St. Boniface Hospital and Research Centre.

More information on The Accessibility for Manitobans Act can be found at

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Child Welfare Committee Tasked to Review Legislation

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Struggles of Rohingya, Yazidi refugees recognized

Struggles of Rohingya, Yazidi refugees recognized

Stronger Together event celebrates and raises awareness of human rights
Carol Sanders By: Carol Sanders
Posted: 12/10/2017 3:00 AM

After a year that’s included the worst refugee crisis in generations, hundreds of newcomers and their allies gathered in Winnipeg Friday night to celebrate and promote human rights.

“It’s a reminder of the value of human rights,” said Hani Al-Ubeady, who helped organize the third-annual Stronger Together Manitoba event at Canad Inns Polo Park.

Close to 400 people from more than 25 ethnocultural groups attended the event that organizers say highlights the work of community members who have “opened a path for all newcomers to claim their rightful space and stand as integral members of their adoptive home.”

This year’s event paid tribute to the efforts of Winnipeg’s Rohingya Muslim and Yazidi communities in the struggle for human rights.

Rohingya Muslim Mohammed Tayab fled persecution in Myanmar and arrived in Canada in 2015 after being privately sponsored by Winnipeg’s Hospitality House Refugee Ministry.

‘It’s a good opportunity for me to raise awareness; I hope after this event they will know the Rohingya’
— Mohammed Tayab
His parents, siblings and wife are among the 600,000 refugees who fled the reported ethnic cleansing in Myanmar and are trying to survive in overcrowded conditions in neighbouring Bangladesh.

“I have to support my family in Bangladesh,” Tayab said.

He earns minimum wage at his full-time factory job in Winnipeg and sends $500 a month to his family.

At the same time, he’s speaking up whenever he gets the chance about the hundreds of thousands of people for whom human rights seem a distant dream.

Being invited to speak at Friday’s event, to hundreds of people who may not be aware of the plight of Rohingya Muslims, was a gift, Tayab said.

“It’s a good opportunity for me to raise awareness,” he said.

“I hope after this event they will know the Rohingya.”

The theme of this year’s Stronger Together celebration was “from persecution to integration,” and accurately sums up the experience of Yazidis in Winnipeg, said Hadji Hesso, director of the Yazidi Association of Manitoba.

“Integration is going great,” Hesso said.

After being hunted, brutalized and enslaved by the Islamic State group in northern Iraq, the Yazidis who fled and survived have been waiting in refugee camps in Turkey for a place to welcome them.

Winnipeg is home to the largest Yazidi community in Canada, with fewer than 200 people, and they’re getting settled, Hesso said.

“We’re working with all the agencies together,” he said.

The community has dozens of volunteers helping the Yazidis with their resettlement, said Hesso, who is waiting for the federal government to fulfil its promise to resettle 1,200 Yazidis in Canada by the end of the year.

Hesso said he was encouraged earlier this week when a private member’s bill calling on Ottawa to live up to that promise was passed unanimously by members of the Manitoba legislature.

The bill was put forward Dec. 5 by MLA Andrew Micklefield (PC-Rossmere), who spoke at Friday night’s event.

“At the heart of this province is a welcoming place, and people of this province care about human rights issues,” said the elected representative, who knows firsthand what it is like to be welcomed to Manitoba.

“When I was 11 years old, my family came from another place,” said Micklefield, who was born in England. “People helped us get settled. Twenty-five years later, I was elected to the Manitoba legislature.

“I hope we can bring many, many more people to Manitoba.”

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Legislative Session Charts New Course, Focused on Long-Term, Sustainable Measures


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Bills Relating to Cannabis, Watersheds and Child Care Introduced During Fall Sitting: Cullen

The Manitoba government introduced several legislative measures focused on fixing the province’s finances, improving services, and rebuilding the economy during the fall sitting of the Third Session of the 41st Legislature, Crown Services Minister and Government House Leader Cliff Cullen announced today.

“We have introduced legislation with measures that focus on sustainability to address the financial problems our government inherited, while improving the services relied upon by our citizens,” said Cullen.

Measures introduced during the fall sitting that reflect the government’s priorities for the new year include:

  • the safe and responsible retailing of cannabis act, to help keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and away from the black market;
  • the sustainable watersheds act, Canada’s most comprehensive watershed legislation to improve the health of Manitoba’s waterways and the first major step in the Made-in-Manitoba Green Plan;
  • the public sector compensation disclosure amendment act, to better inform Manitobans on how tax dollars are spent;
  • the public interest disclosure (whistleblower protection) amendment act, which enhances the investigative powers of the ombudsman while further strengthening protection for Manitobans who make disclosures;
  • the government notices modernization act, which improves access to various government notices by publishing them online and free of charge on a weekly basis;
  • the community child care standards amendment act, which amends the province’s early learning and child care legislation to reduce red tape, address gaps and enhance governance and accountability; and
  • legislation to streamline provincially appointed agencies, boards and commissions to ensure they deliver effective services and provide value for money.

The government also re-introduced legislation to implement the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and to amend The Legislative Assembly Act.  Additional measures will be brought forward in 2018, said Cullen.

“We look forward to having vigorous debate about all these pieces of legislation, as well as others we intend to bring forward, in our continuing effort to make Manitoba the most improved province in Canada,” he said.

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Micklefield gets unanimous support for resolution on Yazidis

December 5, 2017
For Immediate Release

Micklefield gets unanimous support for resolution on Yazidis

All legislative members recognize importance of pushing Ottawa to fulfill commitment: Micklefield

Andrew Micklefield, MLA for Rossmere, today saw the House vote unanimously to pass his private member’s resolution to have the Legislative Assembly urge the federal government to bring 1,200 Yazidi refugees to Canada. In moving his resolution, Micklefield noted Ottawa has not fulfilled a commitment it made in
October 2016 to bring that number of Yazidi people to Canada after tens of thousands of them in northern Iraq have been tortured, killed or used as sex slaves at the hands of ISIS.

“I’m pleased that all members of the Legislative Assembly recognize the importance of pressing the federal government to fulfill its commitment,” said Micklefield. “The persecution and suffering the Yazidi people have endured is horrific. Winnipeg is home to one of Canada’s largest Yazidi communities, and with the passing of this resolution, we are telling them their family members and friends have not been forgotten in Manitoba.”

On Oct. 25, 2016, the federal government recognized the Yazidis in Iraq as victims of genocide and committed to bring 1,200 Yazidi refugees to Canada within a year. However, 13 months after making this commitment, only about 650 Yazidi refugees have actually come to Canada.

The resolution calls for the federal government to prioritize victims of sex slavery and abuse. Micklefield pointed out that Yazidi women and girls have been taken by ISIS as sex slaves, often after watching their husbands, brothers and fathers killed. Many Yazidi women and girls remain enslaved in these conditions.

“These victims, who do not have a voice for themselves, have a few voices in Canada and especially in Manitoba speaking up for them,” added Micklefield. “We in Manitoba await the arrival of Yazidis rescued from these horrific realities.”


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Province Introduces Legislation That Would Modernize Appointed Agencies, Boards and Commissions

December 4, 2017

The Manitoba government has introduced legislation that proposes to streamline provincially appointed agencies, boards and commissions (ABC’s) to ensure they deliver effective services and provide value for money to the taxpayer, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen announced today.
“Our government is committed to repairing the services we provide for Manitobans and this includes establishing more efficient agencies, boards and commissions to oversee provincial programs and services,” said Pedersen. “From day one, we have appointed qualified individuals that are representative of our province and have empowered them to get the job done right. In fact, since forming government, we have appointed more women, more bilingual people, more visible minorities and more people with disabilities than the previous government.”
The boards, committees, councils and commissions streamlining act proposes to amend various acts and would repeal others in order to reduce the size of, eliminate or consolidate a number of ABC’s. The proposed legislation would reduce board appointments made by government by at least 170 positions, and result in an annual cost savings of over $150,000 in per diems and staff time. Twenty-five provincially appointed ABC’s are included in the proposed legislation.
“Many factors, such as organization size, scope, board complexity and director skill set influence the optimal size of a board,” said Thomas A. Bryk, ICD.D, chair, Institute of Corporate Directors (Manitoba Chapter). “While every board is unique, the trend over the last several decades in both Canada and the United States has been toward smaller boards, with an average board size of nine directors.”
“We believe smaller boards and councils work better together, and are more engaged in both the process and outcomes,” said Pedersen. “In creating smaller boards, we are following the best practices of the not-for-profit and private sectors.”
The legislation also proposes to amend The Executive Government Organization Act to permit ministers, with the approval of cabinet, to appoint an advisory committee for a specified purpose for a period of no longer than two years. This provision would ensure newly established ABC’s are time limited, project specific and provided with a clear mandate, the minister said.

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Incredible Resilience in Yazidi Community – November 29, 2017 Canstar Herald

This summer the eyes of the world followed with compassion and amazement the harrowing story of a Yazidi boy captured by ISIS and thought dead yet found and reunited with his mother here in Winnipeg where they found a home.

Sadly, Emad Mishko Tamo is just one of an estimated 50,000 Yazidis displaced in Northern Iraq who are being persecuted by ISIS.

While this persecution is not new, the threat faced by the Yazidi people today is more immanent and terrifying than ever before.  Men and boys are systematically shot, beheaded or burned alive, while women and girls are captured and violently abused in sexual slavery.

Remarkably, Winnipeg has become home to one of Canada’s largest Yazidi communities, and these people have become my friends. On Oct. 25 these atrocities were acknowledged by Canada’s House of Commons, and the Federal Government promised to bring 1200 Yazidi refugees to Canada before the end of 2017. Sadly, as I stated in Legislature on Nov. 27, this has not yet happened, and the Yazidi families in our country, province and city are waiting and hoping that their family members will be rescued from ISIS.

Therefore we must recognize the need to resolve this continuing tragedy facing the Yazidi people, to welcome them with open arms, and also to appreciate their resilience, strength, and courage as an emerging community in our province.

This Christmas, we may not all know people from such dramatic circumstances, but many of us know people who are looking for home in other ways. May we open our hearts and homes to those less fortunate, may we share what we have, and cherish together the blessings of our living in the peace of Canada.


Christmas is a time for traditions, generosity and making room for others. It has become a highlight of my Christmas times to visit seniors’ homes, schools, craft sales and other community events, to meet people and to share the warmth of Christmas with those whose lives are not always as easy as they might wish.

The first Saturday of December, the Manitoba Legislature opens its doors and invites the public to tour Ministers’ offices, caucus rooms and other areas of the building typically off limits except to the politicians who work there during the year.

Refreshments are served, choirs are singing, and MLAs are available to chat in the hallways and reception rooms. The building is decorated and beautifully adorned with Christmas trees and wreaths.

If possible, please join me at the Legislature on Dec. 2 from 1 to 3 p.m. for our Christmas open house. Come and say hi in room 227, and meet some of the people who work behind the scenes as well.

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Province Announces Major Classroom Addition and New Gymnasium at Miles Macdonell Collegiate

November 24, 2017

Students and educators at Miles Macdonell Collegiate can look forward to six new classrooms and a new gymnasium, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today.
“This investment is part of our commitment to providing the best education possible for students in the River East Transcona School Division and throughout Manitoba,” said Wishart. “We are pleased to support the construction of a new gym to give students more opportunities to get involved in sports and develop the kinds of healthy, active lifestyles that will benefit them for years to come.”
The project will include a new, 13,000-sq.-ft. gym addition, and the renovation of existing gym space into four new classrooms and a new art room. The former art room will be renovated into one regular classroom and one EAL classroom. Wishart noted the new gym will enhance physical education programming at the school, while the new art room and classroom space will help accommodate increased enrolment.
“A new gymnasium at Miles Macdonell Collegiate has been a board priority for several years now,” says Colleen Carswell, board chair, River East Transcona School Division. “We’re pleased and excited to hear today’s announcement and want to say thank you to the Manitoba government for this decision, which will be a tremendous benefit to our students, staff and our community.”
Carswell noted the school division is also funding an additional 2,474-sq.-ft. teaching station for the new gym, which will also be used for storage and office space.
Miles Macdonell Collegiate is a French immersion school with a September 2017 enrolment of 1,155 students. Miles Macdonell Collegiate began welcoming Grade 9 students for the first time in September 2016, becoming a grade 9 to 12 high school and growing its student population by more than 300.
The minister noted the project will be supported through more than $92.4 million in planned capital spending by the province in 2017-18 for public school infrastructure projects, prioritizing the health and safety of students and educators and accommodating growth in enrolment. The school division has issued a tender for the construction work and the project is expected to be completed in January 2019, he added.

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Province Announces $25 Million for Community-Based Training and Employment Services

November 23, 2017
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Helping Manitobans Prepare for Better Jobs, Brighter Futures: Wishart


The Manitoba government is investing $25 million in 86 community-based training and employment agencies that provide services to help more than 20,400 unemployed and low-income Manitobans improve their skills and employment opportunities, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today at the Momentum Centre.
“We are investing in training and employment organizations throughout the province to help Manitobans prepare for better jobs and brighter futures,” said Wishart. “These partnerships help build new pathways to employment by connecting those who are looking for work with in-demand jobs in Manitoba.”
Most of the community-based service providers are not-for-profit, including the Momentum Centre, which offers a community reintegration program for individuals released from an addictions treatment program at Headingley Correctional Centre to help prepare them for employment and reduce future contact with the law. The Momentum Centre is receiving $900,000 from the province to support this work, and other projects.
“Our government is committed to improving the criminal justice system in a way that reduces crime and creates more success stories in the community,” said Justice Minister Heather Stefanson. “One of the ways we can do this is by investing in programs that help people find a job and a healthy path forward, like the one offered through the Momentum Centre.”
Dawn Rodgers and Kimber Corthey, co-executive directors of the Momentum Centre, welcomed today’s announcement.
“We have been working with people who have complex barriers to employment but are hungry to learn and give back to the community,” said Rodgers. “The Momentum Community Reintegration Project is a harm reduction and pre-employment program that assists previously incarcerated individuals who struggle with addictions and need support in achieving life stabilization, education, work readiness and employment, with the goal of reducing recidivism.”
Clint Sinclair participated in the Momentum Community Reintegration Program and shared his experience.
“I don’t think people realize how hard community reintegration is,” said Sinclair. “What people don’t realize about guys like us is that we have a huge amount of social anxiety in normal everyday settings. You feel out of place, like you don’t belong. The Momentum Community Reintegration Program helped me to come out my shell, try things I never could’ve tried before and interact positively in all sorts of social environments. Wrap-around supports like housing, recreation as well as cultural and emotional supports made it so much easier to stay on a good path.”
Stefanson noted this investment supports the government’s strategy to reduce crime in communities, which includes crime prevention, restorative justice and responsible reintegration of offenders. Manitoba Justice is focused on programs that work to reintegrate offenders back into the community after leaving custody, helping to ensure they break cycles of crime and destructive behaviour in their lives, she added.

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Government Continues Ambitious Program to Make Manitoba Most Improved Province

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