Province Announces Summer Youth Job Opportunities

PROVINCE ANNOUNCES SUMMER YOUTH JOB OPPORTUNITIES


The Manitoba government is offering summer employment opportunities for students and youth, Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“The Manitoba government’s summer employment programming provides students with invaluable experience and skills to prepare them for the workforce,” said Goertzen.  “Job centres across the province are opening their doors for the season to offer services that benefit local employers and young Manitobans alike.”

Manitoba Youth Job Centres (MYJC) are located in 43 rural and northern communities.  The offices are situated in all 11 Manitoba Jobs and Skills Development Centres along with local municipal offices, chambers of commerce and other community-based organizations.

The centres match Manitobans age 12 to 29 with local employers for summer jobs and offer assistance with job searches, employment referrals, resumes and interviews, as well as other employment-related resources and events.  Each summer, they serve 8,000 to 11,000 youth and students.

MYJC will be open May 13 to Aug. 16.  The centres are staffed by post-secondary students who work for the Manitoba government through the STEP Services program.

The minister noted the STEP Services program employs about 1,400 students in government departments, Crown corporations and special operating agencies.  STEP students work for the Manitoba government as part-time, full-time or co-operative work placements that line up with their field of study.

This summer, STEP will also launch two new initiatives:

  • STEP Tuition Waiver Summer Student Program in partnership with nine Manitoba colleges and universities that provide bursaries to waive tuition for students formerly in care of Chid and Family Services.  The STEP Tuition Waiver Summer Employment Program offers eligible students receiving a tuition waiver paid work placements in the Manitoba government. The program supports education and training that benefits youth currently and formerly under the care of child welfare.
  • STEP Design Thinking Challenge, where teams of STEP students and their supervisors will work to solve modern public sector challenges.  Students will learn how to communicate innovative ideas to decision makers and will have the opportunity to present their team challenge solutions at the Institute for Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) national conference in Winnipeg.

For more information on MYJC and STEP Services, visit www.gov.mb.ca/cyo/youth/services/manitobayouthjobcentres.html and www.gov.mb.ca/cyo/studentjobs/index.html.

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Manitoba Government Announces $750,000 to Support Children’s Summer Camps

May 10, 2022 – Funding will Support Continued Operations of Overnight Camps: Clarke

The Manitoba government is providing $750,000 in funding to the Manitoba Camping Association (MCA) to support eligible overnight camps that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today.

“Manitoba children benefit from being outdoors and the learning experiences overnight camps offer,” said Clarke. “We recognize the importance of community-based organizations in building thriving and sustainable communities across the province. These funds will help camps mitigate the financial impacts of COVID-19 and support their continued operations.”

The one-time funding grants, up to a maximum of $50,000 per camp, can be used to offset financial impacts experienced by camps due to COVID-19. This includes financial strain due to closures and implementing services under conditions of public health orders. It will also help support future recovery efforts, noted the minister. Eligible costs will include fixed operating costs such as property taxes, utilities and insurance.

“I’m thrilled that the diligent work the MCA did advocating for our camps has been rewarded through sector-specific funding,” said Kim Scherger, executive director, Manitoba Camping Association. “I believe camp makes people better and this funding will aid in making camps better for campers.”

Applications are now available on the MCA website at www.mbcamping.ca. Intake is open until May 31 at 4 p.m.

Camps should send completed applications and all required paperwork to: financialaid@manitobacamping.ca.

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9 year old girl helps Ukraine by making bracelets- Canstar East article by Andrew Micklefield – May 11, 2022

When the war in Ukraine began in February, people around the world looked for ways to help. Some joined protests or expressed support on social media, many organizations and governments including our own in Manitoba sent money or supplies. But amidst the prayers, protests and politics, area resident 9 year old Mila Wiebe resolved to do what she could by making loom band bracelets.

When Mila heard at school about the devastated homes and displaced families, she determined to do something to help the Ukrainian people. One of her classmates has family living in Ukraine and like many others, Mila wanted to find a way to get them supplies and food. So she made bracelets out of yellow and blue loom bands to sell to friends and family for $5 each. Many weeks later, the orders are still coming in.

To date, with the help of her family, Mila has sold 89 of her blue and yellow bracelets and raised $350 for the displaced people of Ukraine. Described by her family as “a great kid with a soft heart,” Mila’s family are “not at all surprised that she would want to help in any way she could.”

It is easy to feel helpless as we watch images of Ukrainian refugees fleeing cities destroyed by Russian airstrikes, but many local groups are organizing to help in a variety of ways. Even needs much closer to home are solved as people like Mila find a way to do what they can with what they have to offer. 

Mila’s bracelets are available for order through my office, and 100% of the money she raises will help people on the ground in Ukraine. Call me at 204.289.4545 to pick yours up soon!

Andrew Micklefield is the MLA for Rossmere and the Deputy Speaker for the Manitoba Legislature. 

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Rossmere MLA Andrew Micklefield and Mila Wiebe show off the blue-and-yellow loom bracelets that Mila has been making and selling to raise money to support people in Ukraine.
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Manitoba Government’s $25-Million Province-Wide Investment in the Building Sustainable Communities Fund Supports 114 Winnipeg Projects

May 6, 2022

The Manitoba government is investing over $8 million through the Building Sustainable Communities (BSC) program to support 114 Winnipeg-based projects that will enhance existing public facilities and spaces and improve the quality of life for all Manitobans, Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today. 

“Community-based organizations are vital to creating healthy and thriving neighbourhoods across the province,” said Clarke. “In Budget 2022: Recover Together, we committed to doubling community-based funding for meaningful projects across Manitoba that improve citizens’ quality of life and highlight the life and strengths of our province’s diverse communities. It’s very exciting to see all these much-anticipated plans coming to life.” 

Some of the projects in the Winnipeg region include:

  • $300,000 to upgrade the field and install artificial turf for the St. Vital Mustangs;
  • $300,000 to build a community hub space at the Rainbow Resource Centre;
  • $75,000 to create an enhanced outdoor playground for École Dieppe School;
  • $37,500 to deliver employment preparation workshops for newcomers at the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute;
  • $25,370 to renovate the Manitoba Canoe and Kayak Centre; and
  • $12,000 to develop and deliver youth programs for Kidthink Children’s Mental Health Centre. 

“We are excited and humbled beyond belief at the thought the BSC grant will allow us to reach our goals in providing programs for our football community,” said Craig Bachynski, president, St. Vital Mustangs Football Club. “Now we see the potential of our dream becoming a reality for our football sport, our St. Vital and St. Norbert community, the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba.” 

Overall, the investments allowed Manitoba Municipal Relations to approve more than $25.2 million in funding for 427 projects throughout the province including nearly $12 million for 364 local and regional initiatives and over $13 million for 63 larger-scale projects. 

The 2022-23 BSC application intake period closed on Jan. 17. 

The BSC program was launched in 2019 to offer municipalities and non-profit organizations a streamlined process to apply for community grants for planning activities, organizational capacity building projects, equipment costs, capital infrastructure and other local or regional initiatives that enhance the sustainability of their community.  

Projects can receive up to 50 per cent toward eligible costs, with a maximum grant of $75,000. The BSC program was expanded in 2021-22 to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for larger-scale capital projects, with a maximum grant of $300,000. Approved projects, except for planning activities, are required to contribute a minimum of 10 per cent from non-government sources. 

The minister noted these community projects would not be possible without the strong leadership of the municipalities and non-profit organizations, leveraged funding from other public, private and philanthropic sources, and the dedication of local volunteers. 

The full list of 427 approved projects is posted at www.gov.mb.ca/mr/bldgcomm/index.html

For more information on the BSC program, visit https://gov.mb.ca/grants/grant-name.html#b

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Manitoba Government’s $25-Million Investment in the Building Sustainable Communities Fund Supports 427 Local Development Projects


May 4, 2022 – Building Sustainable Communities Fund Project Recipients

BRANDON—The Manitoba government is investing more than $25 million through the Building Sustainable Communities (BSC) program to support 427 local and regional projects that will enhance existing public facilities and spaces, and improve the quality of life for all Manitobans, Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced here today while touring the Westman region.

“Our government recognizes the importance of municipalities and community-based organizations in building thriving and sustainable communities across the province,” said Clarke. “Budget 2022: Recover Together is doubling the funding available to communities for projects that respond to their local and regional needs, and improve the quality of life for their citizens and promote community cohesion and well-being.”

This increased investment allowed Manitoba Municipal Relations to approve more than $25 million in funding for 427 projects throughout the province including nearly $12 million for 364 local and regional initiatives and over $13 million for 63 larger-scale capital projects. The 2022-23 BSC application intake period closed Jan. 17.

The minister noted 46 projects have been approved for the Westman region for a total of over $2.2 million. Some of those projects include:

  • $300,000 to build additional facility space at YMCA Brandon including programming space and outdoor playground;
  • $300,000 to build a new outdoor aquatic centre in Boissevain;
  • $75,000 to build a play structure and outdoor sports courts including basketball, tennis and pickleball in Brandon;
  • $75,000 to renovate community hall including kitchen upgrades in Souris;
  • $10,000 to upgrade the Virden Curling Club including installing a wheelchair ramp; and
  • $19,750 to develop community green space including a picnic shelter, picnic tables, firepit and benches in Edrans.

“With the generous support of the province, the YMCA will be able to expand programming space to support more youth, seniors and families in Brandon well into the future,” said Lon Cullen, CEO, YMCA Brandon. “The new space will allow more children to attend summer day camp, seniors to pursue physical health, mental well-being and social connection, and families being able to gather in a safe, affordable venue.”

The BSC program was launched in 2019 to offer municipalities and non-profit organizations a streamlined process to apply for community grants for planning activities, organizational capacity building projects, equipment costs, capital infrastructure and other local or regional initiatives that enhance the sustainability of their community.

Projects can receive up to 50 per cent toward eligible costs, with a maximum grant of $75,000. The BSC program was expanded in 2021-22 to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for larger-scale capital projects, with a maximum grant of $300,000. Approved projects, except for planning activities, are required to contribute a minimum of 10 per cent from non-government sources.

The minister noted these community projects would not be possible without the strong leadership of the municipalities and non-profit organizations, leveraged funding from other public, private and philanthropic sources, and the dedication of local volunteers.

The full list of 427 approved projects will be posted later this week at:www.gov.mb.ca/mr/bldgcomm/index.html.

For more information on the BSC program, visit https://gov.mb.ca/grants/grant-name.html#b.

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Construction Begins on Expansion and Modernization of St. Boniface Hospital Emergency Department

April 26, 2022 – 141-Million Project to Improve Patient Care, Reduce Wait Times and Meet Growing Demands: Premier and Gordon

Construction on the expansion and modernization of the St. Boniface Hospital emergency department has officially started following strategic design planning, community and stakeholder consultations and preliminary demolition work, Premier Heather Stefanson and Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

“Our government is committed to strengthening health care for all Manitobans and ensuring the system that can operate more efficiently with a focus on improving patient care and reducing provincial wait times,” said Stefanson. “St. Boniface Hospital is an essential part of the health system and today’s announcement will strengthen its critical role in meeting the needs of the communities that it serves and the dedicated staff on the front line that work to care for those in need.”

The new emergency department’s state-of-the-art design was strategically developed to:

  • reduce wait times and the length of stay in the emergency department;
  • improve patient and staff experiences; and
  • maximize functionality and flexibility, with expanded space for increased number patients.

“Our government remains fundamentally committed to providing safe, high-quality health care for Manitobans,” said Gordon. “The redevelopment plans, tripling the size of the current emergency department, were formulated in consultation with stakeholders after a comprehensive review of operational data, patient demographics, volume projections and current processes and resources.”

In 2019, there were nearly 48,000 emergency department visits to St. Boniface Hospital. Based on population growth and age projections, the minister noted the facility is expected to accommodate 55,000 annual visits at its opening, scheduled for the fall of 2025. With this expansion, Gordon said the emergency department will be able to continue providing safe, high-quality care to patients in the future, as annual visits are projected to grow to an estimated 70,000 to 75,000 by 2039.

“The St. Boniface Hospital emergency department is critically important in the delivery of emergency medicine services in Winnipeg and our regional health system as a whole,” said Mike Nader, president and CEO, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. “This project will create a modernized environment in which staff can continue to deliver, and patients can access, the best care possible.”

The $141-million project will renovate 18,600 square feet of existing space and add 86,200 square feet in new construction. The inclusive, barrier-free facility will have numerous features that improve patient care:

  • an expanded waiting room and triage area,
  • an expanded central resuscitation area,
  • a dedicated diagnostic imaging suite with a new CT scanner and X-ray machines,
  • private exam rooms in treatment areas,
  • a dedicated mental health treatment area,
  • a dedicated ambulance entrance and parking bay for 10 ambulances,
  • a new covered south entrance to reduce congestion,
  • an improved south parking lot, and
  • a public-use outdoor garden space.

St. Boniface Hospital is a cornerstone of Manitoba’s health system and the home of Cardiac Sciences Manitoba, noted the minister, and the redeveloped emergency department will ensure that patient, client and family-centred care continues to be provided in a safe, efficient manner.

“The staff and physicians who work in the St. Boniface emergency department are truly dedicated professionals, but we know they have been working in an ageing environment that needed to be upgraded,” said Nicole Aminot, interim president and CEO, St. Boniface Hospital. “We’re both excited about, and proud of, the clinical improvements and enhancements to patient care that will result from the newly redeveloped and expanded emergency department here at St. Boniface.”

“Time and again, our community and our donors have shown us they will rally for an important cause to make life-changing advancements for patients at the hospital,” said Karen Fowler, president and CEO, St. Boniface Hospital Foundation. “And so, I am proud to invite our entire community to join the foundation in making a $10-million investment in this project to elevate the standard of emergency care at St. Boniface.”

Since 2016, the Manitoba government has invested in new emergency departments with $43.8 million at Grace Hospital in Winnipeg, $23.3 million at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre and $27.1 million at Flin Flon General Hospital.

For more information on health system transformation, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/hst/.

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Budget 2022 Invests in Making Life More Affordable For Manitobans

April 12, 2022

Budget 2022 puts Manitoba on a solid path to recovery with strategic investments that focus on making life more affordable and building Manitoba’s economy, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen announced today as he released Budget 2022: Recover Together.

“As supply chain challenges continue to raise the cost of food and fuel for Canadians across the country and inflation drives up the cost of living, families are feeling squeezed,” said Friesen. “Our government is proud to announce a number of strategic investments as part of Budget 2022 to provide financial relief to Manitoban families and we will continue to advocate for direct federal action to ease the burden on Canadian households and businesses.”

The minister noted Budget 2022 investments to make life more affordable for Manitobans include:

  • expanding eligibility for the Child Care Subsidy Program to support an average of $10 a day per child for regulated child-care spaces;
  • increasing the Education Property Tax Rebate to 37.5 per cent in 2022 and 50 per cent in 2023, saving the average homeowner $1,355 over two years;
  • introducing and expanding the new Residential Renters Tax Credit to 45,000 additional households, saving Manitoba renters up to $525 each and every year;
  • increasing shelter benefits for low-income Manitobans by investing:
    • $9 million in Employment and Income Assistance Rent Assist indexation; and
    • $8.9 million in non-Employment and Income Assistance Rent Assist indexation.
  • $12 million in new income-support programs for people with severe and prolonged disabilities; and
  • reducing vehicle registration fees, saving Manitobans $15 million a year.

The minister noted the government is set to exceed its $2,020 tax rollback guarantee. This year, the average Manitoba taxpayer will pay $2,400 less in cumulative taxes than they did under the previous government.

“Our government understands that fiscal responsibility is crucial to building up the economy as we recover together and we are taking action to ensure businesses can thrive,” said Friesen. “We look forward to launching the new Venture Capital Fund to give Manitoba companies exactly what they need, including access to capital and funding for innovation, to expand and grow as we build our province and create a prosperous future for all Manitobans.”

Budget 2022 strategic investments to build the economy include:

  • making the Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit permanent and expanding it to support venture capital funds;
  • further reducing the payroll tax for 970 businesses, exempting 180 businesses altogether;
  • $5 million to strengthen immigration programming to help attract newcomers to Manitoba;
  • more than $2 million supporting new property development in Manitoba;
  • focusing on tax competitiveness for Manitoba businesses and investors; and
  • more than $18 million for improving the wages of front-line workers in the community living disability, children’s disability and family violence prevention sectors.

“While our economy is recovering, we recognize the pandemic created labour shortages in key areas,” said Friesen. “As such, we are focused on training Manitobans, with our Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy and creating greater alignment between Manitoba’s post-secondary institutions and the labour market. As well, we are strengthening our immigration policies and programs to ensure Manitoba remains a dynamic destination for newcomers and business investors.”

The minister noted Budget 2022 makes strategic investments to ensure social and economic recovery with a focus on the health and well-being of all Manitobans, and is committed to:

  • strengthening health care;
  • making life more affordable;
  • building our economy;
  • investing in our communities; and
  • protecting our environment.

Budget 2022 documents are available at www.manitoba.ca/budget2022

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Manitoba Earns Top Grade in Canada From Canadian Federation of Independent Business for Reducing Red Tape

April 11, 2022 – Province Continues to Lead on Supporting Small Business by Cutting Red Tape and Eliminating Regulatory Hurdles: Goertzen

The Manitoba government’s efforts to reduce red tape have been recognized by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) with an ‘A’ rating from the small business organization, the top mark in its cross-country ranking of all provinces and territories, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today following the release of the CFIB’s annual Red Tape Report Card.

“This rating demonstrates the ongoing commitment from our government to reduce red tape and make it easier for small businesses to do business in Manitoba,” said Goertzen. “Reducing red tape and regulatory hurdles faced by small business are especially important now as so many business recover from the uncertainty during the last two years.” 

The report card grades governments in two areas. The accountability section considers whether governments are measuring regulation and setting regulatory budgets. The burden section includes some broad indicators such as the number of regulatory restrictions in each province.

“Manitoba is an established leader in regulatory accountability and has the most comprehensive measure of the regulatory burden in North America,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president, CFIB. “As small businesses look to economic recovery, it is more important than ever that governments commit to reducing costly red tape, and we applaud the province for once again achieving an A grade.”

Manitoba received a perfect score with an ‘A’ on regulatory accountability and ‘B+’ on regulatory burden for a total score of 9.4 and ‘A’ grade, the highest of any province in Canada.

Provincial wine importation rules are a high-visibility indicator of the regulatory burden with numerous groups advocating for a fix over the past number of decades, noted CFIB. While this is a very specific indicator, whether direct-to-consumer sales of locally produced wine from Canadian wineries are allowed, it is symbolic of a broader commitment to reduce regulatory barriers between provinces.

Only three provinces, Manitoba, British Columbia (B.C.) and Nova Scotia, allow direct-to-consumer shipments. These provinces received the highest score in this area. Saskatchewan received a partial score as B.C.-produced wines can be shipped directly to residents. The rest of the provinces received a score of zero.

The CFIB has been ranking provincial efforts to reduce red tape since 2011. Since that time, Manitoba has consistently raised its rating to the current grade ‘A’ level of success.   

The full results of the CFIB Red Tape Report Card can be found at www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/media/news-releases/red-tape-grades-are-governments-have-improved-accountability-have-long-way-go.

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Manitoba Provides Update on the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force

March 30, 2022 – Task Force Leading Critical Work to Find Solutions: Gordon

The Manitoba government continues to implement initiatives that will improve timely access to health care through the work of the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force, including a plan to increase orthopedic surgeries at Concordia Hospital to support Manitobans who need hip and knee surgeries, Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced today. 

“The task force is leading critical work in partnership with Manitoba’s health-care leaders to find solutions that will help to address the delays in surgeries and procedures caused by the demands of the pandemic,” said Gordon. “There are thousands of Manitobans whose quality of life is profoundly affected by this work, which is why it is critical we continue to make progress and find solutions.” 

Concordia Hospital Expansion

Concordia Hospital is Manitoba’s leading site for joint replacement surgeries, including hip and knee, and a significant amount of patients have been affected as staff and other resources were focused on the pandemic response. The province will support the expansion of the orthopedic surgery program to add a fifth operating room, which includes recruiting an orthopedic surgeon, adding four inpatient beds and investing in anesthesia staff. These improvements are expected to be in place by the end of the year and will increase capacity by up to 1,000 surgeries per year, noted Gordon. 

“We are incredibly fortunate to be able to identify and build solutions in partnership with Manitoba’s health-care leaders, patient representatives and many other partners who are focused on helping connect people with life-improving procedures sooner,” said Dr. Peter MacDonald, chair of the task force’s steering committee. “As an orthopedic surgeon, I know the profound benefits that hip and knee surgeries can have on a person’s quality of life and overall health, so that is a particularly meaningful initiative to see moving forward.” 

The Concordia Foundation will be leading fundraising efforts to support the hospital renovations and improvements required to increase joint-replacement surgery capacity. 

“This announcement today brings hope to so many people by significantly increasing joint-replacement surgery capacity at Concordia Hospital and serving as a legacy project that will benefit patients for years to come,” said Roger Gripp, board chair, Concordia Foundation. “Foundation donors and the Concordia orthopedic surgical team consistently rise to the occasion to make tangible improvements in the lives of people waiting for surgical relief from debilitating pain. This is a significant investment in our community that demonstrates our purpose and values, of putting patients first.” 

Spine Assessment Improvements

The minister noted the province is also putting new resources to improve access to care for about 900 Manitobans living with back pain who are currently waiting for an assessment by the Spine Assessment Clinic. The province will invest $400,000 in the clinic to increase the number of assessments completed in order to connect these patients with a treatment or care plan sooner, by adding four new physical therapists which will help provide more on-site, virtual and travel-based assessment services. About 90 per cent of patients referred to the assessment clinic can be helped through treatments other than surgery such as physiotherapy, chiropractic care or other pain management solutions. 

It is expected these clinic resources will be in place in the coming months, with a goal of reducing the wait list spine assessment for these patients by next spring, noted the minister. Without these additional investments, it is estimated the wait list of patients awaiting assessment and related care could nearly quadruple over that period. 

Mobile CT and MRI Unit Purchase

The province is also moving forward with the purchase and installation of a new mobile CT unit and two new mobile MRI unit. These will be placed in Winnipeg to improve outpatient access and reduce wait times for these diagnostic procedures. Once fully operational, the units will be able to deliver more than 11,600 CT scans and 7,200 MRIs annually.

Cataract Surgery Increases

The province is expanding services at Misericordia’s cataract program and issued a request for supply agreement to be run concurrently to increase baseline capacity within the province.

Spine Surgeries (North Dakota)

The pilot project with Sanford Health in North Dakota is now underway. Nine Manitobans have received spinal surgery to date with additional surgeries scheduled for the coming weeks. This initiative is co-ordinated through Manitoba’s out-of-province medical referral program and helps to reduce the wait time for Manitobans who choose to travel, improving their quality of life as the province increases its capacity, noted the minister.

Health System Updates

The task force is also developing strategies to improve access and reduce wait times for other key procedures, with additional updates expected in the coming weeks.

Throughout the health-care system, staff that was deployed to support the COVID-19 response continue to return to previous sites and responsibilities. There are currently 146 reassigned or redeployed staff, which is the lowest number since the peak of the third wave in July 2021 and which has been declining weekly since early February. 

This gradual transition helps to ensure the ongoing care needs of COVID-19 patients are met, while also supporting a return to normal capacity for many surgical and diagnostic procedures, the minister noted. Endoscopy services and bariatric surgery were fully restored to pre-pandemic levels as of last week. 

The Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force was established in December 2021 to reduce waitlists and support access to care. The province committed $50 million to begin addressing the surgical and diagnostic backlog in Budget 2021. As part of the investments made in Budget 2021, the province entered into agreements with diagnostic imaging, public and private surgery service providers, resulting in thousands of procedures including cataract surgery, echocardiography, hernia surgery, pediatric dental surgery, spine surgery and endoscopy. 

For more information about the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force, visit www.manitoba.ca/DSrecovery

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First Nations, Inuit and Red River Metis Council Formed to Support Indigenous-Led Searches For Burial Sites of Children Who Attended Residential Schools

March 23, 2022 – Indigenous Leadership, Government Representatives among Council Members: Lagimodiererelated background

A new council of representatives from key Indigenous governments and community organizations as well as officials from the provincial, federal and municipal governments, will provide guidance and advice on how best to support Indigenous-led searches for children who died attending residential schools, Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere announced today.

“Indigenous leaders, governments, organizations, communities, elders, knowledge keepers and, most importantly, survivors and families must lead the way as we implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and locate missing children who died attending residential schools,” said Lagimodiere. “This work is a difficult but necessary part of the healing journey for Indigenous communities and the council will provide crucial support and guidance to the searches for and commemorations of the children who did not return home.”

The council is co-chaired by the province and Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO), and has representation from Indigenous leadership organizations and governments, including the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Southern Chiefs’ Organization, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Manitoba Métis Federation and the Manitoba Inuit Association.

“This critical work is just the latest example of how we must do all we possibly can to honour the children who attended Indian residential schools, their families and the thousands of children who never returned home,” said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, SCO. “I am pleased to see our relatives and partners, including our treaty partners, coming together to ensure that as we acknowledge the genocidal history and legacy of the residential schools, we collectively do everything we can to locate those missing children, which is such  a vital component of the truth and reconciliation process.”

The council’s transformative work is led by First Nations, Inuit and the Red River Métis using a distinctions-based approach and is supported by municipal, provincial and federal governments. A process of ceremony will be followed to find a proper name for the council that guides its path forward, noted the minister.

The council’s preliminary discussions have identified five overarching principles that will guide its work:

  • the search for the missing children must be Indigenous-led and with support from municipal, provincial and federal governments;
  • families and survivors must be at the heart of all search efforts;
  • health supports are essential to the wellness and healing of families, survivors, communities and all of those who are engaged in this work;
  • the remains of the children who died while attending residential schools and their burial locations be protected at all times; and
  • commemorations are essential for healing, truth telling and education.

Representatives from the Regional Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program, which include Wa-Say Healing Centre, Anish Corporation, Cree Nation Tribal Council and Keewatin Tribal Council, are also participating at the invitation of the Indigenous member organizations and governments.

Other members represent the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, the Manitoba government and the City of Winnipeg.

Members shared the following priorities regarding efforts to find and commemorate the missing children including:

  • that searches are high quality and inclusive of families of missing children and survivors;
  • that trauma informed, culturally appropriate healing and mental wellness supports are widely accessible and available, particularly for survivors and families;
  • the recognition that efforts respect the cultural protocols, traditions and laws distinctive to each nation; and
  • that locations where children are buried are protected and accessible to families wanting to pay their respects.

The Manitoba government has committed $2.5 million to support the identification, investigation, protection and commemoration of the children who died attending residential schools. To date, the Government of Canada has provided $3.9 million to Indigenous communities within Manitoba to undertake this important work. As of December 2021, there are six First Nation communities in Manitoba actively carrying out searches at various locations using ground-penetrating radar technology.

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Canstar Herald Article by Andrew Micklefield – Human Trafficking Must End – March 23, 2022

March 10 was Manitoba Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Every year, thousands of Canadian families are affected by human trafficking, including many right here in Manitoba. What begins as a seemingly innocent conversation online or in person can become sinister and cause long-lasting trauma.

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation and harbouring of persons for the purpose of exploitation, typically in the sex trade or forced labour. It is the fastest growing, third-most lucrative criminal enterprise globally, producing annual profits as high as $36 billion per year and affecting approximately 30 million people. This means more people are enslaved today than at any time in history. With 93 per cent of Canada’s sex-trafficking victims born in Canada and becoming involved at an average age of just 12 to 14 years old, sex trafficking happens in our own communities when traffickers target our children and grandchildren.

Trafficking victims are carefully ‘groomed’ either in-person, often by a perceived friend or boyfriend, or online via popular social media, where traffickers can reach as many as 100 children an hour. Using face-changing software to appear as teenagers, traffickers make their young victims feel comfortable and gain their trust in the hope that they will confide in them and share information about their lives, interests and location.

Once a relationship is established, victims are exploited through manipulation, fear, dependency, favours or debt bondage.

This is why, just a few months ago, the National Human Trafficking Education Centre opened right here in Winnipeg. An extension of the Joy Smith Foundation, this unique online hub offers educational resources to help Canadians both young and old understand and fight human trafficking.

Numerous courses are available for a variety of audiences and contexts, many are free, all are available at joysmithfoundation.com Know the signs, know the facts. Human trafficking is real and happens closer than we might think. Education is our greatest weapon as we work together to end human trafficking for good.

To receive help if you think you may be a victim of human trafficking, to report a suspected trafficking or to find out more information, visit http://www.joysmithfoundation. com or call 204-691-2455.

I would like to thank Cathy Cox (Kildonan- River East) for presenting this private member’s statement in the legislature while I was serving as acting speaker.

The National Human Trafficking Education Centre, an extension of the Joy Smith Foundation, recently opened in Winnipeg.

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