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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Let’s fight the virus, not each other

December 2 Canstar Herald article by Andrew Micklefield

In response to Covid19, Manitoba’s government is protecting the vulnerable and supporting the economy. In November we announced more than 60 initiatives, many in response to challenges presented by the virus. Here are some examples:

We are partnering with Red River College to rapidly train health care support workers for personal care homes. A one-week course is tuition-free for applicants committing to work for 3 months with existing PCH teams, helping with “resident observation, companionship, redirection, stocking of supplies and more.” 

Manitoba’s government is offering a $5000 Bridge Grant to businesses, charities and nonprofit organizations ordered to close. Eligibility is broad and organizations who have received other federal or provincial funding are welcome to apply.

A $10 million Pandemic Staffing Support Benefit is available to cover overtime costs, replacement staff or sick time for those serving disabled people, working in child care or child welfare. 

A $10 million provincial Remote Learning Support Centre is currently hiring over 100 teachers, 20 educational assistants, IT staff and clinicians to expand existing infrastructure to equip teachers and parents to deliver online education. 

This pandemic is disruptive for everyone, yet despite so much we cannot control, we can still choose to be gracious and treat others with kindness, including when we disagree. Everyone loses when conversation – the hallmark of our democracy – deteriorates into a shouting match in person or on social media. These uncertain times are not improved when healthcare workers are sworn at and fear and hysteria eclypse respect and civility. As we head into Christmas, let’s support local and pickup curbside or order online, let’s find things to be grateful for, let’s practice the fundamentals. We will get through this. Let’s fight the virus, not each other. 

For information about any of these programs or other needs, contact my office anytime.

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Province Launches New Training and Recruitment Initiatives to Support And Protect the Disability Services Sector

The Manitoba government is introducing new training and recruitment initiatives to help ensure agencies that serve Manitobans with disabilities have adequate staff, while also creating employment opportunities, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today, noting this work is part of the government’s broader plans to protect vulnerable Manitobans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
“The pandemic has put a serious strain on agencies that provide services to Manitobans with disabilities, so we are introducing new initiatives to help bridge that gap on an urgent basis,” said Stefanson. “Today we are highlighting our plans to better protect Manitobans with disabilities by launching an online employment platform that will match eligible service providers with available positions. This will be supported by a recruitment campaign, as well as a new online training program that will help prepare workers for rewarding positions throughout Manitoba in disability services.”
 
More than 70 community-based agencies in Manitoba provide residential care to adults with intellectual disabilities. These agencies are experiencing significant staffing challenges related to COVID-19 and require immediate support to ensure they can continue to provide compassionate care to their clients, the minister said.
 
The province is partnering with Manitoba Possible (formerly the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities) and its online platform, called ‘envoyy’, to connect agencies with job seekers who have appropriate training and skills. The Manitoba government is providing $68,000 to strengthen envoyy with better technical support, customer service and related demands over the next six months. The province will also expedite adult and child abuse registry checks for applicants.
 
“Manitoba Possible is pleased to have the opportunity to work with the government of Manitoba to meet this urgent and important need for Manitobans with disabilities and their families,” said Lindsey Cooke, director of provincial services, Manitoba Possible. “We are confident that by working together, envoyy will offer agencies and individuals an efficient means to connect with verified disability service providers in their area during these unprecedented times.”
 
Manitobans interested in working with adults with intellectual disabilities in a variety of roles, such as helping with daily household tasks, supporting life-skills development or providing companionship, can apply immediately at www.envoyy.ca. Agencies with available positions can sign up with envoyy and begin posting them on Dec. 10.
 
The province is partnering with Red River College to develop an accelerated, self-directed online program focused on the fundamentals of disability support work. Once they complete this one-week program, participants will have a stronger understanding of the necessary responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of residents. Agencies will be able to refer new staff hired through envoyy, as well as other recent hires who may benefit from this training, to help ensure service providers have a solid base of knowledge to make a positive impact in these roles.
 
The training program will be offered at no cost and will launch Dec. 7. It can accommodate up to 30 students each week, so up to 360 service providers may be able to participate by the end of March.
 
“Red River College is proud to leverage its expertise and partner with the province to help address an urgent need in the disability services sector in response to COVID-19,” said Fred Meier, president and CEO, Red River College. “This course and the additional micro-credentials that we have developed over the last two months continue to serve as rapid response tools that boost capacity in a number of important sectors, and keep Manitobans safe and supported as we respond to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. The work that we have undertaken right now provides urgent solutions to immediate needs by training people in specific, needed competencies while providing essential knowledge in a particular aspect of professional practice.”
 
Stefanson noted the provincewide opportunities in the disability services sector will be highlighted in a new recruitment campaign that will launch on social media today. More information on the recruitment campaign is available at https://www.disabilityrecruitmentmb.ca/.
 
Last week, the province announced the new $35-million Caregiver Wage Support Program, which will make an hourly $5 wage top-up available to more than 20,000 Manitobans currently working full-time or part-time on the front lines of the pandemic response. These include health-care aides, housekeeping staff, direct service workers and recreation workers at personal care homes and in disability services, child welfare services, homeless and family violence prevention shelters, or long-term care facilities.
 
The Manitoba government has also announced the new $10-million Pandemic Staffing Support Benefit to help address urgent staffing needs in the disability services, child-care and child welfare sectors. For more information on this program, visit www.gov.mb.ca/fs/pandemic-staffing-support-benefit.html.
 
For more information on Manitoba Possible, visit www.manitobapossible.ca.
 
The Manitoba government is taking strong action to protect Manitobans and ensure timely access to care. For more information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/COVID19

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Manitoba Public Insurance to Issue Second Round of Rebate Cheques to Policyholders

Protecting Manitobans by Providing Immediate Relief to Customers During COVID-19 Pandemic

For the second time this year, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) will be providing immediate financial relief to its policyholders, Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton announced today. MPI customers will receive a total of $69 million, which is about $100 per policyholder. This is in addition to the previous rebate of $110 million in May of this year and the corporation’s recent request of an -8.8 per cent overall rate decrease in its General Rate Application to the Public Utilities Board (PUB). 

 
“As this pandemic progresses, Manitobans continue to be financially impacted by this crisis,” said Wharton. “This second rebate will assist Manitobans as we all work together in getting through this challenging time in our province.” 

 
Policyholders can expect a rebate cheque at the end of December or early January, said Wharton, adding it is estimated about 675,000 cheques will be issued.
 
This second rebate was made possible by the combination of fewer collision claims, about 20 per cent lower from mid-March to the end of October compared to the previous year and MPI’s forecast of collision frequency remaining favorable into the spring. Rebates will be based on what policyholders paid during this period and is expected to be about six per cent of their annual Basic Autopac premium.
 
“As a proud Manitoba corporation, we are pleased with what we can do to help during this unprecedented time,” said Satvir Jatana, acting CEO and president, Manitoba Public Insurance. “This rebate to our customers is combination of fewer claims and our continued focus on fiscal prudence. MPI continues to operate in a high efficient manner, aimed at delivering value to Manitobans. Our financial responsibility is reflected in our daily running of our operations and practices.”
 
Jatana explained that this second rebate should not have an adverse effect on MPI’s financial outcomes moving forward and request for an overall -8.8 per cent rate decrease application to the PUB. If approved, customers will pay, on average, about $110 less in premium. The new rates will take effect April 1, 2021.
 
Under existing legislation, this rebate requires the approval of the PUB. MPI will apply to the PUB in the coming days.
 
Details of the second rebate will be made in the coming weeks and further details will be available at www.mpi.mb.ca/Pages/Home.aspx.
 
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The Province of Manitoba is distributing this on behalf of the 
government of Manitoba and Manitoba Public Insurance.
 
 
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Rossmere Report Fall 2020

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Province Opens Intake for Manitoba Bridge Grant

Immediate $5,000 Grant Protecting Manitoba Businesses and Organizations Impacted by Public Health Orders: Pallister

 
Manitoba businesses and organizations required to close under current public health orders are now able to apply online for a $5,000 Manitoba Bridge Grant, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
 
“We recognize the significant sacrifices our local business community has made in the face of this pandemic in order to protect all Manitobans,” said Pallister. “We have been working and will continue to work side-by-side with our business community to help them do what they do best – employ Manitobans, and offer services Manitobans rely and depend on. Many of them can’t do that right now, which is why we offering a $5,000 grant to help bridge them through this unprecedented time.”
 
The application form is now live for the Manitoba Bridge Grant, which provides a $5,000 grant upfront to eligible small and medium-sized businesses and organizations that were required to fully close their premises to the public because of Manitoba COVID-19 public health orders in effect as of Nov. 12. 
 
The list includes non-essential retailers, restaurants, bars, beverage rooms, brewpubs, microbreweries, distilleries, recreation and sport facilities, museums and galleries, theatres and concert halls, not-for-profit organizations, faith-based organizations and registered charities. The full list and application criteria is available on the program page at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/programs/bridge-grant.html.
 
“The best thing we can do for our businesses is to bend our COVID curve down. I encourage all Manitobans to follow the advice of Dr. Roussin and our heath leaders to stay home in order to halt the spread of this virus and protect our most vulnerable Manitobans. Manitobans can safely show their support for our local businesses through online shopping and curb-side pickup and delivery options,” the premier said.
 
He noted that businesses that received other federal or provincial funding, such as the Manitoba Gap Prevention Program, are welcome to apply for the Manitoba Bridge Grant. He noted the Manitoba Gap Prevention Program has concluded, with $59 million paid out to more than 9,800 businesses in the province.
 
“We would like to thank the province for making these grants available to businesses like ours,” said Costa and Ernie Cholakis of Broadway Florists. “The Cholakis family has been running Broadway Florists for 97 years (three generations) and this type of support will make the difference and allow us to continue on for years to come. We also appreciate all of the Manitobans who are buying local and supporting businesses like ours during these challenging times.”
 
Businesses and organizations that were actively conducting business in the province immediately before the implementation of applicable public health orders are able to apply for one immediate $5,000 grant per business number. The payment will be automatically deposited within 10 business days after their application is approved.
 
The program application deadline is Dec. 15. Should the public health orders remain in place past Jan. 1, 2021, the Manitoba Bridge Grant may be extended to provide an additional $5,000 to eligible organizations.
 
The premier noted the province is committed to making at least $250 million available to protect Manitoba’s business community at this critical time in the pandemic, through the first and potentially second round of Manitoba Bridge Grant payments as well as initial supporting funds of up to $50 million for business groups, such as the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, that were asked to provide government with a long-term recovery funding plan for Manitoba businesses coming out of COVID-19.
 
For assistance to complete the online form, applicants can contact Manitoba Government Inquiry at 204-945-3744 or toll-free at 1-866-MANITOBA (626-4862).
 

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October 29 2020 Private Member Statement on Greensite Recycling by Andrew Micklefield

Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise to congratulate Greensite Recycling for showing that recycling can be good for the environment and business at the same time. Fueled by curiosity, innovation, old shingles and dead trees, Greensite Recycling on Springfield Road saves money, keeps reusable materials out of landfills and creates green products used across the province. 

It all started in 2009 when roofer John Krueger discovered technology able to grind shingles to make ingredients used in road construction. He pursued the idea, and now this shingles-to-roads technology is used by the City of Winnipeg and being tested by the Province. One test site will use shingles from 45 house-roofs instead of sending them to the dump, where they take 300 years to break down. 

Greensite can also crush giant, downed trees and grind them down for landscaping mulch and playground material. Home builders, factory manufacturers, Hutterites, arborists and tree service companies, waste transfer companies, roofers and governments are all working together, saving money and the environment, and creating and using green products in the process: a variety of mulches, pellets and ground-up wood products.

Greensite is living proof that a little curiosity and innovation can turn a profit from waste previously left to landfills.

I invite members to join me in recognizing this example of local, green technology outpacing older paradigms and providing greener products at better prices. 

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Manitobans Need to Know Reason for Hydro Increase

Manitobans Need to Know Reason for Hydro Increase

Area residents concerned about hydro rate hikes deserve to know the reason for the increase: massive Hydro spending under the former NDP government. Borrowing more costs more, and bills for huge Hydro projects have come due. Since the year 2000, Manitoba’s NDP government sent Hydro’s debt skyrocketing from $6 billion to $21.6 billion. That’s roughly $44,000 of Hydro debt for every home in the province, plus roughly $1,600 of interest charged annually per household for these same Hydro projects. And because Hydro operates outside of government accounts, Hydro debt is often excluded from government debt discussions, even though it accounts for 40% of Manitoba’s overall debt-load. But there is only one taxpayer, and all taxes and bills come from the same paycheck.

In response, Manitoba’s PC government has introduced legislation modernizing the operations of the Public Utilities Board and strengthening their oversight on utility rates. Bill 35 lowers rate application costs by millions and makes rates more predictable by changing an annual review to a multi-year rate application process such as is done in other provinces. It also sets stricter parameters on capital project oversight to avoid a repeat of the past where the NDP pushed huge projects forward such as Keeyask or BiPole III, costing billions with minimal scrutiny. 

Part of these changes include a transition period where the government can set rates. The PC government recognizes the need to keep household Hydro rates low while ensuring Manitoba Hydro had enough revenue to service its large debts. The proposed rate of 2.9% is consistent with historic rate increases and will add about $2.50 to monthly bills for most homes.

Some claim Hydro debt is actually an investment. After all, can’t newly generated electricity be sold elsewhere to pay off debt and in time, make all Manitobans richer? It’s a great idea on paper, except that numerous provinces pursued this idea during the same decade, causing export rates to drop below profitability. Canada Energy Regulator data shows that in 2014, electricity sold for $87.23 per megawatt hour, but in 2019, that amount had dropped more than half to just $40.70 per megawatt hour. So while the cost of producing electricity went down, Manitoba’s Hydro rates went up. And all because, despite low interest rates, the cost of borrowing multiple billions of dollars remains owing.

Manitoba’s current PC government is making life more affordable for ordinary people. We’ve changed provincial income tax laws so folks make more each year before paying provincial income tax, and now thousands of very low income earners pay no provincial income tax at all. We’ve reduced the PST. And we’ve implemented common sense policies like no longer insisting all government offices have fax machines. These big and small measures add up. And we’ll need it. With Manitoba Hydro debt at $21.65 billion, Manitobans will be left with an ongoing reminder of the NDP legacy for decades into the future.

Andrew Micklefield is the MLA for Rossmere and can be reached at 204-289-4545 or by emailing andrew@andrewmicklefield.com

The cost of borrowing to construct mega-projects such as the Keeyask Generating Station (above) and Bipole III has saddled Manitoba Hydro with $21.6 billion of debt.

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Link to external post. -published November 4 in The Herald as ‘The plan for your Hydro rates’

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Manitoba Takes Decisive Action To Halt the Spread of COVID-19

Manitoba News Release

October 30, 2020

MANITOBA TAKES DECISIVE ACTION
TO HALT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

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#RestartMB Pandemic Response System Moves to Critical (red) in Winnipeg Metro Region, Restricted (orange) in Rest of Province: Roussin

Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced provincewide changes to the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System today in order to halt the growing community transmission of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

“We have pleaded with Manitobans to follow the fundamentals and to significantly reduce their contacts, and the numbers continue in the wrong direction,” said Roussin. “It is our hope that these new restrictions will help to halt the spread of this virus in order to ensure our health-care system is there for those who need it. I hope that this is a clear signal to Manitobans, and in particular the Winnipeg Metro Region, that we need to stay home, keep our distance and make a necessary collective sacrifice to protect all Manitobans.”

The announcement included:
• Critical level (red) in the Winnipeg Metro Region – Effective Monday, Nov. 2, the Winnipeg Metro Region will move to the Critical level (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. This includes the following changes:
– Bars and restaurants will be closed except for take-out and delivery.
– Most retail will be reduced to 25 per cent capacity.
– Sports and recreation programming will be suspended.
– Gyms and fitness centres will have reduced capacity to 25 per cent and masks will be mandatory, even when exercising.
– Movie theatres and concert halls will close.
– Personal services have no change and stay at 50 per cent capacity.
– Non-urgent and elective surgeries and diagnostics will be suspended. Scheduled surgeries in a number of essential and time-sensitive areas will continue to be performed including cancer, cardiac and trauma. Patients will be contacted directly if their scheduled surgeries are affected.
– Visitation at all Manitoba hospitals has been suspended, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis for patients receiving end-of-life care, in labour and delivery, as well as in pediatrics.
– Faith-based gatherings are reduced to 15 per cent or 100 people, whichever is lower.

• Restricted level (orange) in rest of Manitoba: The Southern Health–Santé Sud, Prairie Mountain Health and Interlake–Eastern health regions will move to the Restricted level (orange) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System effective Monday, Nov. 2, joining the Northern health region at orange. Changes for these regions include:
– Public and private group gathering sizes limited to five, in addition to household.
– Capacity limited to 50 per cent at restaurants and bars, with group sizes limited to five.
– Reduced retail capacity to 50 per cent, encouraging limiting those who go shopping from each household.
– Blended learning for grades 9 to 12, voluntary blended learning temporarily available for kindergarten to Grade 8, encouraging as much physical distancing as possible.
– Personal services have no change and stay at 50 per cent capacity.
– Reduced spectators at sports and recreation facilities to 25 per cent.
– Gyms and fitness centers require contact information for all attendees and mask use at all times, except when exercising.
– Faith-based gatherings are reduced to 20 per cent or 250 people, whichever is lower.

“The incubation period for this virus is up to 14 days – if we limit our contacts and stay home, we could see drastic reductions in transmission within weeks,” said Dr. Roussin. “We have done this before and I am confident we can do it again. But we need to be serious about this if we want to bend the curve.”

In addition to these changes, the province is encouraging businesses in the Winnipeg Metro Region, including the public service, to have staff work from home wherever possible, and for residents to stay home when sick and take whatever action possible to reduce their contacts and otherwise gathering in public.

“While our system continues to have capacity to care for the health needs of Manitobans, these case numbers can be expected to result in a surge in demand on our health system over the coming weeks,” said Lanette Siragusa, provincial lead, health system integration, quality, and chief nursing officer, Shared Health. “The time to increase capacity is now. We are taking every necessary step to safely ramp down elective and non-urgent services so that we can redeploy staff and other resources to areas of increased demand. We are adding beds to existing areas, preparing to convert existing beds from their current use and identifying staff who can be oriented to new areas.”

“We have a plan. We have equipment and space and supplies. And we are working through the details of the staffing and models of care to support the safe delivery of health services now and for the weeks to come,” Siragusa added.

Manitobans are still strongly encouraged to focus on these fundamentals to help stop the spread of COVID-19:
• People must stay home if sick.
• Wash/sanitize your hands, cover your cough and physically distance when you are with people outside your household.
• If you cannot physically distance, you should wear a mask to help reduce your risk.
• Reduce the number of close contacts outside your household, and avoid closed-in or crowded spaces.
• Get a flu shot.

Unless recommended by public health officials, only individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should go for testing. Individuals with symptoms are asked to seek testing as soon as possible once symptoms are present. Employers are asked to only send employees for testing if they have symptoms or if testing has been recommended by public health officials.

The online assessment tool can be found at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/ and COVID-19 symptoms can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/updates/about.html#collapse4.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/COVID19.

For up-to-date information on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System, visit:
https://manitoba.ca/covid19/restartmb/prs/index.html.

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Province Helping Protect Manitobans By Enhancing Access to Covid-19 Testing, Test Results

Appointment-Based Testing Launching in Winnipeg, Positive Test Results to be Available Online: Friesen

The Manitoba government is introducing new, more convenient ways for people to access COVID-19 testing in Winnipeg and positive test results online, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.
 
 
“As we roll out these new initiatives, Manitobans who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will be able to get tested faster and receive their results more quickly online,” said Friesen. “We are making improvements every day to reduce wait times and keep people safe.”
 
 
A new, appointment-based scheduling system for COVID-19 tests will be implemented tomorrow at 6 a.m. People will be able to call 1-855-268-4318 (toll-free) or go online to make appointments to get a COVID-19 test. The system is rolling out in Winnipeg first to help address the high demand for tests across the city.
 
 
At this time, only people with symptoms are being advised to get tested for COVID-19. Appointments are expected to take about five minutes for adults and about 10 minutes for children. People are asked to arrive about 10 minutes early for their appointment to allow time to check in and to bring their health card or government-issued identification.
 
 
Initially, appointments will be available at testing centres and drive-up sites at 604 St. Mary’s Rd., 2735 Pembina Hwy. and 1181 Portage Ave. Drive-thru testing sites at 1284 Main St. and 1066 Nairn Ave. and the site at Thunderbird House at 715 Main St. will remain first-come, first-served sites at this time. The system will be rolled out to other communities in the weeks ahead. For more information on testing locations, visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19/updates/testing.html.
 
 
The minister also noted that starting later this week, Manitobans will be able to access positive COVID-19 test results in Shared Health’s online self-serve portal. This expansion of the information available on the portal, which has previously only provided negative COVID-19 test results, will make it more convenient to get this important health information for any individual with a Manitoba health card.
 
 
Public health officials will continue to contact individuals who test positive to begin contact tracing. However, information in the portal will provide immediate guidance to positive cases about their requirement to isolate while they wait to be contacted. Public health officials aim to connect with positive cases within the first 24 to 48 hours after a positive test result is received.
 
 
The portal also includes information for those individuals who need immediate assistance or support. They are encouraged to call Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257.
 
 
For the week of Oct. 9 to 15, more than 93 per cent of all individuals tested for COVID-19 in Manitoba have retrieved their results via the online portal, with the remaining individuals contacting Health Links–Info Santé. To access results through the portal, individuals must have and present their Manitoba health card when being tested and then register online at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/test-results/.
 
 
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Province Presents ‘Protecting Manitobans Agenda’ In Speech From The Throne

October 7, 2020 – During This Unprecedented Time, Nothing Matters More Than Protecting Manitobans: Premier

As outlined in today’s speech from the throne, the Manitoba government unveiled its ‘Protecting Manitobans Agenda’, with five guaranteed commitments to protect Manitobans, their personal health and their financial health, during this time of need.

Delivered by the Lt.-Gov. Janice C. Filmon at the opening of the third session of the 42nd legislature, the speech from the throne is a focused agenda with the goal of creating a more secure Manitoba during the pandemic and a more prosperous Manitoba after the pandemic.

“During this time of uncertainty, nothing matters more than protecting Manitobans,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “Our government has been taking thoughtful and deliberate action from the very beginning of this pandemic, and we will keep doing so to protect the services Manitobans need, the jobs they have or want back, and their incomes for themselves and their families, now and well into the future.”

The ‘Protecting Manitobans Agenda’ outlines five guaranteed commitments to protect Manitobans in the fight against COVID-19 and to continue the government’s efforts to fix the finances, repair the services, and rebuild Manitoba’s economy.

Initiatives from those five guaranteed commitments include:

•    Protecting Health Care

    – ensuring funding and resources from across government are dedicated first and foremost to health-care needs;

    – investing in personal protective equipment for front-line health workers and securing more testing sites and capacity for COVID-19;

    – reducing wait times further for cataract surgery and joint replacements, and providing additional renal dialysis services where they are needed;

    – calling for the federal government to protect health care by increasing the Canada Health Transfer and becoming a full funding partner in providing health care to Canadians;

    – ensuring that more Manitoba seniors are better able to ‘age in place, with the supports they need to live well in their homes and communities;

    – investing in Manitoba’s personal care homes, with significant capital upgrades to enhance resident health and safety;

    – protecting vulnerable Manitobans with disabilities through a new income support program;

    – partnering with the federal government to create a portable housing benefit for vulnerable Manitobans;

•    Protecting Jobs

    – supporting workers, students and businesses through the Restart Manitoba Initiative;

    – creating an independent, private sector-led economic development agency to attract investment and promote international trade for all of Manitoba;

    – examining the need and role for a provincial venture capital investment fund to give Manitoba businesses better access to innovative financing to bridge established private investment capital sources;

    – preparing Manitobans for the jobs of the future, and ensuring workers get the education and labour market training they need to be job-ready;

    – transforming and modernizing apprenticeship training, enabling more Manitobans to become skilled journeypersons, particularly in rural and northern Manitoba;

    – welcoming new immigrants to Manitoba through a special immigration credential recognition program;

    – investing and expediting priority infrastructure projects that create jobs and a more secure Manitoba including the St. Mary’s Road interchange on the South Perimeter Highway and a new roundabout at the Trans-Canada Highway intersection with PTH 16;

    – pursuing and insisting on the federal government’s approval of the Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin channel, which will help mitigate climate change and give Manitobans in the region their lives back;

    – prioritizing and investing in the North End Winnipeg Sewage Treatment Plant project to help clean up Lake Winnipeg;

    – updating the provincial tourism strategy to build back this important sector, and protect jobs and incomes for thousands of Manitobans;

    – continuing to streamline planning and approval processes for future development by reintroducing changes to The Planning Act and the City of Winnipeg Charter;

    Protecting Incomes

    – keeping its word to Manitobans to lower taxes and leave more money on the kitchen tables of Manitoba families and businesses;

    – continuing the $2020 Tax Rollback Guarantee with new tax relief;

    – beginning the phased elimination of the education property tax paid by individual Manitobans;

    – introducing an amendment to the Employment Standards Code to update leave provisions and ensure Manitobans are able to access paid federal sick leave promptly while protecting themselves and others;

    – instructing Manitoba Hydro to keep this year’s rate increase to below three per cent, ensuring MPI continues to lower rates, and allowing less expensive and more convenient private retailing of liquor in the province;

•    Protecting Education and Child Care

    – keeping schools open, and children and students safe during this pandemic;

    – establishing a provincial blended learning strategy, consisting of remote and in-class learning options through the Restoring Safe Schools plan;

    – keeping the government’s commitment to build 20 new schools;

    – transforming Manitoba’s education system into a modern, responsive and ambitious system that is classroom focused, student centred and parent friendly;

    – providing a guaranteed increase of over $1.6 billion more in education funding over the next four years;

    – providing affordable and accessible child care that reflects the needs and challenges today’s parents face;

•    Protecting Manitoba’s Future

    – continuing to plan and take steps to protect Manitoba’s financial future, Manitoba’s climate future and Manitoba’s energy future;

    – pursuing a careful two-term, balanced budget plan to eliminate the COVID deficit while investing in the services Manitobans depend on;

    – continuing to implement the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan with new initiatives to reduce carbon emissions across all sectors of the economy building on Manitoba’s clean energy advantage;

    – ensuring the sustainability of Manitoba’s fish and wildlife populations, while protecting natural resource jobs and conservation traditions;

    – releasing the independent economic review of Manitoba Hydro’s Bipole III project and the Keeyask dam; and  

    – protecting Manitoba’s clean energy advantage with a strong and secure Manitoba Hydro.

The Manitoba government will continue to use EngageMB to consult with Manitobans on new policies, programs and actions to protect Manitobans from COVID-19 and safely restart the economy, the premier added.

“This year has been like no other, yet we have weathered it better than most,” said Pallister. “The resilience of Manitoba’s economy, finances, public services, and most of all, our people, have stood out strong. I am confident that if we keep working together, guided by Manitoba values, we will come out of this pandemic stronger and more prosperous.”

To read the speech from the throne, visit www.manitoba.ca/thronespeech.

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