Province Provides Response to Senate Committee on Cannabis Legislation

May 22, 2018
PROVINCE PROVIDES RESPONSE TO SENATE COMMITTEE ON CANNABIS LEGISLATION
Public Health, Safety Remain Primary Concerns: Stefanson, Goertzen
Background Information
The Manitoba government has provided a submission to the federal Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology to highlight ongoing concerns related to cannabis legalization, including road safety, Justice Minister Heather Stefanson and Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“As we address the federal government’s decision to legalize recreational cannabis, our government’s priority is to ensure the public health and safety of Manitobans,” said Stefanson. “While Manitoba continues to make significant progress preparing for the federal legalization of cannabis, many major concerns remain outstanding and require immediate federal attention.”

Concerns particularly relate to road safety, law enforcement and general risks associated with a short implementation timeframe, Stefanson noted.

“Our government continues to hold concerns that the short time frame for implementation presents significant risks to achieving the federal government’s stated objectives for legalization, including keeping cannabis out of the hands of our youth and away from the black market,” said Goertzen. “Our government continues to emphasize the importance of ongoing, robust, culturally sensitive and co-ordinated public education efforts, with a particular focus on youth and vulnerable groups.”

Stefanson and Goertzen also re-emphasized Manitoba’s support for an amendment to C-45, The Cannabis Act, to specify that provinces and territories hold legislative authority to further restrict home cannabis production. While such an amendment is unnecessary from a legal standpoint, it would eliminate ambiguity and avoid needless and costly legal challenges.

Other concerns raised by Stefanson and Goertzen to the senate committee include:
• the timely and appropriate implementation of road safety measures before legalization takes effect;
• resource pressures by law enforcement as they work to keep roads safe;
• the risks associated with a short implementation timeframe;
• the reliability and cost challenges associated with a seed to sale tracking system; and
• the length of time needed to prepare for full cannabis retail operations.

“Just like with drunk driving, people who drive high aren’t just taking a chance with their own life, but they’re potentially endangering all road users,” said Liz Kulyk, corporate manager, government and community relations, CAA Manitoba. “With legalization just around the corner, governments across Canada need more certainty that there will be enough funding for law enforcement, research and especially public education to ensure that road safety is top of mind as we move towards and post legalization.”

As announced previously, Manitoba has made significant progress in anticipation of upcoming federal legalization of cannabis. The Cannabis Harm Prevention Act established several common sense safety measures, including a 24-hour driver’s licence suspension if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe a driver is unable to safely operate a vehicle due to being under the influence of a drug. It also prohibits the smoking and vaping of cannabis in enclosed public places and indoor workplaces. The recently introduced impaired driving offences act would further strengthen road safety with tough provincial sanctions that correspond with the new offences outlined in the federal Bill C-46. These sanctions include additional consequences for beginner drivers to be established by regulation.

Manitoba has also introduced the non-smokers health protection and vapour products amendment act (prohibiting cannabis consumption in outdoor public places) that would prohibit smoking and vaping cannabis in outdoor public places and the safe and responsible retailing of cannabis act that would establish the framework for the retail sale of cannabis in Manitoba and set the minimum age of 19 for possession and use of cannabis.

“In all its forms, cannabis remains a substance that poses considerable risks to youth in particular,” said Ken Cameron, president, Manitoba School Boards Association. “We share the concerns raised by the government of Manitoba, particularly as they relate to enforcement and public safety ahead of cannabis legalization. We remain committed to protecting all persons engaged within the public schools system from cannabis-related harms.”

The federal government must address these outstanding concerns prior to legalization coming into effect, said Stefanson and Goertzen.

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Manitoba Government Expands Support to At-Risk Youth in Selkirk

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT EXPANDS SUPPORT TO AT-RISK YOUTH IN SELKIRK

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Investment will Prevent Crime, Increase Access to Community Supports for Youth and Their Families: Stefanson


SELKIRK—The Manitoba government is increasing its support to the Selkirk Team for At-Risk Teens (START) program, which co-ordinates social service agencies, police and community organizations to prevent crime and support at-risk youth and their families, Justice Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

“START continues to make a measurable difference for young people and their families because the people and agencies involved take the time to identify and address root issues,” said Stefanson.  “This collaboration results in benefits for the individual, the family and the community, with improvements related to the youth’s living situation, attendance at school and long-term wellness.  Our government is proud to announce an annual funding increase of $50,000 to support this important work, which ends cycles of crime in our communities before they begin.”

The program supports young people aged 11 to 20 and their families who are showing higher-risk behaviours and may already have existing relationships with community agencies or previous involvement with law enforcement.  Under the START model, all of the partners work with the youth and their family to identify the root causes of their behaviour and develop a comprehensive plan to get them on a more stable path in their lives.  This may include addictions treatment support, mental health supports, probation services or parenting supports.

“It is programs like START that have the potential to change lives, and make our communities healthier and safer,” said Assistant Commissioner Scott Kolody, commanding officer of the RCMP in Manitoba.  “With the commitment of the people involved in this program, and with the partnership of the province in funding START, struggling teens get the support they need to lead successful and healthy lives.”

Last year, START worked with 47 clients with an average age of 15.  After three years, 93 per cent of youth have had either reduced or no contact with law enforcement.  A 2013 assessment found it:

  • improved the young person’s living situation (for more than 81 per cent of clients);
  • resulted in the youth and the family accessing new services (86 per cent);
  • provided the youth, family and service providers with a better understanding of their challenges (nearly 73 per cent);
  • improved attendance and participation at school (80 per cent);
  • developed more successful safety plans for the youth (nearly 85 per cent); and
  • gave all clients a better understanding of their at-risk activities and how to reduce them.

Stefanson noted community mobilization projects like START are an integral part of the province’s Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy, which was released in March.  It reflects the strategy’s focus on evidence-based investments to reduce crime and support community safety.

The minister noted this funding is in addition to an $11,000 annual grant to START that has been in place for several years.  START has been working in the Selkirk community for 15 years and receives funding and in-kind support from the RCMP, Lord Selkirk School Division, Justice Canada, Interlake Child and Family Services, the City of Selkirk and Rural Municipality of St. Clements.

For more information about START, visit www.startprogramselkirk.weebly.com.

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Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Sets Out Bold Plan to Address Long-Standing Service Gaps

MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS STRATEGY SETS OUT BOLD PLAN TO ADDRESS LONG-STANDING SERVICE GAPS

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Strategy Identifies Historical and Systemic Issues, Focuses on Opportunities for Provincial-level Care Planning, Community-based Care: Goertzen


A new mental health and addictions strategic plan was launched today, outlining a path to enhancing access to quality services, increasing co-ordination through community mobilization hubs and improving use of technology to ensure a seamless continuum of services, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“This strategy offers a fresh start for Manitoba,” said Goertzen, upon formally receiving the plan Monday.  “It sets out a bold, forward-looking plan to address the silos and gaps that have created significant challenges for Manitobans in accessing the services they need, when they need them.

“While we are realistic in acknowledging the report’s goals will not be accomplished overnight, our government is committed to working with service providers and clinical experts whose voices have shaped both the short and long-term recommendations.”

The Manitoba Mental Health and Addictions Strategy found there is a high need for both mental health and addictions treatment in Manitoba.  Long waits to access services, limited availability of services in rural and northern communities, gaps in the continuum from acute to primary care, and an imbalance in how past investment has been directed between acute services and those based in the community were identified as major challenges.

“In general terms, our assessment of Manitoba’s addictions and mental health system concludes that in addition to rectifying long-standing issues related to the structural and functional separation of services in these areas – areas that are significantly more integrated in all other Canadian jurisdictions – some investment will be necessary to bring Manitoba on par with other provinces.  This could involve reinvestment of other health dollars or pooled resources from other government departments as a whole-of-government approach,” said Dr. Brian Rush, who co-authored the 279-page report.

“While this additional investment is certainly needed, funding alone will not fix the system, as evidenced by Manitoba having one of the highest provincial per capital health expenditure rates in Canada and yet poorer health outcomes than many other provinces,” added co-author Adair Roberts.  “Our report identifies near-universal support for provincial-level planning, includes recommendations for more streamlined governance.  It also recommends an increased focus on community-based services which have the potential to reduce long waits that can result in patients accessing the emergency department because they are unable to receive help elsewhere.”

The report reinforced that Manitoba’s system is not able to meet the province’s current level of need.  Manitoba has the highest prevalence among provinces of people meeting the criteria for many mental and substance-use disorders.

The limitations were most evident in areas serving women, youth and Indigenous populations.  Specific recommendations were made related to more flexible lengths of stay, increased community-based treatment, the integration of addictions and mental health services for children and youth under one umbrella, and the need for more accessible and culturally appropriate services to support the health and wellness of Indigenous Manitobans.

The strategy suggests a number of key themes to shape the future of mental health and addictions care in Manitoba including:

  • the creation of a seamless continuum of services, with an emphasis on community hubs or ‘focal points’ that bring key community and service agencies together in one location (24-7 access to psychiatric consultation, cross-trained staff in mental health and addictions, linkages to services in community, centralized intake), enabling person- and family-focused care and culturally relevant treatment options;
  • increased emphasis on collaborative care models, building upon the successful model of My Health Teams;
  • support for primary care providers through rapid access to psychiatric consultation like the Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE) pilot and continued opportunities for prescribers to enhance their competencies in addiction medicine; and
  • increased access across the province to timely treatment through Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics and expanded Telehealth access.

The report acknowledges increased funding alone will not improve the system but nonetheless recommends a gradual increase in funding over three years.  It also points to opportunities to streamline governance and align provincial planning, delivery and performance measurement with the system-level clinical and preventive services planning of Shared Health.

Governance and financial investment recommendations include:

  • initiate external reviews of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba’s residential and community services to assess current screening and assessment tools, appropriateness of reliance on 12-step facilitation in residential programs, opportunities for more flexible program content, appropriateness of current models of service for youth treatment and appropriateness of use of cultural-based approaches for Indigenous clients;
  • build a blended funding model for psychiatric support – both salary and fee-for-service billing – and a provincial policy to require other parts of government to contract for psychiatric services through the public system;
  • develop provincial standards and instate provincial licensing processes;
  • increase funding over the next three years to reach the Canadian guideline of 7.2 per cent of health funding being allocated to mental health and addictions;
  • provide an additional two per cent of health funding to make up for the historical funding gap; and
  • allocate eight per cent of the total addictions and mental health budget to prevention.

“The report’s emphasis on prevention is consistent with recommendations made in the Provincial Clinical and Preventive Services Planning for Manitoba report authored by Dr. David Peachey,” said Goertzen.  “While alcohol addiction is often overlooked during public discussion of addictions, it continues to represent roughly 80 per cent of all addictions problems in Manitoba and has by far the greatest impact on health and social well-being.”

The strategic plan was developed following an intensive public and stakeholder engagement effort.  More than 80 consultations took place between June and September 2017 across the province.  VIRGO Planning and Evaluation Consultants Inc., led by Rush and Roberts, who are experts in mental health and substance-use system design and planning, reviewed more than 275 documents provided by stakeholders and analyzed population, health and service data.  Online surveys received one of the highest response rates to date for provincial surveys, with more than 3,800 respondents from both the general public and service providers.

Following the development of initial recommendations, Rush and Roberts engaged more than 600 individuals including those with lived experience and their family members, Indigenous leaders, new Canadians and key stakeholders who will oversee and implement the strategy to receive feedback on the work.

“This strategy includes the voices of thousands of Manitobans – families, health-care providers, community leaders – from every region of our province,” said Goertzen.  “Their stories, perspectives and expertise have been invaluable and the extraordinary interest in this process demonstrates how important support for mental health and addictions is to all Manitobans.”

Over the coming months, Goertzen said Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living will evaluate and consider each recommendation, including how they fit within the development of a whole-of-government approach.  The implementation of recommendations related to governance and integration will be considered both from within the health system (bringing together organizations with provincial mandates including the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre and Selkirk Mental Health Centre) and across the broader government context (including Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, Manitoba Families and Manitoba Justice).

The implementation plan is expected to be complete by the fall and include identified opportunities to realign existing resources and leverage federal funding opportunities through the Shared Health Priorities funding and Substance Use and Addiction Program.

For more information on the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, visit:
www.gov.mb.ca/health/mha/strategy.html.

For more information on addictions services, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/mh/addictions/index.html.

For more information on mental health crisis and non-crisis regional services, visit:
www.gov.mb.ca/health/mh/crisis.html.

The Provincial Clinical and Preventive Services Planning for Manitoba review can be found at:
www.gov.mb.ca/health/pcpsp.html.

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Remarkable People in Rossmere: Grant and Award Recipients

Kwame Bonsu (centre), was recently presented with a Premier’s Volunteer Service Award. From left: Emilia Tuffour, Bonsu, and Rossmere MLA Andrew Micklefield.
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Kwame Bonsu (centre), was recently presented with a Premier’s Volunteer Service Award. From left: Emilia Tuffour, Bonsu, and Rossmere MLA Andrew Micklefield.

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Be Emergency Ready During Emergency Preparedness Week and All Year

BE EMERGENCY READY DURING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS WEEK AND ALL YEAR

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EP Week 2018 is May 6 to 12 but Manitobans Need to Prepared at All Times: Schuler


The government of Manitoba encourages all Manitobans to prepare and be emergency ready at all times, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler, minister responsible for emergency measures, announced today as National Emergency Preparedness Week runs from May 6 to 12.

“Preparedness starts with the individual and each of us should be aware of our needs in an emergency situation,” said Schuler.  “Municipal, provincial, territorial, federal and Indigenous governments prepare for large-scale emergencies, but individuals and families, as well as those looking out for the needs of vulnerable neighbours and family, have an important role in being ready to react to emergency situations.”

This year’s theme for Emergency Preparedness week is ‘Be Emergency Ready’.  The theme is a call to action to prepare for emergencies, to stay informed and to mitigate the potential negative impacts of emergencies.

On May 9, at 1:55 p.m., the national Alert Ready system will issue a test that will – for the first time – include delivery to compatible wireless devices.  This is an expansion of the warning system for emergencies and disasters via TV broadcasts, radio, cable and satellite distribution, and web feeds.  In Manitoba, Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) and Environment and Climate Change Canada are the only agencies authorized to issue Alert Ready messages.

“We are fortunate that spring flooding will be limited this year, but a dry spring has already resulted in a busy wildfire season,” said Schuler.  “The province, through Manitoba EMO, prepares and helps municipalities, communities and individuals to be prepared.”

The Manitoba government also recognizes the efforts of communities to be prepared through the Manitoba Community Emergency Preparedness Awards.  This year the rural municipalities of Cartier and Hanover, the Municipality of Louise, and the Southern Emergency Response Committee, consisting of the RM of Stanley and the cities of Morden and Winkler, were recipients.  The award recognizes communities with programs meeting or exceeding recognized national and international standards for emergency preparedness.

The province also supports the Manitoba Disaster Management Conference, held every 18 months to increase awareness of emergency preparedness requirements.  Delegates and speakers share experiences, display technology and create networking opportunities.  The conference will be held October 10 to 12 this year.

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Province Launches Intake for Community Development Funding Applications

April 26, 2018
PROVINCE LAUNCHES INTAKE FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FUNDING APPLICATIONS

The Manitoba government is seeking grant applications for community development projects and initiatives, Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton and Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, announced today.

“Investments in these community organizations are critical in supporting the sustainability and economic development of neighbourhoods across our province,” said Wharton. “Budget 2018 announced an 11 per cent funding increase for the Community Places Program, demonstrating our continued commitment to community development in Manitoba.”

The government is investing more than $20 million in community development programs for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Applications are now being accepted for the Community Places Program, Hometown Manitoba, Neighbourhoods Alive! and Partner 4 Growth.

“As part of our government’s ongoing commitment to support survivors, I am pleased to collaborate with Minister Wharton to announce Neighbourhoods Alive! will place an emphasis on applications that support women in vulnerable situations and enable women’s empowerment,” said Squires. “We will continue to look for innovative ways to help reduce and prevent violence against women in Manitoba.”

The minister noted that in addition to projects that support women’s safety and reducing rates of violence against women, priority will be given to new applications focused on the following four additional areas:

  • projects that enable economic development and align with regional development strategies;
  • key repair of high-priority community assets;
  • community initiatives concentrating on community, heritage, tourism and recreation facilities and projects;
  • and social innovation like support for social enterprises, projects that include a social return on investment (SROI) evaluation and projects that target measurable social outcomes.

Successful applications will demonstrate how they will support planning, building and sustaining communities, and provide an overall positive benefit for their community. The Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) will now be involved in the evaluation process for community development programs announced today. AMM involvement will continue to align key priorities between provincial and municipal partners to ensure the community benefit is maximized at the local level.

“Community development projects are essential to promoting economic development and sustainability in our local communities, our regions, and our entire province,” said Chris Goertzen, president, AMM. “The AMM is pleased to have an expanded role on the selection committee and we look forward to evaluating what are sure to be very worthy applications to these programs.”

Application deadline is May 28. For more information, or to submit an application, visit www.gov.mb.ca/mr/bldgcomm/intake/index.html.

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Manitoba Government Applauds Police for Introducing Third-Party Reporting

April 16, 2018
MANITOBA GOVERNMENT APPLAUDS POLICE FOR INTRODUCING THIRD-PARTY REPORTING

The Manitoba government is applauding efforts to introduce third-party reporting in the province. Justice Minister Heather Stefanson and Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, attended an announcement Monday morning where police and partners unveiled the concept to support survivors of sexual assault.

The Winnipeg Police Service and RCMP, in partnership with Klinic Community Health Centre, Heart Medicine Lodge (Ka Ni Kanichihk) and Sage House (Mount Carmel Clinic), announced a new protocol in Manitoba for survivors of sexual abuse. Third-party reporting offers adult survivors the option of reporting the details of their case anonymously to the WPS or RCMP through a third-party, community-based victim services agency, if they are not ready to participate in a police investigation or become involved in court proceedings.

“I want to thank the community agencies, the Winnipeg Police Service and the RCMP for the strong leadership being demonstrated to support sexual violence survivors,” said Squires, a long-time advocate for third-party reporting who raised the issue at a 2017 federal-provincial-territorial meeting for Canada’s status of women ministers. “It is gratifying to now see this process unfolding in Manitoba. We know that survivors of sexual violence need support in sharing their stories and having their voices heard.”

The minister noted that statistics show less than five per cent of individuals report an experience of sexual assault and this initiative will help address the issue of under-reporting by removing some barriers. Police will receive information filed through third-party reporting but the survivor’s identity will not be disclosed.

“We appreciate that for a variety of reasons, it can be difficult for survivors to come forward,” said Stefanson. “While survivors will always be able to come forward to police, third-party reporting will serve as another avenue. Those who work with survivors of sexual assault, including Manitoba Justice Victim Services workers across the province, can help connect people to this option and assist with the process as needed.”

The ministers noted third-party reporting is currently in place in British Columbia, Yukon and parts of Ontario.

The province continues to recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It launched a new online resource at http://www.gov.mb.ca/youarenotalone called You Have Options: Help After Sexual Assault that offers information how to recognize sexual assault, understand the criminal justice system, explore options to make a report, and find counselling, support and healing.

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Manitoba Performing Well in Radiation Therapy, CT Scan Waits; Commits to Improving Performance in Hip, Knee Replacement and Cataract Surgeries

MANITOBA PERFORMING WELL IN RADIATION THERAPY, CT SCAN WAITS; COMMITS TO IMPROVING PERFORMANCE IN HIP, KNEE REPLACEMENT AND CATARACT SURGERIES

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Province will Follow Wait Times Reduction Task Force Recommendations: Goertzen


The Manitoba government will continue to support innovation in priority surgeries such as cataract removal and hip and knee replacements while responding to the recommendations contained in the Wait Times Reduction Task Force Report including increasing the number of surgeries performed, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“Manitoba has maintained consistent wait times for radiation therapy, significantly increased the number of CT scans performed in the province, reduced wait times for coronary artery bypass grafts and achieved the best results in the country for hip fracture repair, with patients being treated within 48 hours,” said Goertzen.  “Regarding hip and knee replacements, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) report validates the work we have already done with the Wait Times Reduction Task Force report, which recommended a number of changes necessary to improve access for Manitobans.”

He added the CIHI report reinforces what this government has been saying since before taking power in 2016 – the province’s health-care system is not working as it should for Manitobans and government will implement the necessary changes to improve it.

“These reports show Manitobans deserve better from their health-care system,” said Goertzen.  “They motivate us to continue to make the changes that will change the system to one that serves Manitobans the way it should.”

Both reports find Manitoba continues to experience challenging wait times for hip and knee replacement surgery and cataract surgery, with referrals increasing in recent years.  Goertzen said the government would be unveiling its response to the task force report soon.

“We perform approximately 3,000 hip and knee revision surgeries in Winnipeg each year, and have been making some progress in increasing our ability to perform more procedures within existing budgets by embracing innovation.  However, demand continues to grow,” said Jack MacPherson, medical director of the surgery program, orthopedic surgeon and co-chair of the priority procedures wait times reduction committee of the Wait Times Reduction Task Force.  “I’m pleased the government is planning to address the task force recommendations in this area.”

Goertzen also pointed to three innovative practices recently implemented which are showing promising results.

The first practice offers cataract surgeries without sedation to patients who meet the clinical criteria to have the procedure done this way.  Since August 2017, Misericordia Health Centre, where the bulk of cataract surgeries are performed in Winnipeg, has already performed 200 cataract removals without sedation for eligible clients who have experienced shorter recovery times with the same restoration of sight.

Additionally, Winnipeg is the third Canadian centre to offer same-day hip surgery.  The procedure is done using a special type of anesthetic and results in a significant saving of time and money, since patients do not need to stay in hospital overnight.  Many other criteria need to be in place for clients to qualify, including help at home for the first night following surgery to ensure patient safety.  However, the minister noted initial feedback from the 36 patients to have the procedure done here has been promising.

Finally, a hip and knee clinic has been introduced to reduce the number of people referred for surgery.  In the pilot program, a physiotherapist and a non-practicing orthopedic surgeon assess patients.  In some cases, patients are able to address their hip and knee issues through exercise or treatment other than surgery.  This ensures resources are being used most efficiently and helps reduce the number of people referred for surgery.

“As part of the clinical and preventive services planning process, we have been looking at the best practices that are working elsewhere to develop new ways of providing care,” said Lanette Siragusa of Shared Health.  “Projects like the hip and knee clinic are an example of the kind of innovation we need to enhance access to care and improve the quality of life for Manitoba patients in a timely way, and we’re pleased at the positive early results we’re already seeing.”

For more information on the Wait Times Reduction Task Force Report, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/documents/wtrtf.pdf.

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Manitoba Government Announces Locations of Up to 780 New Licensed Child-Care Spaces

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES LOCATIONS OF UP TO 780 NEW LICENSED CHILD-CARE SPACES

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School and Community-based Capital Projects will Help Ease Wait List: Fielding

Families Minister Scott Fielding has announced the creation of up to 780 new licensed early learning and child-care spaces, supported by $22.8 million through the Canada–Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

“We’re pleased to announce these new spaces will be created through capital projects based at schools and in communities across Manitoba,” said Fielding during an event today at S.P.L.A.S.H. Child Care Inc. and Splash Child Enrichment Centre on McGregor Street in north Winnipeg.  “More licensed spaces in Manitoba will help reduce wait times for families, improve access to quality early learning and child-care services, and meet the needs of Manitoba’s diverse communities.”

As announced in February, the Canada–Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement earmarks funding from the Government of Canada to support 1,400 new and newly funded child-care spaces in Manitoba.  Today’s announcement revealed the location of up to 780 of those spaces that will be added through new construction, in addition to funding for 621 existing licensed spaces at 63 child-care centres that was announced in early March.

“I am pleased that the investments announced in the Canada–Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement in February are being used to increase access to quality and affordable early learning and child care for Manitoba families, giving children a real chance to succeed in life,” said federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

Fielding noted the latest announcement directs funding to 20 major capital projects in communities where access to affordable child care has been challenging and with consideration of lower-income, lone-parent or French-language families or those living in underserved areas.  The child-care centres will serve as community hubs with 10 projects being developed in schools or on school property for a total of 424 new spaces, and 10 projects in active community locations resulting in an additional 356 new spaces.

“The announcement of these new spaces is very positive,” said Jodie Kehl, executive director of the Manitoba Child Care Association.  “Child care in or close to schools offers convenient and accessible options for families, and we believe children and families benefit directly from these successful relationships.”

“We are extremely pleased with this announcement as we will be part of a remarkable effort to redevelop a long-standing community location so that it can be a site that offers much-needed quality early learning and child-care services,” said Tara Richliwski, assistant director, S.P.L.A.S.H. Child Care Inc. & Splash Child Enrichment Centre, recipient of funding for a project to renovate space at the Augustine United Church on River Avenue.  Upon completion, the project will result in 24 new infant and 64 new preschool spaces, in addition to the centre’s two current sites in Winnipeg.

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A welcoming place for newcomers

A welcoming place for newcomers

MLA Andrew Micklefield and Speaker of the House Myrna Driedger are pictured with students and teachers of Julia Todd’s EAL class at Gateway Community Church.
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MLA Andrew Micklefield and Speaker of the House Myrna Driedger are pictured with students and teachers of Julia Todd’s EAL class at Gateway Community Church.

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