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Rapid Recap: Manitoba Releases Health Care Focused Budget

 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 – Manitoba Minister of Finance Adrien Sala tabled the NDP government’s first budget since being elected in the fall of 2023. It projects $23.3 billion in overall spending with a forecast deficit of $796 million. The government’s net debt is forecast to climb this year to $35 billion.

The budget spending plan follows Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew’s commitment to improve the provincial health care system with $8.2 billion allocated to health priorities, a 13.5% increase over last year. These additional funds will support the hiring of 1,000 new health care workers, increase bed capacity, reduce wait times in ERs, improve seniors care and enhance care in rural and northern Manitoba. $635 million is dedicated to capital spending projects, including a new emergency room at Victoria Hospital in Winnipeg.

Health Care Commitments

Budget 2024 investments in health care include:

Health Human Resources

  • Hiring 1,000 new health care workers: 100 doctors, 210 nurses, 90 paramedics and 600 health care aids, as well as:
    • $15.6 million for new doctor training seats.
    • $12.3 million toward recruiting and training new family medicine doctors.
    • $6 million for new medical specialists.
  • $309.5 million to recruit, retain and train more health care workers, including:
    • $66.7 million to increase bed capacity and reduce ER wait times.
    • $25.2 million to permanently increase critical care capacity (ICUs).
    • $47.28 million to connect more Manitobans with a Family Doctor.
    • $6.9 million investment to expand allied health positions to support patient discharges on weekends.

Capital Development

  • $635 million in 2024 for health capital investments, including starting work to design and build the new Victoria Hospital and Eriksdale Emergency Rooms.
  • $17.6 million to open two new Minor Injury and Illness Clinics and to establish the first of five primary care clinics.

Expanding Care in Rural Manitoba

  • $1 million investment for a mobile MRI for northern communities, as well as a second permanent MRI in the Thompson General Hospital.
  • $16.1 million in ongoing funding for emergency ground transport, including funding two, 24/7 ambulances in Brandon and Thompson, and the paramedics to support them.

Cancer Care

  • $6.9 million in operating for better cancer care, including:
    • Access to cancer drugs and companion testing to better match cancer drugs with specific oncology patients.
    • $112,000 for pre-design work for a new CancerCare Headquarters.

Seniors Care

  • $22.3 million to provide better care for seniors including:
    • Providing more direct hours of care for seniors in Personal Care Homes.
    • Implementing the new Safe and Healthy at Home program to support aging in place and funding for the office of legislated, independent Seniors’ Advocate.

Women’s Health & Family Planning

  • Doubling the prenatal benefit to $162.82, making it the highest in Canada.
  • Free prescription birth control for all Manitobans.
  • Doubling the maximum Fertility Treatment Tax Credit equal to 40% of fertility treatment fees.

Women’s Health & Family Planning

  • $3.9 million to establish a supervised consumption site, addiction treatment beds, and support harm reduction services.
  • $11 million for mental health and addiction services, including more detox beds and sobering sites. Hiring 20 additional mental health workers.
  • Evaluating an Indigenous-lead initiative to establish a supervised consumption site in the North Main area of Winnipeg.

Other Commitments

  • Funding for the implementation of new plastic health cards for all Manitobans, including the option of digitizing health card information.
  • Increase of nearly $20 million for Community Living disABILITY services/ Children’s disABILITY services.
  • Doubling the federal excise duty on vaping substances beginning January 1, 2025.

Additional Priorities

While this was a health budget, other key elements of this budget included:

Affordability Measures

  • Extending the gas tax cut.
  • New $1,500 Homeowners Affordability Tax Credit and an increased $575 Renters Tax Credit and up to $328 seniors top-up.
  • $10/day childcare all year round.
  • $4,000 rebate for new electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids and $2,500 rebate for used EVs and plug-in hybrids.

Education Investments

  • $104.2 million in education funding to help every child reach their full potential, including $30 million for a universal school nutrition program.
  • $160 million in capital investments for construction, expansion, and improvements in school properties, including two new schools in Winnipeg.
  • $116 million in funding to build and maintain social and affordable housing.

Economic Measures

  • $540 million capital investments in highways and other transportation and water-related infrastructure.
  • $146.9 million total in Business Risk Management programs, including for AgriInsurance, Wildlife Damage Compensation, AgriStability and AgriInvest.
  • $32.9 million increase for the Federal/Provincial Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to support continuing infrastructure projects.

Prairie Green Landfill

  • Budget 2024 also includes $20 million to search the Prairie Green Landfill for Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman) with families, Indigenous leadership and all levels of government.

What’s Next?

This budget is a key milestone for Premier Kinew’s new NDP government and sets the stage for the next four years of its mandate. It reflects central themes highlighted in the NDP’s recent election platform including health care, the cost of living, education, and public safety.

The current session of the legislature will run through to June 3 before breaking for the summer.

The next Manitoba Election is currently scheduled for October 5, 2027.

Further Reading

To read the 2024 Budget, click here.
To read the official news release, click here.
Manitoba NDP website, click here.
Manitoba PCs website, click here.