WINNIPEG, Treaty 1 - Yesterday, March 1, 2022, we learned from Premier Heather Stefanson that Budget 2022 will be delivered in April. The Manitoba Health Coalition is urging the provincial government to learn from the mistakes of the Pallister era and ensure that this budget includes much needed investments in public solutions. Manitoba families need decisive action to reverse the agenda of cuts, privatization and reckless reorganization that have hampered the delivery of health care during the past two years of COVID-19.

Doctors, nurses and front-line health care workers have been clear that the decision to cut the number of emergency rooms and available ICU beds in Winnipeg prior to the pandemic has led to disastrous results,” said Thomas Linner, Provincial Director of the Manitoba Health Coalition. “The pandemic has shown us all how important public, universal health care is for families in Manitoba and across Canada.”

The Manitoba Health Coalition is calling for a number of measures to be included in Budget 2022 to support Manitoba families and struggling health care workers, including:

  • Committing to an independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of COVID-19
  • Investing in the public system to tackle the backlog of surgical and diagnostic procedures, rather than sending money to private and out-of-province operators
  • Increasing funding for mental health and addictions to 9.2% of the health budget as recommended by the 2018 Virgo report
  • Establishing a comprehensive health care human resources strategy to address ongoing staffing shortages in hospital and personal care homes
  • Removing for-profit operators from our long term care system - both residential and home-based
  • Creating the office of a Seniors Advocate in Manitoba to ensure older adults have the necessary resources and support to age with dignity and respect, as is done in British Columbia
  • Funding the establishment and staffing of a supervised injection site in Winnipeg and other centres as appropriate to address the deadly toll of overdose deaths on our streets

“Over the past five years the PC government has chosen to attack public health care and health care workers,” said Linner. “Budget 2022 is an opportunity to invest in real solutions that strengthen public health care for Manitoba families and support the front lines.”