Trail Talking

Economic Challenges Presented by COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Bob Lagassé, Author
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly, Dawson Trail

Right now, our PC government is focused on helping Manitobans rebound from the economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manitoba’s front-line workers have showed us what true dedication looks like as they’ve risked their own health and well-being to protect ours. That’s why, our PC government established the Risk Recognition Program.

The Risk Recognition Program was established to provide financial compensation for front-line workers who have taken extraordinary risks to keep Manitobans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, our government expanded the program to $120-million, 15 unions, critical service providers and business community organizations that represent more than 17,000 businesses and 110,000 workers.

We’re also launching a new hiring program to get more Manitobans back to work this summer and ease the road to economic recovery for businesses. Through the new ‘Manitoba Back to Work This Summer’ initiative, employers can apply to receive funding for up to five employees hired or rehired after June 18. The program will reimburse 50 per cent of the total wages paid from June 18 until Aug. 30, to a maximum of $5,000 per worker and $25,000 per business.

Our government has made a total of $120 million available for this initiative and the Manitoba Summer Student Jobs Recovery Program, which assists private and non-profit employers hire students to help meet organizational needs during the pandemic.

I was also happy to learn that our government is investing in local heritage preservation right here in the Dawson Trail riding.

Through our Heritage Resource Conservation Grants program, the St. Anne Roman Catholic Church will be receiving a total of $29,750 for restoration of their front entry doors and windows, and for design drawings. Our government understands the value of preserving our local history so future generations can continue to appreciate our heritage and culture.

Lastly, thanks to the impressive efforts of Manitobans, we have successfully kept our COVID-19 curve flat and continue to have among the lowest test positivity rates in Canada. As a result, our government launched Phase Three of reopening businesses and services. Measures include:

  • increasing gathering sizes to up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors;
  • easing border restrictions to allow residents of western Canada and northwest Ontario to enter Manitoba without the need to self-isolate for 14 days;
  • increasing indoor occupancy levels for community/service centres and senior centres/clubs;
  • increasing indoor and patio occupancy limits to 75 per cent of total capacity for restaurants, bars, beverage rooms, brew pubs, microbreweries, and distilleries

More information on the plan for Phase Three can be found at

There is a lot to take into consideration as we safely reopen our businesses and communities. We do not want a COVID-comeback, so I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and continue taking the necessary precautions to ensure your health and safety.