Trail Talking

Budget 2022: Recover Together

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

Our provincial government recently announced Budget 2022: Recover Together, which focuses on moving Manitobans onto a solid path towards recovery by strengthening, investing, and building a better future. After a difficult two years, Budget 2022 will implement our plan to recover together and take action on the issues Manitobans care about. Budget 2022 will make investments in five priority areas including strengthening health care, making life more affordable for Manitobans, building the economy, investing in our communities, and protecting our environment. Investments in these priority areas will ensure a strong social and economic recovery in Manitoba.

Our plans to strengthen our health care system include making an investment of $110 million to reduce the diagnostic and surgical backlogs; providing $17 million to implement year one of the five-year A Pathway to Mental Health and Community Wellness: A Roadmap for Manitoba; allocating almost $20 million to develop a new seniors strategy and $32 million for initiatives outlined in the Stevenson Review; investing over $11 million to increase nursing enrolment in Manitoba’s post-secondary institutions; providing $812 million in continued capital commitment for rural and northern health care under the five-year Manitoba’s Clinical and Preventative Services Plan; and providing $630 million for contingencies and COVID-19 response and recovery.

To help make life more affordable for Manitobans, we plan to increase the education property tax rebate to 50 percent by 2023; introduce the Residential Renters Tax Credit; expand eligibility for the Child Care Subsidy Program; increase shelter benefits for low-income Manitobans by investing $9 million for Employment and Income Assistance Rent Assist indexation, and $8.9 million for non-Employment and Income Assistance Rent Assist indexation. We also plan to provide $12 million in new income support programs for people with severe and prolonged disabilities, as well as reduce vehicle registration fees.

We will build the economy by launching a new Venture Capital Fund with an initial $50 million investment; make the Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit permanent and expand it to support venture capital funds; provide $5 million to strengthen immigration programming to help attract newcomers to Manitoba; invest more than $2 million to support new property development in Manitoba; focus on tax competitiveness for Manitoba businesses and investors; reduce the payroll tax for 970 businesses; and provide more than $18 million for improving the wages of front-line workers in the community living disability, children’s disability and family violence prevention sectors.

Our investments in our communities will include investing $326 million over two years to make child care more affordable and accessible for Manitoba parents; creating 716 spaces in new child-care centres and supporting 50 new home-based spaces this year; investing in schools with a goal to build 22 new schools by 2027; supporting the arts, culture and sports organizations with $100 million over three years; investing an additional $10.3 million to enhance the Building Sustainable Communities Program; investing $578.5 million in capital projects for highways including projects funded under the Manitoba Restart Capital Program; working with Indigenous leaders, elders, knowledge keepers, families and community members to advance shared goals and economic opportunities; and committing $5 million for advancing progress on reconciliation activities.

To make sure our environment is protected, we plan to develop the Energy Policy Framework and a new water management strategy; invest over $6 million for 12 initiatives to advance the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, including $1.5 million for expanding the Conservation and Climate Fund; provide $50 million over the next two years for accelerating the remediation and rehabilitation of orphaned and abandoned mine sites; allocate over $10 million for forestry programs and over $14 million for provincial parks; develop a new multi-year parks capital strategy to modernize and enhance campgrounds, roads, trails and other key infrastructure; provide over $100 million for the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels Project for enhancing flood protection; work with the Government of Canada to meet international climate change targets; and continue partnerships to upgrade the City of Winnipeg’s North End Water Pollution Control Centre.