The Manitoba government is investing an additional $300 million to ensure the government can respond quickly to front-line health-care needs and protect vulnerable Manitobans.
“Our government has already fast-tracked $100 million in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 through our Manitoba Protection Plan,” said Central Services Minister Reg Helwer. “Today, we’re quadrupling our commitment to $400 million for the COVID-19 Procurement Fund to ensure our plan is effective and that we can continue to be proactive in the steps we take to protect Manitobans during this pandemic.”
This investment will support outbreak planning, prevention and mitigation efforts, and allow the province to secure the supplies and resources needed to deliver the best care possible for Manitoba patients.
Funds are being used for purposes such as:
- purchasing significant amounts of essential medical supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment;
- developing hotel capacity for those requiring isolation;
- preparing for large-scale low acuity medical overflow for hospitals;
- supporting the local, made-in-Manitoba production of gowns, scrubs, gloves and other medical equipment including an RFP to award $15 million of production to Manitoba-designed reusable silicone N95 masks;
- providing training and grants to child-care experts to become entrepreneurs by opening their own small-scale daycares;
- establishing a COVID-19 research fund through Research Manitoba;
- providing a new digital online service for mental health support;
- creating helpnextdoormb.ca to link Manitobans needing help with volunteers;
- engaging local call centre, 24-7 Intouch, to contact Manitobans to drive awareness of government support programs to small businesses, charities and not-for-profits; and
- opening multiple provincewide testing sites to bolster the response to this health crisis.
“This new investment continues to address the needs of our front-line health-care workers and patients,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen. “Our government is taking every step possible to protect Manitoba families and ensure people are able to get the care they need during this critical time.”
The Manitoba government has also undertaken a number of investments to provide immediate relief to Manitobans facing financial challenges by deferring provincial fees and charges, funding support for child-care services for critical service providers and expanding shelter capacity to support people affected by homelessness, noted Helwer.
The province is asking manufacturers or businesses to visit the COVID-19 portal at gov.mb.ca if:
- they can rapidly scale up production or re-tool manufacturing lines to develop products made in Manitoba to help in the fight against COVID-19; or
- they have a stock of personal protective equipment that is not being used due to closures and physical distancing.
In addition, Manitoba businesses can donate unused personal protective equipment supplies in original packaging, clean and in useable condition. More information can be found at sharedhealthmb.ca.