The province is issuing payments to 78,442 Manitobans as part of the $120-million Risk Recognition Program to acknowledge front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to thank front-line workers and acknowledge the sacrifices they made during the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased risks they faced on the job to provide crucial services,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “We also appreciate Manitobans’ patience as we reviewed every application we received in order to determine final payment amounts.”
The province will divide $120 million equally among all eligible recipients for a payment of $1,530. As the payments are considered taxable income under federal tax rules, the province has remitted a 10 per cent withholding tax to the Canada Revenue Agency to help recipients when they file their 2020 income tax return. Eligible recipients will be notified via email of a $1,377 direct deposit in their bank account this week.
Eligible positions included health care, social services, justice, security, transportation, food and beverage, hotels and essential retail. Payment recipients include 37,060 public-facing essential roles in retail services and lodging, 27,085 in health care, 9,325 in social services and 3,440 in transportation. The province based eligibility criteria on recommendations it received during extensive consultations with business and union representatives.
“Many working Manitobans were exposed to on-the-job risks they’d never experienced prior to the pandemic and we can’t thank them enough for the roles they played in supporting all Manitobans through this difficult time,” said Pallister.
The Manitoba Risk Recognition Program was offered to workers employed on a part-time or full-time basis from March 2, the start of the provincial state of emergency, until May 29. Applicants must have either worked a minimum 200 cumulative hours, or would have worked that amount but were required to self-isolate under public health orders. An employee’s total pre-tax employment income during the eligibility period must be less than $12,500, excluding overtime wages, and they could not be enrolled in the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
The Manitoba government has partnered with the federal government on this cost-sharing program, created with the intention of recognizing low- and middle-income workers. The federal government is providing $90 million, while Manitoba is contributing $30 million.
Full program details are available online at manitoba.ca.