Manitoba to receive federal funding for long-term care support

An agreement between the federal and provincial government will see roughly $37 million flowing towards improvements in Manitoba’s long-term care system after gaps were identified during the pandemic. Morgan Modjeski reports.

By Morgan Modjeski

It’s an agreement that will see millions flow from the federal government to the frontline of long-term care in the province after officials say the pandemic identified major gaps in the system.

Manitoba’s Health Minister Audrey Gordan was joined by federal health minister Jean-Yves Duclos to announce $37 million from the federal government would be invested in improving long-term care.

“This agreement has not come at a better time,” said Minister Duclos.

“Over the last two years, the pandemic has highlighted long-standing issues in our long-term care system including gaps in our infection control, including against COVID-19, but against other infectious diseases as well.”

Minister Audrey Gordon says the additional funding from Feds is welcome, but wants to see the Prime Minister address the health care system directly.

“We know that through the pandemic, those living in long-term care faced significant challenges, the funding announced today by Minister Duclos is a welcome addition to the efforts already in place from the Manitoba Government,” explained Gordon.

“What would be welcomed is for the Prime Minister of Canada to sit down with the Premiers and to negotiate a fair share of the Canada Health transfers, it’s currently hovering at around 22 per cent and as you know, all the premiers across Canada are calling for that to increase.”

Earlier this week, the province detailed how it plans to send residents out of the province to speed up access to hip and knee surgeries. Gordon says if federal government funding increased it’d go a long way.

Manitoba is asking to increase its Canadian federal health transfers to 35 per cent. The increase would see an additional $192 million in funds.

The Federal Minister defended current healthcare spending, saying billions have been invested and funding levels have already reached what the provinces are asking for. He says their focus is on addressing the shortage of healthcare workers by training, recruiting and retaining more nurses, and making it easier for international professionals to practise in Canada.

“Lip service. Honestly, I believe this is all lip service. Until we can see these funding dollars being actually done, and in place, it is lip service,” explained Debbie Boissonneault with CUPE 204, the union representing 14,000 healthcare workers took issue with the announcement, and its lack of detail.

She says the thousands of support staff who work in these homes are being forgotten and they need to be better supported as well.

“This federal government and this provincial government need to make healthcare a priority.”

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