Manitoba adds funds to provincial wheelchair program

In an effort to make wheelchairs more accessible for everyone, the province is handing out $288,000 to the Manitoba wheelchair program, to hire more wheelchair technicians and purchase essential parts.

Manitoba Possible offers mobility supports including long-term loans of manual and motorized wheelchairs for more than 14,000 Manitobans, while also providing repairs, maintenance, and modification services to support users’ unique mobility needs, which Minister of Families Nahanni Fontaine says recently has been falling short.

“Rising costs without increased supports for Manitoba Possible has resulted in a service that does not meet the needs of Manitobans,” said Fontaine.

“With no increase in government funding under previous government, the Manitoba Wheel Chair Program has faced challenges providing timely services to repair and maintain wheelchairs that our communities and Manitobans count on.”

That’s exactly why this funding was brought forward, as the $288,000 will help Manitoba Possible grow its repair team with an additional in-house repair technician and a field technician, who can travel to service wheelchairs in clients’ homes, workplaces, or schools, which CEO of Manitoba Possible Lindsey Cooke says will go a long way.

“I want to express my profound gratitude for the support it not only honours the fundamental right to independence of Manitobans but reaffirms our collective dedication to fostering an inclusive and accessible society for all,” explained Cooke.

Cooke says this funding will have the biggest impact on wait times, as currently it takes roughly four to six weeks to get repairs, but says with the new technicians they are hoping to get back to previous wait times of one to two weeks.

“Knowing there is a place you can go to is a game changer the help is huge and being able to have some mobility back is life-changing because like I said before the ability to have mobility is huge,” said Janelle-Marie Emond, a client with Manitoba Possible.

While the $288,000 is in year funding, Deputy Premier of Manitoba Uzoma Asagwara says in partnership with Manitoba Possible, they are committed to look at ways to provide additional funding going forward.

“We are always open to hearing about other opportunities and our government is committed to doing the work and making Manitoba the most inclusive and accessible province it can be,” said Asagwara.

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