WINNIPEG – The 2020 Manitoba budget does little to ensure the public health funding that will be
needed to properly contain the coronavirus now, and in the future – says CUPE Manitoba, the
province’s largest union.
“Public Health should be getting a huge cash infusion to staff up for public health task forces,
immunization clinics, and ensuring enforcement of quarantine: instead this government is cutting
public health during a time of its most dire need,” says Abe Araya, President of CUPE Manitoba.
“This government is more focused on cutting taxes for ideological reasons rather than fully
supporting the health and well-being of Manitoba families.”
CUPE is concerned that the reduction of the PST to 6%, and the reduction in the payroll tax will
further strangle the province’s ability to adequately fund our public services.
“We need to be investing heavily in our education and health care systems, especially now,”
added Araya. “The only people in Manitoba who think cutting public health spending at a time
like this are members of the Premier’s Cabinet.”
Highlights of the budget include:
• Cuts to public health programs
• Cuts to post-secondary grants Frozen grants to school divisions
• Well-below inflation increases in funding to health care
• $318 million increase in Federal Transfers
• $300 million set aside in a rainy-day fund
“This government continues to cut taxes and set aside money in a rainy-day fund, while cutting
health care, education, and other public services, and freezing the wages of workers on the frontline
of the COVID-19 crisis. Our message to Premier Pallister is this: “It’s raining!” says Araya.
CUPE also wants to ensure that this government properly staffs personal care homes, hospitals
and primary care sites, especially as additional demand is placed on our health care system.
Critical health care support staff, such as those who work in laundry and housekeeping, should
be commended for their role in maintaining sanitary conditions for health care to occur in, helping
to slow the transmission of the virus.