President McKay Presents at Provincial Pre-Budget Consultation


On Tuesday, February 20, CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay presented to Minister of Finance Adrien Sala and community stakeholders at the Southdale Community Centre in Winnipeg, as part of the provincial government’s pre-budget community consultation process.

Text of Presentation Follows:

Thank you for creating space for Manitobans to speak to the upcoming provincial budget and our priorities.

CUPE Manitoba represents over 37,000 Manitoba workers in the public sector, as well as in non-profit organizations and the private sector, including private long term care facilities.

CUPE Manitoba shares the new Manitoba government’s vision that strong public services should be the priority moving forward following the past 7 years of conservative cuts to health care, education, social services, and more.

Health care
We welcome Minster Asagwara’s commitments to health care, and as the union that represents over 18,000 health care support workers in Manitoba, we hope that we will be included as a key stakeholder in any decisions related to health.

We would like to see the following in health care as a result of this budget:

  1. That the government commit to legislating staffing levels to a minimum 4.1 hours of care per day, per resident, in long term care homes. Long-term care experienced unacceptable staffing shortages before the pandemic, and we saw the result when crisis hit – most tragically at Maples Personal Care Home, where our members work. Long term care facilities must have fully staffed floors at all time, and the best way to do that is with legislated minimum staffing levels.
  2. Provide the fiscal capacity for the health care system to address challenges to recruitment and retention, including wages, and funding improvements to health care workers extended health benefits, which are currently significantly behind those offered by other provinces.
  3. Raise the mileage rates paid to homecare workers to be in line with Canada Revenue Agency reasonable mileage rates.

Social services

We also need to ensure that the many community social service organizations that serve Manitoba’s most vulnerable receive the funding they need to operate and support their staff.

When you support wages for social services workers you are addressing the main contributor to a growing retention crisis.\

We would like to see a commitment from this government to a wage equity process, to ensure that social service workers are paid a fair wage.

Education and childcare

We welcome Minister Altomare’s plan to ensure schools receive the funding they need, as well as the ability to levy resources at the Division level. We hope to continue to see increased funding for both K-12 as well as post-secondary in the province.

This also applies to childcare workers. While we support affordable, accessible childcare, we need to ensure there are actually enough public childcare spaces available for families, that they are adequately staffed – and that those staff are recognized for their importance.

We would like to see the following from government in the upcoming budget:

  1. That government set aside funding to specifically address the significant support staff wage inequity in school divisions across the province. *
  2. That government mandate school divisions to provide before and after school programs for students under the age of 12. We have a childcare crisis in this province, and we need school divisions to be part of the solution. They have the physical and human resources to meet this need and should be funded to do so.


We applaud Minister Adrian Sala’s commitment to public hydro. We reassert that no part of Manitoba Hydro should ever be privatized, and the hard-working staff at Manitoba Hydro are critical to the utility’s future. We were happy to hear Minister Sala assert that new generation would be publicly owned.


As a new government, you have a real chance to address inequities in pay across sectors in Manitoba. Nearly 70% of all CUPE members are women.

The reality is, when you raise the wages and benefits of CUPE members in health care, education, social services and more, you are raising the wages and benefits of women and other equity seeking groups.

Supporting public sector workers means you are supporting Manitoba families, helping to ensure that no worker lives a life in poverty, and building strong supports for those who need the extra help.

We know that your government is changing course from the previous government’s agenda of cuts to public services and the workers who provide them, and we have a shared interest in building strong public services for all Manitobans.

The past government did not only cut public services, but they also cut the fiscal capacity of our province through reckless and unsustainable tax cuts. **

To ensure that your government has the capacity to make critical investments in public services, we suggest the following:

  1. Look to make the existing tax system more progressive by having those with the greatest ability to pay take up more responsibility for funding public services.
  2. The commitment to return to balance within the first term was made a time when the previous government was keeping hidden the true extent of the deficit. Manitobans will understand, and support, a delay in returning to balance.

There are huge challenges ahead to fix the damage done in the past, but know that CUPE Manitoba and our members are here, and ready to help fix our broken public services.

On behalf of our 37,000 members across Manitoba, we look forward to working with you throughout 2024.

Thank you.


Gina Mckay

President CUPE MB



*A recent report by CCPA-Manitoba found that support staff wages in rural Manitoba are on average about $5/hour below those in Winnipeg school divisions. This inequity is unsustainable school division workers – many of whom earn less than $30,000/year – and continues to result in labour disruptions in rural school divisions.

** According to the economists at CCPA-Manitoba, the cumulative tax cuts of the previous government is resulting in annual loss of $1.6 billion in revenue. If that number sounds familiar, it also happens to be the size of the deficit left by the last conservative government for your new government