Manitoba government forges ahead with problematic P3 school plan

WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Progressive Conservative government is moving ahead with their plan to build new schools using an unaccountable, costly, and problematic model, says CUPE Manitoba.

“The Stefanson Government is making a big mistake by building nine new schools under the public-private partnership (P3) model,” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “P3 schools are less accountable to the public, cost more, and often have restrictive rules over what teachers and staff can do in the classroom.”

The Manitoba government cites Saskatchewan as being evidence of the benefits of P3 schools, but the actual evidence proves otherwise.

In Regina, teachers weren’t allowed to decorate classrooms or open windows in P3 schools, while the Leader Post reported that Saskatchewan is spending four times more per school for maintenance on their P3 schools.

In Nova Scotia the government has had to “buy back” their P3 schools because it was too expensive to keep the lease, while in New Brunswick the Auditor General found that the P3 school process was not transparent and did not prove that P3 schools were cheaper.

P3 schools have also had restrictions on what can be done in the classroom because the private partner did not want to incur costs, something Manitoba Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister James Teitsma has recognized, indicating that chemistry teachers might not be permitted to fully teach the curriculum out of fears that science experiments might “unfairly” cost the private partner more.

“P3 schools cost taxpayers more, so private companies can take a cut of profit from our public school divisions,” said McKay. “The PC’s underfunding of Manitoba schools has already led to problems, and now they want more education funding going to private, for-profit companies rather than into our classrooms.”

When first elected, the Progressive Conservative government’s first order of business was to scrap P3 Accountability Legislation in Manitoba, paving the way for unaccountable P3s in our schools.

When the PC government first tried to introduce P3 schools to Manitoba, they found that it was actually cheaper and faster to build schools the way they have always been built.

In a cynical move today, the PCs set the deadline for their Request for Qualifications as October 4, the day after the Manitoba provincial election.

“The PCs know that P3 schools are controversial and have problems across Canada, yet they are still trying to bind Manitobans into a bad deal,” said McKay. “October 3 is election day, and if Manitobans want to stop Stefanson’s unaccountable P3 agenda, then use your voice at the ballot box to vote them out.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 715,000 members.  In Manitoba, CUPE represents approximately 37,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, home care, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries, and family emergency services.

Joint CUPE Statement on searching the Brady Road and Prairie Green landfill sites

On July 13, CUPE 500, representing municipal staff at the Brady Road Resource Management Facility, including the landfill and 4R Winnipeg Depot, provided a letter of support to the organizers and families who are calling for a search for MMIWG2S at the site.

In our July 13 message we expressed that we are deeply concerned with the City and Province’s inability to provide support and closure for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI* members of the community.

CUPE believes that the Brady site should be thoroughly searched, and we are willing to work with the City and other authorities to provide support and expertise to any organization conducting a search.

We have been and are willing to work with the City on any use or redeployment of current staff at the Brady site for the duration of any search. Any search conducted at the Brady site should be conducted by professionals in the field of searching for missing persons, and searchers must be provided appropriate PPE and training, as outlined in the feasibility study.

Premier Stefanson’s remarks that safety concerns prohibit a search are false: there is no reason this cannot be done.

CUPE supports the right for demonstrators to peacefully protest at the site, and we urge the City to ensure that no CUPE member is asked to intervene in any demonstrations.

CUPE 500 is committed to work with the City to develop a plan to ensure future use of the Brady site accommodates any searches, should they be necessary. This includes greater public control and oversight over how solid waste is collected and deposited (currently garbage collection in Winnipeg is done by private companies), a grid system for deposits, better monitoring of the fleet, and the development of an action plan for the future.

CUPE believes that action is more important than words, and we expect to be at the table where we can offer our expertise at the site, as well as contribute to future plans to ensure searches can be done expediently.

We thank the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the families of MMIWG2S for receiving our correspondence and acknowledging our support at the July 17 press conference that highlighted the feasibility of the search.

As Canada’s largest union, representing over 715,000 workers across the country including more than 37,000 throughout Manitoba, CUPE stands with the AMC and families of MMIWG2S and supports calls to have the Prairie Green Landfill and the Brady site searched immediately.

Gord Delbridge, President, CUPE Local 500
Gina McKay, President, CUPE Manitoba
Mark Hancock, National President, CUPE

Brandon Clinic shuts down walk-in services

The Brandon Clinic informed CUPE Local 2096 and the Brandon community that the walk-in clinic will be closed, effective July 4, 2023.

“Walk-in services at the Brandon Clinic are yet another victim of the provincial government’s inability to attract and retain doctors and other health care workers to Manitoba” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.

The Brandon Clinic issued a memo to the community, indicating that this closure is a direct result of “severe family physician shortages”.

“Closing the walk-in clinic will put further stress on the Brandon Hospital which is already short-staffed and overwhelmed,” said Dawna Klemick, President of CUPE Local 2096 representing 44 health care workers including nurses, at the Brandon Clinic.

“We’ve already lost nurses at the Brandon Clinic in recent weeks, and now the community is really being left out in the cold, it is unacceptable, and the province has to do something to address the health care staffing crisis in Manitoba”.

Brandon Clinic is one of Westman’s largest medical clinics that includes walk-in services that serve the entire region.

For information, contact:  David Jacks, CUPE Communications at 204-801-7339

CUPE Joins Manitoba Filipino Street Festival, June 24-25

As a lead sponsor, CUPE Manitoba is pleased to join the 2023 Manitoba Filipino Street Festival June 24-25 at the Maples Multiplex Grounds, 434 Adsum Drive. We will have a tent and booth set up for all to come by.

CUPE members are invited to join CUPE Manitoba’s float in the cultural parade at 11 AM on Saturday, June 24.

See the event website for more information.


CUPE Celebrates Indigenous Day Live at the Forks, June 17

June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. On Saturday, June 17th, APTN will be hosting Indigenous Day Live at the Forks in Winnipeg, and CUPE — both CUPE National and CUPE Manitoba — is proud to be a major sponsor of the event.

CUPE Manitoba will have a booth at the Forks where we will be giving out free prints of Aaron Paquette’s beautiful Water is Life poster and promoting the CUPE’s Water is Life pledge.






Join us at The Forks and check out all the amazing entertainment and programming for this event listed on the APTN website.

Brandon Clinic Lays Off Nurses

BRANDON, TREATY 2 – Today the Brandon Clinic informed CUPE Local 2096 that seven health care workers are being laid off due to funding constraints, in what is being described as a shock to the community in Brandon.

“There is no legitimate reason that nurses at Brandon Clinic should be receiving layoff notices, especially with the critical shortage of health workers across Manitoba,” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.

These staff, which include five full-time nurses, one casual nurse, and one transcription position, provide important health services for the community, including biopsies, excisions, mental health exams, dressings, pediatric support and so much more.

“We have no shortage of work at the Brandon Clinic, and the news of layoffs comes as a huge shock,” said Dawna Klemick, President of CUPE Local 2096 representing forty-four health care workers including nurses, at the Brandon Clinic.  “This is certainly going to impact the community since other health services are already overwhelmed – where are people going to go?”

Brandon Clinic is one of Westman’s largest medical clinics that includes walk-in services that serve the entire region.

“Brandon is an important hub for Manitoba health care.  Cuts and closures in the Westman area have a significant impact on patients and health care facilities across the province,” said Thomas Linner, Provincial Director of the Manitoba Health Coalition (MHC).  “Unfortunately, the Manitoba government has focused on providing tax cuts of over $1 billion – mostly to the wealthiest individuals and corporations doing business in Manitoba – instead of investing in health care in communities like Brandon.”

CUPE Manitoba and MHC are calling on the provincial government to work with the Brandon Clinic and ensure that these layoff notices are withdrawn so that the staff can get back to work for the community they care for.

Home Care is in Crisis, the Time to Fix it is Now

CUPE Manitoba has launched an email petition calling on the Stefanson Conservatives to address the crisis in Home Care.

This Home Care petition follows the ongoing Health Care and Anti-Privatization petitions on our We Work for Manitoba website that have seen more than 10,000 emails sent to the Premier, to government Ministers, and to local MLA’s.

Please sign the petition to Fix the Crisis in Home Care and share it on social media. We invite all CUPE Local leaders in Manitoba to promote the petition with your membership.

CUPE Manitoba radio ads celebrate Week of the Early Childhood Educator

The week of April 23 to 29 is the Week of the Early Childhood Educator.

We take time to recognize and thank all the Early Childhood Educators in Manitoba who work tirelessly to support our community’s children.

To raise awareness in the community about this important week, CUPE Manitoba is running radio ads across the province– from Flin Flon to Winkler, to support child care workers, and thank them for their commitment to the health, happiness, and education of our children. Thank you!

You can hear the radio ad here.

Stefanson setting new Manitoba schools up for failure: CUPE Manitoba

WINNIPEG, TREATY 1 – Today Minister of Education, Wayne Ewasko, and Minister of Consumer Protection and Government Services, James Teitsma, announced that they will be building new schools under the Public-Private Partnership (P3) model.

“This government tried P3 schools before but cancelled them because they realised building schools the traditional way would cost less and get done faster,” said
Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “Bringing P3 schools back from the dead shows that the Stefanson government is ideologically committed to a bad idea.” 

Evidence across Canada shows that P3s are less accountable and will cost more.

In today’s release, Ministers Ewasko and Teitsma cited Alberta and Saskatchewan as being successful cases, but the Alberta government recently scrapped their plans to build more P3 schools citing cost and inflexibility for teachers. In one case, due to the private contract, staff were not permitted to operate the thermostat. This was the second time Alberta conservative governments have abandoned their controversial P3 school model.

In Regina, teachers weren’t allowed to decorate classrooms or open windows in P3 schools. In 2018 it was found that Saskatchewan was spending four times more per school on maintenance for 18 new P3 schools as it had for the remaining 621 schools in the province.

“Stefanson is setting these schools up for failure,” said McKay. “Manitobans won’t forget this governments attacks on schools and education workers, and we won’t accept P3 schools in our province.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents more than 6,000 school support staff in Manitoba.

Workers Compensation Board staff issue strike deadline

Staff at the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) have provided the WCB with five working days’ notice that unless the WCB offers a fair deal, they will officially be on strike.

“Staff at the WCB have been without a new contract for over two years,” said Bob Sawchyn, President of CUPE Local 1063 representing approximately 450 staff at the WCB. “It is unacceptable that our employer continues to drag its feet and refuses to offer a fair deal that works for workers–we have reached an impasse at the table and are now in a strike position.”

Strike action will begin on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, unless the employer returns to the table with a deal that is acceptable to workers.

The Workers Compensation Board is an arms-length independent agency of the provincial government and has achieved year-end surpluses in recent years that have resulted in over $277 million in refunds back to employers. Yet the staff, who were subjected to the Pallister/Stefanson wage freeze in the last round of negotiations cannot accept another deal that leaves them behind.

“The hardworking staff at the WCB have helped achieve surpluses year after year, and continue to focus diligently to help Manitoba workers,” emphasized Sawchyn. “Never in our over fifty-year history with the WCB has CUPE ever had to commence strike action, but we are ready because all workers deserve better.”

CUPE 1063 provided a five-day strike notice on Monday, March 13. Strike action will include WCB staff in Winnipeg, Brandon, and Thompson.

In Manitoba, CUPE represents approximately 37,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, home care, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries, and family emergency services.