Housing advocates look to provincial budget for action

By Kirsten Bernas

Manitobans should have access to housing but, at any given time, there are about 1,400 people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg alone.  Many others live under threat of homelessness, paying the rent with money needed for food and other basic needs. Read More

Refugee Claimants Require Temporary and Permanent Supports

Abdikheir Ahmed, Hani Al-Ubeady and Ray Silvius

We in Manitoba find ourselves in need of a serious discussion about how to coordinate services, including lodging, for the refugee claimants who are continuing to cross the Canada-US border at Emerson, Manitoba.  This involves puzzling out the place of supports and services in the broader refugee system as well as locating refugee claimants within this system. Read More

Uber No Solution for Winnipeg: Analysis of taxi and transport

By Paul Moist

Conservative forces in the provincial legislature and at Winnipeg City Hall are combining to enable ride-sharing services such as Uber and allow its introduction into the Winnipeg market.
Acting on recommendations of the December 2016 report prepared by accounting firm Myers, Norris, Penny (MNP) on Winnipeg taxicab services, the Province announced legislation to devolve responsibility for oversight of the taxicab industry to municipal government. Read More

Being involved in uninvolved contexts: Refugee parent involvement in children’s education

By Fadi Ennab

The involvement of refugee parents in their children’s education is crucial for academic success and community development. Yet schools often struggle in promoting the involvement of newcomer parents, especially in contexts where there are language, cultural and socioeconomic challenges separating the school system and its staff from the communities and families they serve. While refugee parents are not a homogenous group, they face unique, multiple, and intersecting challenges that can negatively impact their involvement in their children’s education to the point of potentially being uninvolved. Read More

ID requirements will limit turnout

By Lisa Forbes, Molly McCracken and Ellen Smirl

First published in the Winnipeg Free Press March 28, 2017

On March 20th Minister of Justice Heather Stefanson introduced an amendment to the Elections Act that would establish a permanent voter registry for future provincial elections, changes to individual contributions and spending for third-party communications. The amendment allows for the requirement of a voters list based on the 2016 election. The provincial government chose also to amend eligible voter identification (ID) that would require citizens to present a type of ID that is not easily accessible for some Manitobans and potentially skew the slate of candidates to favour those who can inject the most money into their campaign. Read More

How can Winnipeg reduce poverty?

Dear supporting organizations for Make Poverty History Manitoba,

We are holding consultations for developing a City of Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Plan, with consultations starting today at the Millennium Library at 6 pm. Other dates are March 23, April 4 and April 6. Further details below.

No one level of government can solve poverty on its own, so we need the City of Winnipeg to make poverty reduction a priority in the areas it has under its jurisdiction.

If you can spread the word to your contacts and invite your members to attend, that would help us mobilize the support we need to make poverty reduction a priority at the City of Winnipeg. If you are unable to attend, I have attached have a quick survey you can fill out to add your voice.

Josh Brandon, Chair, Make Poverty History Manitoba

The Unbearable Resilience of P3s

By Lynne Fernandez
On March 6, 2017, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that the Manitoba government was examining Saskatchewan’s experience with using Public Private Partnerships (P3s) to build new public schools. The Saskatchewan government claims that it will save $100m dollars by using P3s, although it was not explained how it arrived at that conclusion.

Read More

Funding non-profit organizations gives good value for money

By Shauna MacKinnon,

Several small non-profit organizations (NPOs) are nervously awaiting Manitoba’s 2017 budget. Funding sources they’ve come to rely on have been ‘on pause’ for months and its beginning to affect the services they provide. Many organizations have been unable to confirm that multi-year agreements signed through the government’s Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Strategy will remain in place—they are told they must wait until the budget is released. Government officials have also warned agreement holders that agreements can be terminated and therefore they should not spend beyond the current fiscal year. This means that front line services will be disrupted because some organizations will be forced to layoff program staff prior to the April budget. Read More

Fudging numbers presents distorted picture

By Lynne Fernandez

In Aiming for ‘average’ could help Manitoba, Peter Holle resorts to sleight of hand to convince us that Manitoba’s public sector is responsible for the province’s budgetary shortfalls. He states that the size of province’s public sector, including municipal employees, went up 2,500 over the last two years and 15,000 over the last 5 years. He then follows these assertions with a discussion of Manitoba’s budgetary challenges, even though the province is not responsible for municipal employees.

If we are to have an honest conversation about the provincial budget and provincial workers, we need to consider two groups of workers: Manitoba civil servants and the other public sector workers whose employers are funded by the province (teachers, professors, healthcare workers, etc.). Manitoba civil servants work directly for the province. According to the Manitoba Bureau of Statistics, in 2015 the civil service numbered 14,687 and made up 2.3% of the total Manitoba workforce. The Bureau also reports that the Manitoba Civil Service is 1.4% smaller than it was 6 years ago and 4% smaller than this time in 2012. Read More

Laying few charges will help reduce overcrowding

[This article was first published in the Winnipeg Free Press, March 8, 2017]

By John Hutton

Manitoba has a higher proportion of adults in custody than any other province.

We lock up people more frequently than Saskatchewan by 17 per cent and three-and-a-half times more frequently than B.C., according to a Statistics Canada report from last week. Read More