Proposed legislation a sentence of poverty for low income workers

By Josh Brandon and Molly McCracken

Working should be a route out of poverty, but for some, low wages are a poverty trap. The current minimum wage is inadequate as at $11/ hour, it places workers as far as $8,000 below the poverty line. Minimum wage should be increased through pre-announced steps to $15.53/ hour and then indexed at that point. The current plan by the Manitoba government would tie minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation or less, freezing or lowering the buying power of the most vulnerable workers in Manitoba.

 

 
Under Bill 33, future minimum wage increases would be set at the rate of the consumer price index (CPI), or in the case of negative economic conditions such as a recession, no increase will be made. This legislation would give workers only a $0.15 increase in minimum wage in 2017. Read More

Minimum wage bill entrenches poverty wage – presentations to committee

Bill 33 Minimum Wage Indexation Act was heard by the Standing Committee on Social and Economic Development on May 23rd, 2017. CCPA Manitoba made two presentations to committee:

Comparing a living wage with minimum wage – Lynne Fernandez  Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues

Adequate minimum wage is in public interest – Molly McCracken – Director CCPA-MB

 

P3’s must give ‘value for money’

By Lynne Fernandez

First published in the Winnipeg Free Press May 6, 2017

On May 2, 2017 the Province’s news release announced it would be putting out a request for proposals (RFP) for Public Private Partnerships (P3s) to build four new schools in Manitoba. The Premier claims that the P3 model has worked out well across Canada. Read More

Angela Y. Davis – a primer

By Bronwyn-Dobchuck Land

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, Dr. Angela Y. Davis will deliver a talk in Winnipeg at Knox United Church titled Race, Resistance, and Revolution: Freedom is a Constant Struggle. She will be hosted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Manitoba office, in partnership with Black Space Winnipeg and Queer People of Colour (QPOC) Winnipeg. While it is impossible to do justice to Dr. Davis’ contributions to politics, philosophy, and social movement organizing in a short summary, this CCPA Review highlights a few moments in her life and writing as examples of the span and scope of her work.
Dr. Davis has always been both a scholar and an activist, and a model for what it looks like to tie those two forms of work together. Her experiences – as a Black woman who grew up in the south, as a member of the Communist party, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), as a graduate student of Philosophy, and as a political prisoner, to name a few – have shaped her theorizing, which has always been oriented toward explaining the world in order to change it. Read More

Budget 2017

by Lynne Fernandez

The government was well aware that many were dreading Budget 2017. Non-profit organizations, healthcare workers, educators and public sector workers in general were bracing for Filmon flashbacks. Did the Conservative team take those fears into consideration when putting together the budget? Read More

Budget 2017: death by 1,000 cuts

By Molly McCracken

Social policy lowlights

Despite pundits’ claims that “its not as bad as it could be” there are a myriad of program cuts and tax cuts in this budget. As the weeks go by more impacts will invariably be felt in our community. Yet poverty and social inequality continue to grow and the climate crisis looms. Every year without investment in these critical areas is huge loss to all Manitobans.
This provincial government’s myopic focus on the debt and deficit fueled perceptions that this would be an austerity budget. Austerity is cutting services and public spending while also cutting taxes. While this is not austerity as seen in the European Union, the province reduced spending, services and taxes. The government could have moved faster to pay down the deficit by not reducing its revenues $34 million by indexing the basic personal exemption to inflation and indexing the tax brackets. This reveals the incongruity of this government’s policies. Read More

Budget 2017: Health care changes concerning

Changes to Manitoba’s Health Care system are coming fast and furious. This will invariably impact key services we all rely on and limit access to needed services.
On April 7th, the Friday prior to the budget, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority announced the closure of three Emergency Rooms (ER)s: Concordia, Victoria and Seven Oaks and the closure of the Misericordia Urgent Access Centre. Seven Oaks and Victoria’s ERs are slated to become Urgent Care Centres. The province directed the WRHA to reduce its budget by $83 million and this move will save $30 million. The closure of the three ER was recommended in the Provincial Clinical and Preventative Services Planning for Manitoba “Peachy Report” due to lower volume of emergency room visits in the ERs proposed to be closed. Read More

Climate Loses in Budget 2017

By Nathan Laser

Disappointingly, specifics were lacking from the provincial budget on fight against climate change. In what was arguably the first real budget to be presented by Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government, they had precious little to say about how they intend to protect the environment and move our province away from the use of fossil fuels. Read More

Budget 2017: No strategy no change to poverty

By Josh Brandon

Low income Manitobans were hoping that this year’s budget would offer a plan to help lift them out of poverty. A well-funded strategy with targets and timelines for its implementation and for reducing poverty would give Manitobans confidence that their government is making poverty reduction a top priority. However, despite promising last year that a comprehensive poverty reduction plan would be introduced in Budget 2017, the government has pushed the updated strategy back to the end of the year. Read More

Budget 2017: A step back on social housing

By Kirsten Bernas

Budget 2017 provides $150M less for the development and maintenance of social and affordable housing compared to last year’s budget. Groups like the Right to Housing Coalition are concerned that this will increase homelessness and perpetuate the poverty experienced by the thousands of Manitobans who cannot get ahead and enjoy a decent quality of life because they cannot access safe and affordable housing. Read More