Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Premier Greg Selinger Welscome the Retun of NHL to Winnipeg

It was a homecoming most Winnippegger revelled in. While some were wondering about the name - should be in the Jets, the Flood or something else, everyone was in a good mood today because National Hockey is back in the beg.
NHL ….welcome home! It’s great to have you back where you belong, said Premier Selinger and we all say, welcome hockey team to Winnipeg, let the fun begin.

We Score! The NHL returns to Manitoba. Premier Greg Selinger spoke at the news conference announcing the return

Equality Day honours non-traditional work

Equality Day:  LEAF Celebrates Women in Non-Traditional Work
May 31, 2011, Toronto - The Women's Legal Education and Action Fund, LEAF, will celebrate Equality Day tomorrow with an event honouring eight women who have blazed a trail in non-traditional work.
The event, held on the 26th anniversary of Section 15 (the Equality Clause) in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, will take place at the Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West, in downtown Toronto, from 6 to 8 pm, Wednesday June 1.
Women who enter workplaces that tradition says are "not for them" create substantive equality for women by demonstrating that they can choose from the broad range of occupations available to all persons in Canada.  The women to be honoured include a certified welder and steamfitter, mechanic millwright, water plant technician, machinist, chief custodian, electrician, splicer and an aircraft maintenance engineer. 
As Sheryl Hoshizaki, Executive Director of LEAF, says, "These women have shown that economic equality means not only equal pay but also gaining access to higher paid jobs. We salute them."
LEAF has been a leader in equality rights for 25 years, intervening in over 150 cases.  The decisions in those cases and the legislation that followed has made strides towards equality in reproductive freedoms, pay equity, employment, housing, immigration, family law, sexual violence, sexual orientation and disability accommodation for women and marginalized groups.

For further information, please contact Sheryl Hoshizaki, LEAF Executive Director, at 416-595-7170 ext 225, or at

Equality Day honours non-traditional work

Thursday, May 26, 2011


May 26, 2011
Legislation introduced today would establish a legislative framework to increase awareness and recognition of Manitoba’s informal or family caregivers, and acknowledge their valuable contribution to society, Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors Minister Jim Rondeau has announced.
“With our aging population and increased longevity, a growing number of family members are providing voluntary care for their loved ones so they may remain in their community as long as possible,” said Rondeau.  “These caregivers provide a valuable service to their families and to their communities, and in many cases, it comes at a physical, emotional and sometimes financial cost to individuals and families.  Our legislation recognizes both the value of their contribution and the need to work with caregivers to provide a network of supports.”
Key provisions of the Caregiver Recognition Act (CRA) would include:
  • proclaiming the first Tuesday of April in each year as Caregiver Recognition Day;
  • creating general principles relating to caregivers, outlining how caregivers should be treated and considered when interacting with the public, health staff and in the workplace;
  • instituting a progress report every two years, which would evaluate caregiver needs and supports;
  • establishing a Caregiver Advisory Committee to provide the minister with information, advice and recommendations; and
  • starting consultations with the minister and caregivers, organizations that provide care, appropriate government departments, the advisory committee and others.
According to the General Social Survey (2007), about one-fifth of Manitobans aged 45 and over reported providing assistance to a senior experiencing physical or other limitations due to a long-term health condition.
“The Caregiver Recognition Act is going to be an important step in the process of supporting caregivers, so they may have opportunities to enjoy optimum health and well-being,” said Rondeau.  “We will also conduct consultations with all groups of caregivers including those who care for disabled adult children and those within immigrant and refugee families.  This consultation will help guide the development of a broader caregiver framework for caregiver recognition and caregiver supports.”
Rondeau noted the government’s recent budget included a 25 per cent increase to the maximum annual Primary Caregiver Tax Credit, to $1,275 from $1,020 per care recipient.
The province would also establish a website for caregivers, which would provide centralized navigation to community and government resources.  This would include information on support groups, financial benefits and human-resource policies.
The proposed legislation is part of the province’s Age-Friendly Manitoba Initiative (AFMI), launched in 2008, that encourages policies, services and structures to support seniors in leading active, socially engaged and independent lives.  AFMI continues to gain momentum throughout the province, with 80 per cent of Manitoba’s population living in communities that have committed to being age-friendly, Rondeau said.
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mothers are special

Tribute to mothers everywhere

God Bless the Child, Billy Holliday classic sung by Maiko Watson. Check it out

Friday, May 20, 2011

Manitoba Campgrounds to open May Long-weekend

May 20, 2011


– – –
Entry to Provincial Parks Free Again in 2011: Blaikie
Campgrounds throughout provincial parks are open for Manitoba families to get outdoors and enjoy another great May long weekend, Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie announced today.
“Manitobans always look forward to this weekend as it’s the beginning of summer camping season,” said Blaikie.  “Manitoba Conservation staff have been working hard to get our campgrounds ready for what’s shaping up to be another successful May long weekend.”
The first day of reservations in April marked a new record with 13,995 sites being booked, more than 350 over opening day in 2010.  While electrical sites at popular campgrounds like Birds Hill and in the Whiteshell are in short supply, there are still plenty of campsites available throughout Manitoba’s provincial parks this weekend including some yurts and cabins.  Almost all seasonal sites have been filled and many campers have been setting up since last weekend.
“Manitobans can look forward to seeing a number of improvements throughout provincial parks this year,” said Blaikie.  “Budget 2011 includes a record investment for parks capital, just the beginning of a long-term plan to renew the infrastructure in our parks and unveil some exciting new projects.”
The Manitoba government is reminding campers the May long weekend is liquor-free in provincial park campgrounds this weekend.  Campers and outdoor enthusiasts who plan to enjoy Manitoba’s backyard this weekend are encouraged to stay safe and take extra precautions while on the water.
The Manitoba provincial park free entry program is in effect for the third consecutive year to ensure that all families have access to the province’s natural outdoor playground, said Blaikie.
As previously announced, several campgrounds in the province have been impacted by flooding including Kiche Manitou in Spruce Woods and St. Ambroise, Lundar and Watchorn.  Detailed information on all Manitoba campgrounds is available at by calling 1‑800‑214-6497 (toll-free) or 945‑6784 in Winnipeg.
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Hydro Bonds go on sale - Check out the rates

May 20, 2011


Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk today announced the interest rates for Manitoba Hydro Bonds, Series 11, on sale May 24 to June 7 throughout the province.
Rates on 2011 bonds
  • The interest rate for the five-year floating rate bond has been set for the initial year at 1.75 per cent.  The bonds will pay interest on an annual basis and will be redeemable annually.  The interest rate on the bonds will be reset annually.
  •  The interest rate for the three-year fixed rate bond has been set at 2.3 per cent.  The bonds will pay interest on an annual basis and will not be redeemable prior to maturity.
  • The interest rate for the five-year fixed rate bond has been set at 2.75 per cent.  Purchasers can choose either annual or compound interest and the bonds will not be redeemable prior to maturity.
Rates on outstanding floating rate bonds
  • The interest rate for all outstanding Manitoba Hydro and Manitoba Builder floating rate bonds which are adjustable and redeemable annually has been set at 1.75 per cent effective June 15.
Hydro Bonds are on sale from May 24 to June 7 at banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires and investment dealers throughout Manitoba.  The finance minister may terminate the selling period or reduce the maximum individual purchase amount upon 24 hours notice.  The bonds may only be purchased by residents of Manitoba or by Manitoba-based trusts, estates, corporations or other organizations having permanent establishments in Manitoba.
  • Hydro Bonds Series 9 five-year fixed and five-year floating rate bonds and Manitoba Builder Bonds Series 10 three-year fixed rate bonds mature on June 15 and will be redeemed by direct deposit. 
  • Builder Bonds Series 10, 11 and 12 floating rate bonds and Hydro Bonds Series 10 floating rate bonds may be redeemed without penalty for their full principal amount plus interest annually during the redemption periods by providing written notice to the registrar or by telephoning the registrar at 1-866-313-1872 (Valiant Trust Company) on or before June 9.
Further information may be obtained at the bond line at 1-800-565-0350 (toll-free) or the website at
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Hospitality Strategy

May 19, 2011



– – –
Changes Would Balance Modernized Liquor Laws, Red Tape Reduction with Safety Enhancements, Underage Drinking Initiatives: Mackintosh
A four-pillar strategy to promote new hospitality opportunities in the province, such as brew pubs, Liquor Mart boutiques in grocery stores and the ability to bring your own wine (BYOW) to restaurants, with a crackdown on disorder and underage drinking, was unveiled today by Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh, minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act.
“The goal of this new strategy is to allow our province to be both socially progressive and socially responsible,” said Mackintosh.  “It encourages economic development and provides Manitobans and visitors with the ability to enjoy social opportunities within a safe environment.
“We’ve built these changes on a platform of Canada’s toughest impaired driving laws.  The result is a strategy that addresses the desire by Manitobans for more modern liquor laws, while enhancing safety initiatives within the hospitality industry.”
The minister said the four pillars of the new strategy are new hospitality opportunities, greater public safety and well-being, underage drinking countermeasures, and red tape reduction.
1. New hospitality opportunities
To address the changing social landscape in Manitoba and Canada, the following initiatives would enable:
  • Brew pubs with off-sales and sales through the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) Liquor Marts to ensure business viability;
  • up to 10 pilot, limited-selection MLCC Liquor Mart boutiques with a focus on Manitoba and Canadian products including up to five locations to be located within urban grocery stores;
  • a voluntary BYOW program for restaurants;
  • sales of coolers and ciders at select retail beer vendors;
  • incentives to help develop microbreweries, wineries and micro-distilleries including reduced product markups and promotional opportunities;
  • development incentives for beverage producer visitor centres including free-standing locations, reduced product markups to the producer and allowing for outdoor advertising to promote these centres;
  • expansion of optional service hours to 2 a.m. for socials, charity fundraisers and weddings for consistency with licensed establishments;
  • standardized Sunday night hours to 2 a.m. for cabarets and beverage rooms and 2:30 a.m. for beer vendors, unless disallowed by local bylaw;
  • the MLCC to authorize exceptions to reflect unique hospitality opportunities that do not fall under the current 11 classes of licence by amending the Food to Liquor Regulation;
  • Liquor Marts to sell barware, beverage publications and promotional merchandise for major sport and cultural events; and
  • enhanced product information and public interaction through an upgrading of the MLCC website.
“With modern liquor control rules unfolding across Canada and world-class attractions planned for Manitoba, such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the International Polar Bear Centre, our efforts will enhance Manitoba’s attractiveness as a progressive, hospitable and fun destination and a great place to live,” said Mackintosh.
2. Greater public safety and well-being
Recognizing the foundation of hospitality is to provide a safe environment, safety in licensed premises would be enhanced by the following initiatives:
  • hiring three new downtown Winnipeg liquor inspectors, adding to Canada’s best inspector-to-licensed-premises ratio, and establishing a new satellite inspections office to be located on Main Street by 2012;
  • introducing fines, among the toughest in Canada, for disorderly conduct;
  • placing more responsibility on bar owners for disorder outside of their premises and property including the immediate vicinity;
  • enabling liquor inspectors and police to immediately close a licensed premise for up to 12 hours when there is imminent risk to the public;
  • setting out in law existing mandatory responsible service training for bar owners, operators, bartenders and servers;
  • giving the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) the legal mandate to promote responsible alcohol consumption;
  • strengthening a fetal alcohol spectrum disorders public awareness campaign;
  • requiring the MLCC to conduct an impact analysis on the use of energy drinks as a mix with alcohol;
  • enabling Liquor Marts to sell socially responsible products such as 0.5 per cent alcohol and
    taxi-fare cards; and
  • installing portable defibrillators and providing staff training in all 50 liquor marts by early summer.
“These initiatives help to build a culture of moderation around alcohol consumption,” said Mackintosh.  “Moreover, licensed premises must provide safe environments for patrons and the general public.  The new initiatives proposed today supplement our strong impaired-driving strategy and realize historic new investments to address alcohol-abuse issues.”
3. Underage drinking countermeasures
The following initiatives are intended to counter underage drinking:
  • instituting a false identification (ID) crackdown:
    • young adults will be required to produce a driver’s licence or identity card from Manitoba Public Insurance or alternatively two additional pieces of ID, of one which one must be photo ID, by 2012;
    • the MLCC will work with licensees to implement technologies to identify false ID such as verification scanners; and
    • providing ID to a minor would become an offence under the Liquor Control Act; and
  • prohibiting possession of alcohol by a minor, not just consumption, in a licensed premise and at occasional permit events;
  • automatically having every act violation involving underage drinking in a licensed premise would result in a licensing board hearing;
  • registering all beer kegs to easily identify the purchaser in situations involving minors;
  • having the MLCC phase in a strategy to deal with excessively high alcohol content beverages;
  • enhancing awareness of Be the Influence – Manitoba’s leading-edge campaign for parent engagement and responsibility;
  • providing a new school-based awareness and initiatives program through Manitoba Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors; and
  • facilitating discussion between MADD Canada and school boards to promote dry grad initiatives.
“These initiatives build on the introduction last May of Canada’s highest fines for underage alcohol purchases,” said Mackintosh.  “We know that children who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependencies later in life.  When we hear that 20 per cent of Grade 9 students report they got drunk at least once in the previous month, we all have our work cut out for us.”
4. Red tape reduction
A modernized act would also see the elimination of unnecessary red tape by:
  • allowing convenient, online social permit applications by 2012;
  • providing multi-year liquor licensing;
  • supplying pro-rated liquor licence fees;
  • providing multi-year liquor licensing;
  • legislating pro-rated liquor licence fees;
  • streamlining the liquor licence application process;
  • improving rules to reflect the shift from owner-run premises to franchises and chain outlets;
  • amending the Food to Liquor Regulation to:
    • address exemptions where the ratio does not reflect the volume of liquor sold; and
    • replace the quarterly requirement for licensees to submit food to liquor reports with spot checks, complaint investigations and licensee record maintenance; and
  • transferring licensing responsibility from cabinet to the MLCC for liquor stores and licensed premises in areas without municipal governments, such as northern communities and parks;
  • amending the advertising regulation to allow exceptions to outdoor advertising rules to accommodate licensee promotional needs; and
  • providing an MLCC Internet portal for commercial business partners to streamline business activities.
“The MLCC began the process of reducing red tape last year with the introduction of a simplified occasional permit fee structure that not only simplified the process for permit events, it provided savings to many event organizations,” said Mackintosh.  “These initiatives to reduce red tape, build on these past efforts and provide greater efficiencies for licensed premises.”
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Press Release from Council of Canadians

Subject: Media Release: Stop trading rights to curry favour with US, says Council of Canadians

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2011

Stop trading rights to curry favour with US, says Council of Canadians
Wikileaks gives a taste of what perimeter security will mean for Canada

Toronto -- Canada must stop indiscriminately sharing information on people within its borders with United States security agencies and immediately adopt strict accountability measures for information-sharing recommended by the Arar Commission, says the Council of Canadians.

“Why are we allowing CSIS and other Canadian security agencies to send their untested hunches about people across the border when it puts the lives of innocent people at risk? Maher Arar is still on a U.S. no-fly list despite being cleared of all suspicion by the Canadian government, which has apologized for his deportation and torture in Syria. By continuing to funnel information to U.S. security agencies the Harper government is saying it doesn't care about human or civil rights. This practise must end,” says Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

The Council is responding to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks and reported by CBC, which show that U.S. diplomats used Canadian information to place several never-arrested suspects on a blacklist. There were 27 Canadian citizens and 14 foreign nationals living in Canada on the list, which is undoubtedly the tip of an iceberg of Canadian names sent to U.S. officials, in many cases based on having simply known a person suspected of terrorist links.

“The minimum criteria for when personal information is shared with any government should be suspicion of criminality. The security integration that Canada has pursued with the U.S. since September 2001 goes well beyond that, as proven by these leaked cables. Unfiltered information-sharing must stop immediately while accountability measures are developed,” says Trew.

Being on a US blacklist would bar access to the U.S., as well as stop a person from boarding an aircraft travelling over the territorial U.S., and possibly between destinations inside Canada. Before it fell, the Harper minority government passed a new air security law (Bill C-42) which allows Canadian air carriers to share all traveller information in their private databanks with the U.S. on overflights and domestic flights where the emergency airport is south of the border.

“That means the U.S. now must vet who can and cannot fly on all overflights and 75 per cent of domestic flights inside Canada,” says Trew. “Now Harper is promising to introduce Internet spying laws that will make it easier for Canadian police and security agencies to seek and record information on web surfing habits without having to get a warrant. We must assume this information will also be shared willy nilly with the U.S.

The Arar Commission, which looked into information sharing practises with the US, recommended that strict rules be placed on what personal information can be shared under what circumstances. This recommendation was ignored. Instead, the Harper government is currently negotiating a new border agreement with the U.S. to increase the amount of personal information going into foreign databases. The government is conducting limited online consultations on this deal until June 3. They would like the perimeter deal to be signed by 2012.

“Harper is selling off our privacy and civil rights for weak promises of a thinner border and better access to the U.S. market. Are those fundamental rights worth so little to his government?” asks Trew. “We call on all Canadians to reject the perimeter security concept and to demand accountability and respect for civil liberties from the government.”


For more information:
Dylan Penner, media officer:; 613.795.8685.
Stuart Trew, trade campaigner:; 647.222.9782.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Province changes apartment rules to protect renters

May 18, 2011


– – –
Greater Affordability, Controlled Condo Conversion, More Apartments Would be Created Under Let's Make a Better Deal for Renters: Ministers
The province is proposing strong measures to better protect tenants from excessive rent increases and uncontrolled condo conversions, Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh and Housing and Community Development Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross announced today.
“Your home is your castle, even if it’s rented so, especially in times of low vacancy rates, tenants need to be protected against excessive rent increases and unfair eviction.  This package balances the need to encourage more construction and upgrade the existing housing stock with the need for reasonable tenant protections,” said Mackintosh.
“We have seen historic private and public construction of more than 800 apartments in Winnipeg and the strongest year for construction in recent history, outpacing other major centres in Canada,” said Irvin-Ross.  “We have triggered the biggest public investment in affordable housing through HomeWorks! including 1,500 new units over five years.  A stakeholder working group has also been launched to find other solutions to rental challenges.”
While recognizing these achievements and continuing to encourage the development of new apartments and upgrading existing stock, better protections will be put in place for existing renters, the ministers said in outlining the following changes.
Before landlords could get a rent exemption under the whole-building rehabilitation program, they would have to upgrade not just one major component but two, for example, heating and plumbing, and they would have to spend 50 per cent more on a per-unit basis.  Also, when landlords apply for a rent increase above the guideline, they would recover the cost of some major repairs over eight years instead of six.
For example, on a $100,000 roof and foundation upgrade to a 12-unit apartment building, which would allow an owner to increase rent above the yearly guideline, each tenant would pay almost $350 less in increased rent each year under the new rules than under the old ones.  On a $50,000 upgrade to a 12-unit building, each tenant would pay $172 less in increased rent each year under the new rules. 
New tenant rights, such as tenure rights, would be introduced to protect tenants who are evicted for renovations in cases where units are re-rented after conversion to condominiums.  The province is also working with students and universities to develop more rights for students living in residences.
Condominium ownership has become the choice for many Manitobans, but the unmanaged conversion of apartments to condos can hurt renters, said the ministers, adding the province will propose new protections to better manage conversions including enabling municipalities to control condo conversions when vacancies are low.  Notice to tenants about condo conversions would be doubled to six months from three months.  No condo conversions would be allowed when people were evicted without cause in the previous year and no conversions would be allowed for four years after a rehabilitation exemption is approved.
Along with these measures, the province is increasing, as of Dec. 1, 2011, direct cash help to low‑income earners paying the rent under RentAid (formerly the Manitoba Shelter Benefit).  The benefit will increase to $720 from $600 a year for those on EIA.  For low-income Manitobans, there will also be an increase to RentAid.  For example a low-income senior getting $1,320 a year will now get $1,452 a year and a working family of four getting $1,464 a year will now get $1,632 a year.  Under Budget 2011, the Education Property Tax Credit will increase by $50 per year and up to $150 for seniors.
The province will improve tenant-landlord relations this year by scheduling eviction hearings for troublemakers faster, speeding-up appeals by the Residential Tenancies Commission and encouraging landlords to allow pets.  An independent advisor service will be expanded to help landlords of smaller properties.  Late payment and NSF cheques fees would be increased, increased costs will be awarded on claims for compensation and landlord fees for above-guideline rent-increase applications would be reduced for smaller buildings, said the ministers.
Manitoba’s rent regulation regime has ensured some of Canada’s most affordable rents, said Mackintosh.  The average annual rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Winnipeg is now almost $1,400 cheaper than in Saskatoon where there is no regulation, he said.
The minister noted a recent study of rent regulation in Manitoba by Dr. Hugh Grant of the University of Winnipeg has concluded that it has prevented “unwarranted increases, or gouging that might be expected in a period of excess demand.”
A copy of Grant’s report is available at
The Tenant Protection/Landlord Relations Package is part of the province’s Let’s Make a Better Deal strategy for stronger consumer protection.
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Canadian Cabinet 2011 - On with the work
The federal cabinet announced Wednesday, May 18 - you can also view it by region or in our interactive graphic:

Rob Nicholson, Justice
Marjory Lebreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate
Peter MacKay, National Defence
Vic Toews, Public Safety
Rona Ambrose, Public Works and Government Services Canada
Diane Finley, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Bev Oda, International Cooperation
John Baird, Foreign Affairs
Tony Clement, President of Treasury Board
Jim Flaherty, Finance
Peter Van Loan, Government House Leader
Jason Kenney, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
Gerry Ritz, Agriculture
Christian Paradis, Industry
James Moore, Canadian Heritage
Denis Lebel, Transport
Leona Aglukkaq, Health
Keith Ashfield, Fisheries and Oceans
Peter Kent, Environment
Lisa Raitt, Labour
Gail Shea to National Revenue
John Duncan, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Steven Blaney, Veterans Affairs
Ed Fast, International Trade
Joe Oliver, Natural Resources
Peter Penashue, Intergovernmental Affairs
Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of Defence
Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for ACOA
Gordon O'Connor, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip
Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism
Diana Ablonczy, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification
Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Transport
Gary Goodyear, Minister of State Science and Technology
Ted Menzies, Minister of State for Finance
Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Democratic Reform
Alice Wong, Minister of State for Seniors
Bal Gosal, Minister of State for Sport

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Manitoba Tightens legislation on Human Trafficking

News Release - Manitoba

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shout out to CBC Winnipeg

You guys are great. You are doing your job and doing it exceptionally well especially during this flood season. You are the link that is so important to Manitobans.  You are there before Politicians and you provide up to date accurate information and making some wonderful connections that allows people to give in to their natural generosity and others permission to ask and receive with grace. Thank you, thank you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Winnipeg's Maiko Watson - You-tube

Maiko Watson on you-tube check it out

Nurse Practitioner's Role in Healthcare Expanded with more Powers

May 13, 2011


– – –
Changes Would Enhance Role of Nurses in Providing Primary Care: Oswald
The College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba will launch consultations with its members on proposed regulatory changes to expand the prescribing authority of nurse practitioners, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.
“Nurse practitioners play a vital role in providing quality care to patients and families when they need it,” said Oswald.  “We are pleased to see the College of Registered Nurses proceeding with consultations to expand the prescribing authority for nurse practitioners, which will provide more care and help improve access to health services for families across the province.”
The province has been working with the college to develop regulatory amendments to expand the prescribing authority for nurse practitioners.  The proposed changes would include:
  • expanding prescribing authority from a limited number of drugs to all drugs except controlled drugs and substances; and
  • allowing nurse practitioners to prescribe needed medical devices to allow people to access benefits through Manitoba Family Services and Consumer Affairs and private insurers.  Previously, a physician prescription was required.
The College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba is required by legislation to consult with its members on any proposed regulatory changes or amendments.
“We will be consulting with extended-practice nurses and asking for their views on this very important proposed regulatory change to optimize their prescriptive authority,” said Diane Wilson Maté, executive director of the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba.  “We appreciate the support of the provincial government as we move forward with seeing nurse practitioners practice to their full potential, which will result in more accessible and effective patient care.”
The minister noted the proposed changes would improve access to primary care for patients as part of the government’s plan to ensure all Manitobans that want a family doctor have access to one by 2015.
“Nurse practitioners have extensive training to meet the needs of patients in primary care and across the health-care system,” said Laura Ferguson, president of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Manitoba.  “We look forward to seeing the prescribing authority for nurse practitioners expanded so they can provide more care and further meet the needs of patients.”
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Thanks to our Angells in Uniform - Always to the Rescue

Flood Response
  • No controlled release is planned today.  The current plan is for the initial release of water to commence early on Saturday, May 14.  After a few hours, the flow would be approximately
    500 cfs.  This amount would be continually reassessed and modified as necessary.  Based on the current forecast, the controlled release flows could gradually increase to between 2,500 and
    3,000 cfs over the following days.
  • This could change if an uncontrolled breach occurs on the Assiniboine River dikes and the release is required on an emergency basis. 
  • The additional capacity at the Portage Diversion is allowing residents more time to prepare and additional time to reinforce and strengthen the Assiniboine River dikes.  The site of the controlled release is part of a much larger area that would be flooded in an uncontrolled breach.  A planned and controlled release would allow the water flow to be managed and spilled slowly, which would not be possible with an uncontrolled breach. 
  • The additional time also allows for flood-fighting efforts including giving provincial crews time to survey properties in the area affected by the controlled release, providing residents information about potential water levels and the steps needed to protect their homes and property.
  • The controlled release would help relieve pressure on the Assiniboine River dikes that are protecting communities and homes from Portage la Prairie to Headingley, and help to protect against the risk of an uncontrolled dike break and outbreak of water.  It would also help address flows going into the Portage Diversion channel, and if an uncontrolled occurs, then the controlled release will help reduce the potential harm and provide time for repairs.
  • The controlled release is not expected to adversely affect the communities of Starbuck, Sanford and La Salle.  However, as a precautionary measure, residents along the river are putting flood- proofing measures in place.  Manitoba Water Stewardship will provide the municipalities with information about flood-protection levels.
  • So far, 14 homes in the immediate area of the planned, controlled release through the Assiniboine River dikes have been evacuated and flood-protection systems have been put in place. 
  • In addition, 39 notices have been given to homes that may be affected by spillover from the Portage Diversion and flood protection systems have been put in place at these homes.  
  • Extensive resources are being provided to protect against flooding in the area that will be affected by the controlled release.
  • Several thousand households in areas that would be at risk of flooding under an uncontrolled breach scenario have been placed on precautionary evacuation notices by the RMs of Portage la Prairie, Cartier, St. François Xavier and Headingley.  Residents should maintain a high level of readiness to evacuate should the dikes breach in an uncontrolled manner.
Portage Diversion Upgrades
  • Increasing the capacity of the Portage Diversion to handle additional flows has allowed more time for residents potentially affected by the controlled spill to prepare and additional time to strengthen and reinforce the Assiniboine River dikes.
  • Work on the diversion includes:
    • raising the south dike of the Portage reservoir,
    • raising the diversion channel dikes on both sides by approximately three feet,
    • providing erosion protection work around the structures in the channel,
    • installing a gas generator to ensure the gates can be managed if electrical power is affected by rising waters,
    • installed back-up hydraulic pumps to lift the gates, and
    • adding rock on the diversion structures and around the bridges crossing the diversion channel including rail bridges to add stability.
  • In the last two summers, the diversion reservoir was dredged and vegetation was removed from the channel, removing obstacles and allowing for more efficient water flow.
  • Putting these additional measures in place could allow the Portage Diversion to handle up to 34,000 cfs, which is above its design capacity of 25,000 cfs.
Assiniboine River Dikes
  • Provincial staff and 300 Canadian Forces soldiers are sandbagging along the provincial dikes from Portage la Prairie to Baie St. Paul.  Nine helicopters are ferrying sandbags into areas that are hard to access.  These dikes are being monitored on a 24-7 basis against a potential uncontrolled breach.
  • Provincial staff, with the assistance of 200 Canadian Forces soldiers, are working to protect properties that will be affected by the Portage Diversion spillover and will be moving to protect properties in the Elm River Channel that would be affected by a controlled release and spill through the Assiniboine River.  Volunteers and municipalities are sandbagging and putting up other flood-protection measures around properties that may be affected by the furthest reaches of a controlled spill.
  • Today more than 450,000 sandbags are being distributed to the RMs of Alonsa, Portage la Prairie, St. François Xavier, Elie and Brandon.
  • The City of Brandon has extended evacuations to include the Corral Center and The Paddock along 18th Street.  There are 1,326 people evacuated in Brandon.
  • The province has provided 50,000 sandbags to the City of Brandon today.
  • Assiniboine Community College and the residences at Brandon University will be used by the City of Brandon to house evacuees in need of a place to stay over the weekend.
Other Areas
  • Heavy rains, as much as 100 millimetres in Saskatchewan, are causing increased flows on the Qu’Appelle River at the community of St-Lazare.  Sections of the community ring dike, and municipal and private dikes are being raised another foot.   Provincial crews and Aquadams, (large flood-tube barriers) are heading into the area to assist with the work. 
  • In Dauphin Lake, approximately 45 homes/cottages are currently affected along Lake Dauphin in the RM of Ochre River.  Another 150 spots could be affected if the levels continue to rise.  The RM of Ochre River is monitoring the levels on one municipal road and may need to evacuate some homes.  
  • The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters (MANFF) has co-ordinated the evacuation of
    15 people from the Skownan First Nation near Waterhen .
  • MANFF has also co-ordinated the evacuation of 11 people from the Pinaymootang First Nation because of a loss of safe road access.
  • There are currently 1,341 Canadian Forces soldiers and reservists assisting with flood-fighting efforts in Manitoba.
  • Two provincial sandbag machines are working in Winnipeg, two have been located to Portage la Prairie and one is the RM of St. Laurent and one is in the Crane River area.  The City of Winnipeg is also operating two sandbag machines to support flood-fighting efforts.
  • There currently 3,169 Manitobans evacuated from their homes.
  • As a precautionary measure, the Office of the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer has issued a boil-water advisory for those using private, untreated water sources such as well water or surface water for drinking water in flooded areas.  The Manitoba government will once again cover the costs of testing drinking water supplies once flooding has ended. 
  • The south closure of the St. Adolphe ring dike is being opened today.  The north closure at St. Adolphe remains closed.  PR 210 south of St. Adolphe has been opened. 
  • There are 122 provincial roads affected by flooding, 73 closed.  There are approximately 750 municipal roads closed.
Flood Forecast Summary
  • Flows on the Assiniboine River into the Portage Reservoir have increased to 50,700 cfs from 48,550 cfs since yesterday.  The Portage Diversion flow is 32,000 cfs at this time.  The technical assessment is the Portage Diversion will be able to convey 34,000 cfs safely but with possible overflow at the north end. 
  • Flows on the Assiniboine River downstream of Portage La Prairie were decreased to 18,000 cfs due to concerns regarding the Assiniboine River dikes. 
  • Forecasters are estimating that inflows into the Portage Reservoir will reach 54,000 to 56,000 cfs, with the higher range of flows anticipated to reach the reservoir on or around May 19 to 21.  To manage these flows, Manitoba Water Stewardship will direct as much as possible through the Portage Diversion, estimated to divert as much as 32,000 to 34,000 cfs.  All efforts will be made to keep flows in both the diversion and the river.
  • Flood warnings have been issued for the Assiniboine River at all points downstream of the Shellmouth Dam; streams and rivers in the Dauphin Lake Basin; streams and rivers east of the Duck Mountains; the Souris River from Melita and all downstream reaches; Pipestone Creek, all reaches; Oak Lake and Plum Lakes, Plum Creek to the Souris River (including the town of Souris); and the Qu’Appelle River in the St-Lazare area.
  • A high water advisory is in place for all major lakes in Manitoba and the community of Red Deer Lake.
Assiniboine River
  • Water levels on the Shellmouth Reservoir are 1,414.47 ft., unchanged from yesterday.  Inflow into the Shellmouth Reservoir is approximately 12,120 cfs.  The Shellmouth Dam will be operated to maintain outflows around 12,000 cfs today and will be maintained at this level for the next one to two days.  This operational plan will prevent Shellmouth outflows from further increasing crests downstream to Portage la Prairie.   
  • This recent rain will likely result in another crest on the Assiniboine River between the Shellmouth Dam and Portage la Prairie.  The crest at Russell is forecast to be higher than previous peaks.  Forecast crests on the Assiniboine River at St-Lazare and near Miniota will likely be similar to last week’s crest.  Flows on the Assiniboine River at Brandon will likely increase to a forecast 39,000 to 41,000 cfs, which is a new, higher peak.  Water levels in Brandon are forecast to reach between 1,183.4 ft. and 1,183.8 ft. between May 18 and 20.
  • Water levels on the Qu’Appelle River, a major tributary of the Assiniboine River, increased significantly yesterday as a result of recent rains.  The Qu’Appelle River peaked at 13,300 cfs around midnight last night and receded to 12,500 cfs this morning.  Impacts of these high flows have been included in the Assiniboine River forecast for today.  St-Lazare’s water levels have increased 0.23 ft. since yesterday to 1,292.21 ft. St-Lazare’s community flood-protection level is 1,294.4 ft.
  • Miniota’s water levels have increased 0.09 ft. since yesterday to 1,247.21 ft.
  • Water levels at Sioux Valley are 1,203.88 ft., decreasing 0.05 ft. since yesterday.  Dikes at the Sioux Valley First Nation will provide flood protection to 1,207 ft. 
  • Water levels on the Assiniboine River at the First Street Bridge in Brandon are 1,182.55 ft., decreasing 0.16 ft since yesterday.  Flows at the First Street Bridge in Brandon were 37,500 cfs, measured this morning.  This is a one-in-300-year flood event in Brandon, surpassing the 1882 flood.
  • Peak water levels and dates have been reassessed for the Brandon area to account for the recent storm event.  Forecasters are estimating that flows may increase to 39,000 to 41,000 cfs and 1,183.4 to 1,183.8 ft. at First Street Bridge in Brandon between May 18 and 20.  It is estimated that flows on the Assiniboine River at Brandon will be sustained for the next few days.
  • Flows in the Portage Diversion channel this morning are at 32,000 cfs.  Inflow upstream of Portage la Prairie is 50,000 cfs.  Flows on the Assiniboine River at the bascule gates were 18,000 cfs this morning. 
  • The feasibility of increasing flows on the Portage Diversion to 34,000 cfs is being assessed.  It is unlikely the Assiniboine River dikes can hold more than 19,000 cfs today.  Assiniboine River dikes are seeping in different locations.  Efforts to increase Assiniboine River capacity are ongoing.
  • Flows on the Assiniboine River at Holland are 51,200 cfs.
  • Dikes along both sides of the Portage Diversion channel are being reinforced.  It is anticipated that these improvements will increase channel capacity to around 34,000 cfs (bridge restrictions may reduce this to 32,000 cfs), and reduce the need to add to flows to the controlled release.
  • There is more water running in the Portage Diversion than the Red River Floodway.
  • Water levels in the Baie St. Paul area have increased to 800.2 ft.  Water levels in the Lido Plage area increased 0.1 ft to 780.41 ft.
Red River
  • Water levels just upstream of the Red River floodway inlet are 763.26 ft., with flows of 69,100 cfs. Flows in the floodway are approximately 31,800 cfs.
  • Water levels on the Red River at James Avenue in Winnipeg have decreased 0.25 ft. to 19.08 ft.  Flows at James Avenue this morning were approximately 56,600 cfs.
  • Flows entering the La Salle River watershed from the controlled release will increase flows on the La Salle River by between 2,500 to 3,000 cfs.  The La Salle River is a tributary which flows into the Red River downstream of the floodway inlet.  It is anticipated that water level rises on the Red River would be as much as 1.5 ft. at James Avenue at the highest projected La Salle River inflow.  
Souris River
  • Water levels at Melita are 1,410.07 ft. today, decreasing 0.12 ft. since yesterday. 
  • Water levels on the Souris River are expected to rise as a result of the recent rain event.  Forecasters have estimated the new peak will be slightly less than previous peaks.
  • Water levels in Oak Lake are 1,412.17 ft.  Water levels on Plum Creek have increased 1.31 ft. since yesterday to 1,376.68 ft.
  • The Souris River at Wawanesa reached 15,800 cfs today with a water level of 1,156.43 ft.  Forecasters have assessed the impacts of recent rains on the Souris River.  The Souris River at Wawanesa may reach 16,000 to 17,000 cfs between May 13 to 15.
Dauphin Lake, Swan Lake and Lake Winnipegosis Basins
  • Streams and rivers responding to the recent rain event were highest in the Dauphin Lake, Lake Winnipegosis and Swan Lake Basin.  Water level changes since yesterday include:
    • the Roaring River increased 3.03 ft.;
    • the Swan River increased 2.38 ft.;
    • Wilson Creek increased 2.28 ft.;
    • the Turtle River increased 0.24 ft.;
    • the Ochre River decreased 0.49 ft.; and
  • the Valley River increased 0.43 ft.
  • Dauphin Lake water levels have reached flood stage.  Residents and cottages in the vicinity of Ochre Beach and Dauphin Beach are advised to make necessary flood preparations.  Forecasters have increased the Dauphin Lake crest to 860.5 ft., higher than previous forecasts.
  • Maps indicating wind-eliminated inundation areas around the south basin of Lake Manitoba are available on the Manitoba Water Stewardship flood response website at have been provided to the rural municipalities surrounding the lake to help landowners prepare for high water levels.  It is advisable the public make flood preparations that account for these forecast high water levels.
  • Water levels on Red Deer Lake are forecast to reach flood stage.  A high water advisory has been issued for the Community of Red Deer Lake.  It is advisable the community make necessary flood preparations.
  • Outflows from Lake Manitoba are estimated at 14,200 cfs as of late yesterday.
  • Forecasters have estimated peak wind-eliminated water levels for Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin.  Both are forecast to reach high water levels that are unprecedented since regulation of the lakes began in 1961.  These forecast elevations are preliminary at this time and may be revised with major weather changes and as computer models are refined.
  • The risk of shoreline ice pile up today is low on all assessed lakes.
For more information, please see find the most up-to-date highway information at or 1-877-MBRoads (1-877-627-6237) and on Twitter by following @MBGov.
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Après la publication de chaque rapport sur les inondations, les renseignements sont mis à jour en français dès que possible.
Pour les consulter, allez à puis cliquez sur « Daily Flood Reports».


Neighbour Alive Living Up

May 13, 2011


Five Winnipeg communities will be rejuvenated with an investment of $1.8 million from the province, making neighbourhoods safer and more attractive while offering more educational, recreational and social opportunities for families, Housing and Community Development Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross announced today.
“Since its launch just over 10 years ago, Neighbourhoods Alive! has become one of the province’s key community economic development initiatives and, due to the considerable public interest in expanding the program, we are adding communities,” said Irvin-Ross.  “Neighbourhoods Alive! is about rebuilding neighbourhoods from the ground up and we want more communities to be part of this successful program.”
Five Winnipeg neighbourhoods will receive Neighbourhoods Alive! (NA!) support through a new program called the Localized Improvement Fund for Tomorrow (LIFT).  They are Elwick (southeast Maples), Weston, Osborne-Mayfair, Lavallee (Alpine-Lavallee) and South Pembina.
The LIFT program will provide grant assistance totalling $450,000 over the next four years.  Each of the five neighbourhoods will receive $90,000 annually.
“I am so excited we are moving forward with this expansion in additional locations,” said Irvin-Ross.  “I would like to personally thank all the community groups and individuals that have worked together over the years to make Neighbourhoods Alive! the thriving program it has become.”
“I am aware of the need for and the benefit of programs which build on the strengths of the community, particularly programs that engage and build capacity of our youth, seniors and families,” said Michelle Strain of the Salvation Army Multicultural Centre.  “Creating healthy communities requires support and commitment from all sectors.  The new LIFT program will allow us to bring more resources to our community and its residents.”
Community meetings in each locality will be held to share information about the fund and provide opportunity for residents to collectively identify local priorities to consider when reviewing project applications, Irvin-Ross said.  All residents and community groups are welcome and encouraged to attend the community meetings.  Invitations will be extended to local residents, business owners, community organizations (e.g., agencies, schools, churches, community centres) and other stakeholders.  Specific dates and locations of the meetings will be announced in June 2011.                                                                        
The first intake for LIFT program funding requests will be in late 2011.
This expansion comes on the heels of recent announcements to reduce red tape for non-profit organizations through the NA! tax credit, which will support and promote the development of social enterprises by leveraging investments through the private sector, the minister said, adding there is also a new website connecting social enterprises to relevant provincial programs and supports.
“These initiatives build on the good work happening through the NA! program, ensuring non-profit organizations can focus on their mandates rather than administration,” Irvin-Ross said.  “It also provides tools for communities to reduce barriers to employment while providing important goods and services.”
Irvin-Ross noted Neighbourhoods Alive! has numerous funding programs that support community revitalization.  Since the program’s inception in 2000, more than 919 NA! projects have received government support totalling more than $78 million.
Neighbourhoods Alive! is a long-term, community-based social and economic strategy to support and encourage community-driven revitalization efforts in neighbourhoods in Winnipeg and rural communities, the minister said.  The provincial government has supported NA! programs in Thompson, Brandon, Flin Flon, The Pas, Selkirk, Dauphin, Portage la Prairie and designated communities throughout Winnipeg.
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Crimminals may run but they can't hide - the net is closing

May 13, 2011


Seven provinces have signed an agreement to share information in cases where the civil forfeiture of the proceeds of crime is being pursued, Attorney General Andrew Swan announced today.
“Provinces need to work across borders to stop criminals from their misdeeds,” said Swan.  “Manitoba is proud to lead this initiative to share information with other jurisdictions and, in turn, we will benefit from having access to what other provinces may know about the cases we pursue.”
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have provincial civil forfeiture legislation and all are signatories to this agreement.
The detailed agreement sets out the process for jurisdictions to share records as well as personal and other information that could assist in civil forfeiture cases.  The agreement recognizes the need to respect each province’s privacy obligations, said Swan.
Details of civil property forfeiture laws vary from province to province but, essentially, such legislation allows for civil court orders that can require proceeds from unlawful acts, property bought with those proceeds and property used as instruments of unlawful activity to be forfeited to the government.                                                                                                           
In Manitoba, a total of $1.4 million in assets has been successfully forfeited to the province.  More actions are in process, with 48 statements of claim involving cash, 10 vehicles and approximately 32 houses currently before the courts.
“Information is a powerful tool, especially when it comes to combating organized crime,” Swan added.  “This agreement strengthens and builds on the provinces’ joint efforts to make our communities safer through better collaboration and information sharing.”
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Friday, May 06, 2011

Cancer and heart injuries Firefighters presumption work-related disease

May 6, 2011


– – –
Proposed Amendments Include Office of the Fire Commissioner Personnel: Howard
Individuals from the Office of the Fire Commissioner who investigate fires or those who train firefighters and fire investigators would be included in the firefighter presumptions under proposed legislation introduced yesterday by Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard.
“Like firefighters, personnel who work for the Office of the Fire Commissioner are exposed to dangerous, health-threatening and life-threatening conditions,” Howard said.  “This legislation would recognize this threat by extending the firefighter cancer and heart-injury presumptions to them and their families.”
As a result of amendments to the Workers Compensation Act, 14 cancers are presumed to be work‑related injuries for full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters.  These include multiple myeloma, primary site prostate, skin, breast, brain, kidney, lung, ureter, colorectal, esophageal and testicular cancers, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia.
In addition, heart injuries within 24 hours of an emergency response are presumed to be work-related injuries.
In 2002, Manitoba became the first jurisdiction in Canada to have a firefighter presumption.
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Culture gets a tax break

Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk is joined by children from the India School of Dance, Music and Theatre in Winnipeg at the announcement of details of a new tax credit to help more Manitoba children participate in organized, supervised arts and cultural activities
May 5, 2011


– – –
Families Will Save $3 Million: Wowchuk
The province is helping parents to enrich the lives of children through organized and supervised arts and cultural activities by introducing a new Children’s Arts and Cultural Activity Tax Credit, Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk announced today.
The tax credit will be available for activities taking place in Manitoba outside a school’s regular program.  It will enable families to earn a credit of up to $54 per child for eligible costs incurred starting this year.  Families representing up to 186,000 children could save up to $3 million annually, said Wowchuk.
“This government believes that all children should have the opportunity to take part in things they love, whether that’s taking dance or guitar lessons or learning how to paint.  This tax credit will give families the opportunity to introduce their children to fun and exciting activities,” the minister said.
Families will be able to apply the credit to organized and supervised arts and cultural activities taking place in Manitoba and outside a school’s regular program.  Examples include activities involving:
  • the arts (dance, drama and photography);
  • culture (music and languages);
  • wilderness and the natural environment (gardening, 4-H and scouts);
  • the development of interpersonal skills (girl guides, public speaking and cadets); and
  • receiving tutoring in school subjects.
“This new tax credit will benefit many, many families and will help children access organized arts and cultural activities, which will enrich their lives,” said Pamela Rebello, executive director of the India School of Dance, Music and Theatre.
The Children’s Arts and Cultural Activity Tax Credit is a 10.8 per cent non-refundable income tax credit.  Eligible activity costs of up to $500 can be claimed annually for a child under the age of 16.  A family qualifies for an additional $54 in income tax savings for a child with a disability under the age of 18 on whom at least $100 is spent on eligible activities.
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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Convicted auto thieves will lose bigtime under new Provincial Legislation

May 4, 2011


Convicted auto thieves would no longer receive any benefits from Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) as the result of the proposed Bill 31, the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment Act, introduced today by Justice Minister Andrew Swan, minister responsible for MPI.
“Manitoba families have a right to feel safe on our streets and in our neighbourhoods and communities.  Every time someone steals a car, they put people’s safety at risk,” said Swan.  “Auto thieves shouldn’t profit from their crimes and this change in legislation will close the door on MPI benefits immediately following conviction and allow MPI to recover any amounts paid prior to the conviction on behalf of ratepayers.”
Benefits would be terminated for both the driver and passengers, he added.
In addition to the Criminal Code offence of auto theft, including provisions successfully advocated by Manitoba, the amendments would also apply to the following Canadian Criminal Code offences:
  • flight from a police officer,
  • street racing,
  • theft where the property stolen is a motor vehicle, and
  • taking a motor vehicle without consent.
“Street racers and those who put our police officers in danger should not receive MPI benefits,” said Swan.  “These individuals will no longer receive any benefits including income replacement, permanent impairment benefits, rehabilitation, personal-care assistance and reimbursement for expenses.”
The Personal Injury Protection Plan introduced in 1994 made convicted auto thieves eligible for full benefits, Swan said.  The proposed legislation would tighten up existing penalties already in place for convicted auto thieves, he added.
“Our government recognized that convicted auto thieves should not be entitled to full benefits,” said Swan.  “That’s why in 2004 we introduced amendments that reduced income replacement, permanent impairment benefits and death payments."
Addressing auto theft has been a priority of the Manitoba government and MPI for many years, said Swan.  The province’s mandatory immobilizer program for the most at-risk vehicles, in addition to the award-winning Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy, has resulted in a reduction in auto theft of 78 per cent in Winnipeg since 2004, the lowest level in nearly two decades, he added.
The minister said these initiatives are saving Manitobans approximately $30 million annually, noting the savings have been passed on to Autopac premium rate payers.  Rates have been reduced three times over the last five years.
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Province takes measures to improve health workers safety

May 3, 2011


– – –
Stronger Regulations, Security Equipment, Public Information to Support Staff Safety in Health Facilities: Howard
The province is introducing a number of initiatives to support safer workplaces for nurses and other health-care workers, Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard and Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.
“We acknowledge the risk for violence exists in all health-care facilities and we’re committed to helping protect nurses and other front-line workers, along with patients and their families,” said Howard.  “To address this issue, we are pleased to partner with the Manitoba Nurses Union to strengthen the current workplace safety and health regulations to help prevent violence in health facilities.”
The current workplace safety and health regulations apply to a broad variety of workplaces in Manitoba and are not specific to the health-care setting.  Regulatory amendments will require that all health facilities must work with health-care employees to develop a violence prevention policy and strategy including ensuring security assistance is rapidly available for staff should the need arise, Howard said.
A consultative process will begin immediately in partnership with the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) as well as other unions and partners to strengthen the regulations for health facilities.  This process will help ensure employees have the information they need to address risks of violence in the workplace and determine how best to report, monitor and review incidents that do occur to learn and make further changes to prevent their recurrence, said Howard.  The minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health will also be consulted.
Final recommendations are expected by the end of June 2011 and amendments for stronger workplace safety in health care will be in place by the end of August, Howard said.  Changes to the legislation that guides workplace safety and health will also be considered through the regulatory consultation process, with the goal of introducing legislation in the following session, Howard noted.
“Hospitals are not only a place where people go when they need health care, they’re also a workplace for thousands of front-line nurses and other health professionals,” said Oswald.  “We’re continuing to work with nurses to ensure their safety and help reduce workplace violence in facilities across the province.”
The province will also launch additional initiatives to help improve workplace safety in health facilities including the creation of a health workplace safety fund for equipment and other initiatives to improve security.  Regional health authorities will also be required to ensure standard signage is in place to support a respectful environment for health-care employees, patients, families and other visitors to health facilities, Oswald said.
“We are pleased to see further steps being taken to improve workplace security and safety in health facilities across the province,” said Sandi Mowat, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union.  “We appreciate the ongoing commitment from the Manitoba government to seek nurses’ advice on improving the work environment and improving care for patients across the health-care system.”
An advisory group on staff safety and security in health facilities will also be created including membership from MNU, regional health authorities and other health-care unions, noted Oswald.  This will create a permanent ongoing process to review workplace security issues broadly in health care, determine how best to invest the new health workplace safety fund and identify further opportunities to strengthen security and safety for front-line health workers across the province, she added.
The ministers noted the new initiatives build on other steps to improve workplace safety for health professionals including creating the Nursing Safety and Security Fund to invest in measures that improve safety and security for nurses in the workplace.
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Provice adopts tougher approach to Public school Bullying

May 3, 2011


Proposed amendments to the Public Schools Act introduced in the Manitoba legislature today by Education Minister Nancy Allan would establish a provincewide approach to reporting serious student misconduct.
“This builds on the great work being done at the grassroots level by parents, by teachers, by principals and by school divisions,” Allan said.  “This legislation is meant to support and complement those efforts and to ensure they are happening across the board.”
Bill 28 would requireall employees of a school division, and those in charge of students during a school-approved activity such as a sporting event or field trip, report unacceptable student conduct to the principal as soon as possible.
Unacceptable conduct includes abusing another student physically, sexually or psychologically, verbally, in writing or otherwise, and repeated or deliberate bullying of another pupil of a serious nature including cyberbullying.  When a principal believes after an investigation that a student has been harmed as a result of unacceptable conduct, the principal must, as soon as reasonably possible, notify the student’s parent or guardian.
“The parental voice is essential to addressing all matters relating to school safety and bullying including during the process of incident reporting.  The Manitoba Association of Parent Councils (MAPC) applauds Manitoba Education and its efforts to promote school safety, which fosters school environments dedicated to addressing the many challenges associated with bullying,” said Naomi Kruse, executive director of MAPC.
Safe schools legislation that came into force in June 2004 made it mandatory for Manitoba schools to have a code of conduct and emergency response plans in place.  In June 2008, school board obligations were expanded to include policies regarding appropriate use of the Internet and electronic devices such as cell phones and digital cameras to curtail cyberbullying.
Suspected cases of abuse will continue to be reported to Manitoba Child and Family Services and criminal activities will be reported to police as required by law.
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