Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Medications added

March 25, 2014


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Provincial Government Enhancing Care for Manitoba Families: Minister Selby

More brand-name and generic drugs are being added to the provincial formulary, cutting costs for families and enhancing access to drug treatments, Health Minister Erin Selby announced today.
“Medication costs can be a hardship for Manitobans who are ill or living with a chronic disease,” said Minister Selby.  “A new, pan-Canadian agreement has reduced costs for several generic drugs, allowing us to pass along the savings to Manitoba families.”
In April 2013, Manitoba and other provinces secured a lower price for six generic drugs and created over $9 million in annual savings for Manitobans.  Building on this work, a new, pan-Canadian dealhas established a price for four additional common generic drugs at 18 per cent of the price for the equivalent brand name drug.
This joint approach will obtain the lowest generic prices achieved to date in Canada for these four products.  This includes reduced costs forrosuvastatin and simvastatin to treat high cholesterol, citalopram to treat depression, and pantoprazole to treat a variety of gastro-intestinal illnesses.
This reduction in cost for generic drugs allows the province to cover new brand-name drugs.  Some of the new drugs added to the formulary include:
  • Effient for the treatment of heart disease, and
  • Eliquis for embolism prevention in patients who have had elective knee or hip replacement surgery.
The additions also include drugs for the treatment of a specific cause of overactive bladder for Manitobans with multiple sclerosis (MS) or certain kinds of spinal cord injuries.
Coverage for some of the new drugs will begin on April 1 while coverage for others will come into effect on April 16.  Of the 407 drugs added, 391 are generic medications.  The minister said the savings will be used to increase the availability of new innovative drugs for Manitoba families.   

Pharmacare is a universal, comprehensive prescription drug program for any Manitoban, with benefits based on family income.  It covers 100 per cent of eligible drug costs once the income-based deductible is reached, regardless of medical condition or age.

Since 1999, approximately 4,000 new drugs have been added to Manitoba’s pharmacare program.

More information on the program is available at

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Free Vaccines for Manitoba Familes

March 26, 2014


The provincial government will provide more immunizations to Manitoba families as of April 1, Health Minister Erin Selby said today as she announced the expansion of the province’s routine immunization program for children to include a new rotavirus vaccine and an additional dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, which will be available to eligible children free of charge.
“Our government believes prevention and control of disease is key to better health for all Manitobans and can reduce the use of health-care services, which is why offering these additional vaccines is not only important, it is a priority.  Immunization has saved more lives in Canada in the last 50 years than any other medical intervention and is the best way to protect infants and children from infectious disease,” said Minister Selby.
The first of the two-dose rotavirus vaccine series will be administered to two-month-old infants who were born on or after March 1, 2014.  The second dose will then be given at four months of age.  This vaccine protects against gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting) caused by rotavirus infection.  Almost all children will have at least one rotavirus infection before they are five years of age.
The second dose of the varicella vaccine program will be administered to children four to six years of age, born on or after Jan. 1, 2008.  This vaccine prevents chickenpox and complications arising from chickenpox including skin infections and encephalitis, an infection of the brain.
“The introduction of these vaccines to Manitoba’s routine immunization schedule is great news for families,” said Dr. Michael Routledge, chief provincial public health officer.  “Vaccines help reduce or even eliminate diseases that not so long ago often caused serious complications, including death, for both children and adults.”
Although immunizations in this province are voluntary, vaccines help protect Manitobans and their children from diseases, and also help protect others who cannot be immunized because of certain health conditions including cancer, said Minister Selby.  The addition of these vaccines represents an investment of more than $900,000 a year, she said.
Routledge noted that diseases and their complications are far more serious then the minor side effects that may sometimes be caused by vaccines, such as a sore arm or leg, headache and a tired feeling.

More information on the rotavirus vaccine and the second dose of varicella vaccine is available at  More information on eligibility criteria and the immunization schedule can be found on the Manitoba Health website at

Members of the public may also call Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll free) should they have additional questions.

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Manitoba gets high mark

March 27, 2014


– – –
Fifth Straight Year WInnipeg has held Top Ranking: Minister Oswald

A KPMG study comparing business costs in cities in 10 countries shows Winnipeg to be the most cost-competitive city in the North American Midwest, a position it has held since 2010, Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

The KPMG Competitive Alternatives report compared overall business costs for 26 cities in the North American Midwest and ranked Winnipeg first for overall competitiveness.  The report also benchmarked business costs in an additional eight smaller cities in the Midwest.  Among these, Brandon was shown to be the second-most cost competitive.

“This report shows, as so many companies already know, that Manitoba is a very competitive place for businesses to grow, prosper and create jobs,” said Minister Oswald.  “Our low business costs and taxes make Winnipeg and Brandon among the most competitive cities in which to do business, especially among North American Midwestern cities.”

In the 2014 report, Winnipeg ranked first in 12 of 19 industries studied and either improved or maintained its ranking for all 19 industries since the last KPMG report in 2012.  The most cost-effective industries were in the research and development, digital and corporate services sectors including biotechnology, clinical trials, electronics system testing, digital entertainment, software design, professional services and support services.

Minister Oswald said government’s investment in assets critical to business, including a five-year plan to invest $5.5 billion renewing roads, bridges and other core infrastructure, as well as additional investments in education, training and apprenticeship opportunities, will ensure a stable, skilled workforce over the long term.

“These investments, including the largest infrastructure investment in the province’s history, will create thousands of jobs and put our economy on an even more competitive footing for the future,” said the minister.

The KPMG report, released every second year, is intended to provide information for use by investors and any company considering business location options.

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Order of the Buffalo Hunt - Olympians

March 27, 2014


Premier Greg Selinger today inducted Manitoba 2014 Olympic and Paralympic curling gold medallists into the Order of the Buffalo Hunt.

Olympic champions Jennifer Jones,Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen, Kirsten Wall and their coach Janet Arnott, and Paralympic championDennis Thiessen were awarded the honour in a ceremony at the Legislative Building.

“We know that winning a gold medal at the Olympics is the result of countless hours of training, of early mornings and long days on the road,” said Premier Selinger.  “The achievement of these athletes is an inspiration to all the young athletes and their families who are now making those sacrifices in order to one day realize their Olympic dreams.”

The Jones rink won the Olympic gold medal in women’s curling with a 6-3 victory over Team Sweden while Thiessen won gold as part of Team Canada in an 8-3 victory over Russia in the Paralympic mixed curling final.

“We are immensely proud of our athletes and all that they have accomplished,” said Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux.  “Bringing home these gold medals shows that Manitoba is a force to be reckoned with in curling.”

Manitoba’s Order of the Buffalo Hunt was established in 1957.  The honour is bestowed by the province on individuals who demonstrate outstanding skills in the areas of leadership, service and community commitment.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sixties Scoop Generation - Journey to healing

March 24, 2014


Healing our Hidden Hurt, a two-day roundtable discussion to help start the healing for up to 20 Aboriginal adults and their families who were affected by the ‘60s scoop is being hosted by Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson today and tomorrow.

Attendees at the private roundtable are some of the thousands of Manitoba children that were taken from their families and home communities and put up for adoption in other provinces and countries during the 1960s and 1970s.

“It is important that those here today and other adoptees know that they are not alone.  Through talking and sharing their very own personal and heartbreaking stories, some of which have never been told, together we can start the healing process and begin a journey of understanding and hope,” said Minister Robinson.

It is estimated over 20,000 children from Aboriginal families across Canada and 3,000 from Manitoba were taken from their homes in the 1960s, ‘70s and even into the early 1980s and were adopted  throughout Canada, the United States and as far away as Europe.  Many of the adoptees were left struggling with a profound culture shock that affected their ability to cope as successful adults, the minister said.

“We have seen the negative repercussions of the ‘60s scoop on the adoptee’s lives.  Many were completely devastated by losing their families and cultural identity.  As a result, many of the adoptees faced difficult social issues, such as turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with their pain,” said Minister Robinson.

He noted the two-day roundtable’s primary goal is to foster discussion and generate new ideas and directions to help adoptees and their families deal with the past and present hurt and suffering caused to the ‘60s scoop victims.  Traditional healers and counselors will also be on site to help participants with grief and hurt they still suffer.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Apprentices Get a Boost

Premier Greg Selinger announces improved tax credits and hiring incentives to help employers hire more apprentices. Also pictured (L to R) are Greg Kalaitzakis, president of Minerva Painting and Decorating, signing an apprenticeship agreement with new apprentice Brandy Derby
March 20, 2014


– – –
More Job Training will help Young People Build Careers in Manitoba: Premier Selinger
Improved tax credits for hiring apprentices and journeypeople, and a new employer hiring bonus will make it easier for employers to hire apprentices and deliver on-the-job training, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.
“We’re creating a new $1,000 bonus for businesses that hire apprentices for the first time and improving apprenticeship tax credits to increase the incentive to hire,” said Premier Selinger.  “This will encourage businesses to train more Manitobans for well-paying jobs in the skilled trades including those being created by our record infrastructure investment plan.”
Under the plan, Apprenticeship Tax Credits will be made permanent and improved to a standardized rate of 15 per cent and a standardized maximum of $5,000 per hire for all levels of apprentices and newly certified journeypeople.  The application process will also be streamlined, reducing red tape by eliminating the need for pre-approval and separate claims for each level of apprenticeship completed.  The rural/northern tax credit for Level 1 and 2 apprentices will be improved by increasing the cap to $5,000 and continuing the higher rate at 20 per cent of wages and salaries.
“To grow our economy, we need more skilled workers,” said Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald.  “Working with business to create more apprenticeship training opportunities will open doors for young people and help them build their future in Manitoba.”
“The new employer hiring bonus is a great incentive for Manitoba businesses looking to engage with apprenticeship for the first time,” said Greg Kalaitzakis, president, Minerva Painting and Decorating.  “As an employer ready to sign a first-time apprentice, this is timely for us and we’re taking the initiative to attract and develop Red Seal painters because a skilled workforce is integral to our growth and success in the industry.”
The premier said the initiatives announced today are part of Manitoba’s plan to create more opportunities for young people to build their futures at home by:
  • investing in better schools with smaller classes,
  • working with businesses to create more apprenticeship training opportunities, and
  • supporting modern colleges and universities that prepare young Manitobans for the in-demand jobs of tomorrow.
These initiatives build on the new $1,000 bursary to assist apprentices completing their final year, said the minister who noted, since 1999, government has more than doubled the number of apprenticeship training seats and there are now more than 10,000 registered apprentices in Manitoba, the most in the province’s history.
The new $1,000 first-time bonus will be available as of April 1st.  The tax credit changes will be implemented for tax years ending after Dec. 31.
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Criminals lose big time

March 24, 2014

Nearly $1 million tied to criminal activity was seized in two traffic stops and then successfully forfeited to the Manitoba government, to be reinvested in law enforcement agencies and victims services through Manitoba’s criminal property forfeiture fund. Justice Minister Andrew Swan (second from left) was joined by Gord Schumacher, executive director of the forfeiture fund (left), Winnipeg Police Service Deputy Chief David Thorne (second from right) and RCMP Commanding Officer Kevin Brosseau (right) to recognize these successful seizures


– – –
Money Reinvested in Law Enforcement, Victims Services: Minister Swan

Two traffic stops have resulted in $960,000 being forfeited to the province, which will be redistributed to law enforcement and victims’ services through the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund, Justice Minister Andrew Swan announced today.

“These are some of the largest successful forfeitures in the province’s history,” said Minister Swan.  “We continue to take very large sums of money out of crime and reinvest that money across the province, supporting victims, police and public safety programs.  Our ultimate goal is to reduce crime and keep our communities safer.”

The first seizure took place following a routine traffic stop near Headingley, when the RCMP seized $735,000 being transported in a vehicle.  The second seizure took place when the Winnipeg Police Service stopped a vehicle near Headingley and located $225,000 hidden in a truck bed liner.

“Each and every seizure or investigation sends a message and makes a difference,” said Assistant Commissioner Kevin Brosseau, commanding officer of RCMP “D” Division.  “Fighting crime is a joint effort.  The RCMP works closely with government, police services, communities and organizations to ensure a safer Manitoba.”

Both of these investigations were referred to the province’s Criminal Property Forfeiture Branch, which then applied to the Court of Queen’s Bench to have the money forfeited as proceeds of crime.  Under the Criminal Property Forfeiture Act, money that has been illegally obtained or used in illegal activity can be seized and deposited into the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund.  The money is then redistributed through grants to law enforcement agencies, community organizations and victims of crime.

“Working in partnership with the province continues to show great results,” said Chief Devon Clunis, Winnipeg Police Service.  “We will continue to work together to protect our communities and ensure that crime never pays.”

Last summer, over $1 million was distributed across the province to purchase specialized equipment, provide important training opportunities for officers and support community-based crime reduction programs.  The province’s victims’ services branch also received funding to support its work.  Another series of grants funded through this program is expected to be announced in the spring.

More than $7.3 million in assets have been successfully forfeited to Manitoba through criminal property forfeitures since 2010.  There are currently more than 150 forfeiture files being pursued involving vehicles, properties and cash, the minister said.

For more information about criminal property forfeitures, visit:

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 12, 2014


The Manitoba government is supporting renal health patients by expanding renal health dialysis services at Seven Oaks General Hospital, Health Minister Erin Selby announced today, as she marked Kidney Health Month.
“Every day, dozens of Manitobans receive treatment and care for kidney disease including screening, monitoring and dialysis,” said Minister Selby.  “This new renal health dialysis unit will ensure more patients with kidney disease receive the quality care they need quickly.”
The province has provided $3 million in capital funding for a new, eight-station renal health dialysis unit at Seven Oaks General Hospital in Winnipeg, increasing the number of dialysis stations at the facility to 50.  The eight new stations can accommodate 48 additional patients per year, bringing the total number of patients that the facility can accommodate up to 300.
“Having kidney disease can significantly alter a patient’s daily routine,” said Dr. Mauro Verrelli, medical director of the Manitoba Renal Program.  “Not only will the new unit help to accommodate more dialysis patients, but it will help to strengthen the support network of health-care providers and other members from the community who have had similar health experiences.”
The risk of kidney disease is linked to several chronic conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  The minister noted the province is developing a renal health framework to focus on prevention programs, renal health outreach, and early identification and treatment, which can reduce the progression of the disease.
“The dialysis staff at Seven Oaks has helped me get back to living my life,” says Henry (Hank) Horner, a dialysis patient at Seven Oaks.  “I appreciate all of the help I’ve received from each member of the team.  They’ve helped me learn to manage my disease, my dialysis and adopt a healthy lifestyle.  Now I’m managing my own disease and able to support new patients as they start their treatment.”
The new dialysis service expansion builds on recent investments in renal health including:
  • the introduction of estimated glomerular filtration rate reporting to track the kidney health of patients, and encourage prevention and early detection of chronic kidney disease;
  • the development and implementation of to support primary health-care providers and their patients with chronic kidney disease;
  • the development of a chronic kidney disease risk-prediction tool to improve triage and reduce inappropriate referrals to renal health specialists;
  • the electronic centralization of laboratory results information to support early treatment of chronic kidney disease; and
  • support for increased organ donation including the launch of, Manitoba’s online organ donation registry.

“By focusing on prevention, screening, treatment and organ donation, we can reduce the effects of renal disease while supporting patients already diagnosed,” said Minister Selby.  “Working together, we can make a real difference for patients and reduce the burden of kidney disease for thousands of Manitobans.”

The new unit is expected to open on March 17.

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March 13, 2014


– – –
Partnerships Create Unique-in-Canada Approach to Child Concussion Treatment, Research: Premier Selinger

Children and youth with concussions will be able to receive specialized care from newly recruited concussion experts and benefit from world-class research through a partnership with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s Pan Am Clinic and the True North Foundation, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.
“From the hockey rink to the football field to the playground, our kids are staying active and having fun, but with that comes the risk of concussions,” said the premier.  “The good news is the experts in this field now have a better understanding of how to treat concussions and prevent long-term issues.  This new program will offer co-ordinated research, expert medical treatment to young people and peace of mind to their parents.”
The Pan Am Concussion Program will be located at the MTS Iceplex.  Children and youth who have suffered a concussion and require ongoing care can be referred by the Children’s Hospital to the program where concussion experts can assess a range of potential issues, such as balance or cognitive changes, develop a care plan and monitor their recovery to determine when it is safe for them to return to learning and playing.
The new program is expected to see referrals for as many as 30 patients under the age of 18 every week.  Care will be provided by a team of experts at the forefront of the field of concussion care and research.  It will be led by Dr. Michael Ellis, a neurosurgeon who trained under world concussion expert Dr. Charles Tator.  Ellis most recently worked at Toronto Western Hospital and has focused on treating and researching pediatric sport-related concussions.
“This program builds on the Pan Am Clinic’s roots and expertise as a sports medicine clinic,” said Arlene Wilgosh, president and chief executive officer of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.  “It also complements the expertise of those already working there as well as the important ongoing research being spearheaded by the clinic’s foundation.”
Referrals are already being accepted from the Children’s Hospital to Pan Am Clinic and the new clinic space at the Iceplex is expected to be ready for patient care in the fall.
“Concussions can be a particularly traumatic injury for children and youth because their brains are still developing,” said Dr. Wayne Hildahl of the Pan Am Clinic.  “This new program will bring together world-class experts in concussion care to help them return to health.”

The program will also feature a partnership with True North Foundation, the faculty of medicine at the University of Manitoba and other local experts to continue conducting innovative research into concussions including how they can most effectively be diagnosed and managed.

Some of the program experts will also act as consultants to the Winnipeg Jets on concussion injuries.

“Concussions and their long-term effects have come to light largely due to their impact on professional sports,” said Mark Chipman, board chair of the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation.  “However, concussions are not just limited to sports and to professional athletes.  This program and facility can properly assess and treat head injuries in our youth so the long-term effects of the injuries won’t be as devastating to our children’s futures.”

In addition to direct patient care and new research, the concussion program will forge partnerships with other medical professionals, teachers and minor sport to create a broad provincial focus on concussion care and safety, the premier said. This will include partnering with educational leaders to develop protocols on when and how it is safe for children to return to learning after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

“As a National Hockey League player who lost almost a whole year at one point in my career because of a concussion, I can attest to how important it is to have this problem properly diagnosed and treated even at the earliest ages,” said Jim Slater, centre for the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club.  “Concussions can be a difficult thing to recover from and the proper support is vital to making sure someone comes back at the right time and at the right pace.”

The program will also offer web-based educational resources for parents, coaches and teachers to help them:

  • identify when and where to seek care for concussions,
  • help children during their recovery, and
  • support children as they resume regular activities like school and sports.

The premier noted research findings will be applied to clinical work and have the potential to influence how concussions are cared for internationally.

“Locating this clinic at the Iceplex and connecting it with the NHL will allow us to advance research to improve the sideline assessment and management of sports concussion,” said the premier.  “This new program has the potential to serve an unmet need and will also help Manitoba become a national and world leader in concussion care and research.”

When a concussion is suspected, Manitobans should continue to seek treatment from their family doctor, pediatrician or emergency department first.

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Friday, March 07, 2014

March 4, 2014


– – –
Investment Helping Improve Quality of Life, Transition Back to Homes, Jobs: Ministers Selby, Oswald

The Manitoba government is investing $3 million over five yearswith the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Paraplegic Associationto help Manitobans with spinal cord injuries to successfully transition back into their homes and jobs and further advance health care and research initiatives in the province, Health Minister Erin Selby and Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.
“People living with spinal cord injuries often need specialized services and supports to address their health-care needs and help them adjust to their daily lives,” said Minister Selby.  “These investments will help us further improve the health and quality of life of individuals with spinal cord injuries and ensure innovative research translates into direct benefits for Manitobans.”
Funding is being provided by both the province and Manitoba Public Insurance to support:
  • transitional services to help people successfully transition back to their home and job/training program;
  • rehabilitation and vocational counselling, with specialized support for the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal Manitobans with spinal cord injuries;
  • the continuation of a successful program to prevent pressure ulcers, a major complication of spinal cord injuries, which affects the health and quality of life of patients; and
  • research including a local study of how to best help Manitobans with spinal cord injuries as they undergo treatment and rehabilitation.
“The Government of Manitoba has been an important partner in our journey towards a healthier and more inclusive world,” said Rick Hansen.  “Today’s announcement is both a testament to the incredible work that has been done by Manitobans to make a difference in the lives of those with spinal cord injury and other disabilities in the province, and recognition for what we all will be able to achieve in the future as we continue to work together.”
There are approximately 3,100 Manitobans with spinal cord injuries, with an average of 60 additional injuries each year.  While some spinal cord injuries result from motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries or violence, others are caused by a disease such as cancer, bacterial or viral infections, spinal disc degeneration or multiple sclerosis.

“The support of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Manitoba government has opened the door to a world of possibilities for me and for many others,” said Scott Coates, who lives with a spinal cord injury.  “I’m thankful for the opportunities and generous support that have helped me to achieve my career and personal goals.”

Since his injury, Coates has completed two graduate degrees and has returned to coaching AAA level hockey.  He also enjoys a successful career in public service providing supports to other people with disabilities.

Minister Selby noted the funding builds on a $3-million investment made in 2008 to support work over five years.  This partnership has helped to improve health outcomes and quality of life for Manitobans with spinal cord injuries by allowing for the acceleration of research at the University of Manitoba Spinal Cord Research Centre, the advancement of new treatment and rehabilitation techniques, and personalized support to assist Manitobans with spinal cord injuries in living independent and productive lives in their communities, she said.

Minister Oswald said this funding also supported the creation of two rehabilitation counsellor positions, which have served hundreds of Manitobans and helped 58 individuals secure employment and 81 participate in further education.  Over the past five years, the Canadian Paraplegic Association reports a 43 per cent increase in educational placements and a 56 per cent increase in employment placements.

“Spinal cord injury care is complex and lifelong, and it’s important we continue to support Manitobans who have spinalcord injuries,” said Minister Oswald.  “Working together, we can help people live independently, contribute to the economy and help them maintain healthy lives with their families.”

Since its establishment in 1988, the Rick Hansen Foundation has funded research to provide better care and outcomes for those who sustain a spinal cord injury, and contributed to improving accessibility for people with disabilities.  For more information, visit

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March 4, 2014


Manitoba’s Year of Music celebrations received a boost today with the launch of a new app that helps audiences connect with live shows and music venues throughout the province, Premier Greg Selinger has announced.
“With so many great bands and legendary venues to choose from during Juno Week and throughout the Year of Music, we want tourists and local fans alike to find their favourite artists without missing a beat,”said Premier Selinger.  “The Manitoba Live music app sets a new industry standard by making it easier than ever for fans to connect with their favourite shows and venues.  Hats off to the talented folks at Visual Lizard and Guppy Design for creating this user-friendly and beautifully designed app.”
The new mobile phone and tablet app called Manitoba Live is a free iOS app that helps music fans find concerts in venues and clubs in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba. The app features the most up-to-date concert and festival listings.  Music fans will be able to instantly find live music events by venue, date and artist, and search which shows are happening close to them at any given time. 
“This new mobile app is truly a big win for Manitoba,” said Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux.  “Not only is it the best on-the-go live music calendar in the country, it will provide support to our vibrant hospitality industry throughout the JUNOs, the Year of Music and beyond.”
“Manitoba’s collaborative music scene is already the envy of the country.  This mobile phone app sets a new standard that we believe will get the attention of music industry associations across the continent,” said Sara Stasiuk, executive director of Manitoba Music and co-chair of the Year of Music organizing committee.  “This app says it loud and proud that in Manitoba, we speak music.”
Manitoba Live is being launched with heavy social media integration, contests to engage music fans and a series of pop-up concerts in unique venues featuring artists with strong fan bases.  The app can be used to share the hottest gigs with friends and help create buzz around local live music events, said the premier, adding enhancements are planned throughout the year.  The app has been designed to work with Apple iOS, however, it will be adapted to other mobile phone operating systems in the future.  
“The Manitoba Live app is a cutting-edge tool that will connect people at the Junos and throughout the Year of Music.  But the music doesn’t stop at the end of the year and the app allows us to add new features and make improvements as we go along,” said Doug Ross of Visual Lizard.
The Year of Music is a year-long celebration that will shine a spotlight on JUNO week at the end of March, the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards in September and the BreakOut West music festival and Western Canadian Music Awards in October.  Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries is the presenting sponsor of the Year of Music and has partnered with Manitoba Music to develop the Manitoba Live app.
Premier Selinger also announced today that in addition to the more than 30 festivals and large events taking place throughout 2014, Manitoba is advancing new opportunities to the hospitality industry to host live music during the Junos and throughout the year thanks to changes to Manitoba’s liquor laws, which will take effect officially April 1. Venues will have the ability to advertise performances through the app, enhancing participation in the Year of Music.
The premier noted that Manitoba boasts approximately4,000 music entrepreneurs and 368 music companies.  According to a recent economic impact study commissioned by Manitoba Music, the industry generated a total GDP impact of $71.3 million, supporting the equivalent of 4,363 jobs.  The Juno Awards alone are expected to contribute $10 million to the Manitoba economy.
Manitoba Live is available for free download at Live app with Doug Ross of Visual Lizard at JUNO event.
March 5, 2014


A new $5.5-billion, five-year plan will focus on building Manitoba’s core infrastructure priorities and create more than 58,900 jobs, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton and Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“In past decades, economic uncertainty brought cuts and there was not enough infrastructure investment to keep up the aging roads, highways, bridges and flood protection that Manitobans rely on,” said Minister Ashton.  “We are making this historic investment because we know restoring and expanding our infrastructure is actually even more important during economic uncertainty.  These investments keep our businesses competitive and create good jobs for families.”

The Five-Year Plan to Build a Stronger Manitobawill use every dollar raised from the
one-cent-on-the-dollar increase in the PST with new investments in core infrastructure including:

  • more than $3.7 billion will be invested in Manitoba roads, highways and bridges to better connect communities and strengthen trade corridors;
  • $320 million will be invested in flood protection around the province to better protect more communities from flooding; and
  • more than $1.5 billion will be invested in municipal roads, clean water and other municipal infrastructure to help meet the needs of Manitoba’s many growing communities.

“For every dollar that we invest in our plan, we will see an even bigger boost to our economy,” said Minister Oswald.  “We’re also investing in training in the trades and in apprenticeships to ensure that Manitobans have the skills that industry needs in order to fill the tens of thousands of jobs our plan is creating.  We’re focused on providing opportunities for young people so they can build their futures right here at home.”

Highlights from an independent analysis conducted by the Conference Board of Canada and released today projects that Manitoba’s $5.5-billion investment in core infrastructure will:

  • boost Manitoba’s economy by $6.3 billion,
  • boost exports by $5.4 billion, and
  • boost retail sales by $1.4 billion.

The Conference Board of Canada also estimates these investments will create 58,900 jobs and that each dollar invested in the five-year plan will benefit Manitoba’s economy by $1.16.

The five-year plan is the product of many consultations with municipalities, business and labour leaders and industry associations across Manitoba, the ministers noted.

“To keep Manitoba competitive and build our core infrastructure, we all have a part to play, that’s why this plan is so important,” said Chris Lorenc, president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association.  “We have to get started.  We have to plan ahead to get the most for our dollar and when there are delays, we have to work together to carry those resources forward and get the job done.”

“The five-year plan released today is very important to the continued development of CentrePort Canada as it focuses public investment in two key areas – building Manitoba’s economic infrastructure and building our key trade gateways and corridors,” said Diane Gray, president and CEO of CentrePort Canada Inc.

Progress on the five-year plan, as well as its economic impacts, will be independently reviewed and publicly reported annually, the ministers added.

The five-year plan can be found at
March 5, 2014


– – –
From the Street in Front of Your House to the Road to Work or School, Winnipeggers will have a Smoother, Safer Ride: Premier Selinger, Mayor Katz

The Manitoba government is investing a quarter of a billion dollars to repair and rebuild Winnipeg streets and sidewalks over the next five years, Premier Greg Selinger announced today with Mayor Sam Katz at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
“I want Winnipeggers to have a safe, smooth ride wherever their day takes them.  Working with the city, we will do everything from patching potholes to completing street and intersection rebuilds,” said Premier Selinger.  “We know the roads we are building today will benefit us and the next generation because building first-rate infrastructure attracts first-rate industry and jobs.” 
The premier noted the funding agreement will add a total of $66 million in all new funding over the next five years to existing road improvement programs in Winnipeg, making it the largest-ever Winnipeg street renewal investment.
“Winnipeggers have been clear that it’s time to rebuild our roads and we are listening,” said Katz.  “Like us, the province is making infrastructure a priority.  This additional funding allows us to make the most of Winnipeg’s short construction season and to expand our capacity to get the job done.”
The additional funding will allow major new road reconstruction projects to proceed this year, the premier said.  When new funding is combined with extended and continuing financial support from the Province of Manitoba, this partnership with the City of Winnipeg will fund more than 100 individual road, back lane and sidewalk repair projects this year.
“The funding being announced today shows what the province and city can do to keep Winnipeg competitive when we work together,” said Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief, minister responsible for the City of Winnipeg.  “This agreement allows the City of Winnipeg to plan ahead, starting more road repair projects all over the city that will have an immediate impact in Winnipeg neighbourhoods.”
Examples of road repair projects now scheduled for 2014 include:
  • King Edward Street from Logan Avenue to Legion Avenue;
  • Berrydale Avenue from St. George Road to Ste. Anne’s Road; and
  • Kildare Avenue from Brewster Street to Day Street.
Examples of road repair projects now scheduled for 2015 include:
  • Berry Street from Wellington Avenue to Sargent Avenue; and
  • intersection reconstruction at Sturgeon Road in the Murray Industrial Park.
“This agreement with the city is part of a $5.5-billion, five-year plan for the whole province announced earlier today with investments in strategic trade routes, flood protection and other core infrastructure that will grow our economy and create good jobs,” the premier said.  “The last generation of roads and bridges served us well over the last 50 years and now we must restore that infrastructure to ensure its reliability and safety, at the same time as we expand it for our growing population and economy.”
A complete project list of street and sidewalk renewal projects is available at:
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Manitoba Budget 2014

March 6, 2014


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Budget 2014 Delivers More Opportunities for Our Kids to Build a Future in Manitoba: Minister Howard

Budget 2014 is a balanced plan to create good jobs and more opportunities for young people to build their futures in Manitoba, while keeping life affordable and protecting the front-line services families count on, Finance Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.
“What I want for my child is the same thing all parents want, and that’s good opportunities that allow our kids to build a great life right here at home,” said Minister Howard.  “This budget is focused on what matters most to Manitoba families, investing in their priorities like infrastructure, education and training.  These investments will create good jobs and grow our economy.”
Highlights of Budget 2014 include more apprenticeship and training opportunities to help grow Manitoba’s workforce by 75,000 by 2020 and a five-year plan to invest $5.5 billion in core infrastructure to improve the province’s roads, bridges, flood protection and municipal infrastructure and create tens of thousands of jobs.  The minister said these investments will be made as the government continues to make steady progress on its plan to restore budget balance by 2016-17.
“We will continue to reject calls for reckless, across-the-board cuts that would return us to a time when our roads, hospitals and schools were falling apart, front-line nurses and teachers were put out of work, and our young people were leaving for opportunities elsewhere,” said Minister Howard.  “We’ve chosen a different path, one that creates jobs and keeps our economy growing steadily through uncertain times while keeping life affordable and protecting the services Manitoba families count on.”
The minister noted an independent analysis conducted by the Conference Board of Canada that projects Manitoba’s $5.5-billion investment in core infrastructure will create 58,900 jobs, boosting the province’s economy by $6.3 billion and increasing exports by $5.4 billion.
The minister also highlighted new measures in Budget 2014 aimed at achieving further administrative savings to be reinvested in front-line services for families including the extension of corporate administrative spending caps to all regional health authorities and the creation of a lean council tasked with providing advice to government on new ways to offer better services more efficiently across government departments.
“Manitobans expect and deserve excellent public services and they expect government to use their tax dollars wisely to ensure these services are delivered as efficiently as possible,” said the minister.  “By modernizing the way we do business we will continue to find ways to keep our costs low.”
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