Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014


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Updated Legislation Would Strengthen Consumer Rights: Minister Lemieux

Manitoba condominium owners and buyers will have stronger consumer protection through a proposed new condominium act, Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux announced today.
“We recognize the growing popularity of condo ownership as a housing option, and the new condominium act strengthens consumers’ rights when buying condominiums and provides better consumer protection for Manitoba condo owners,” said Minister Lemieux.  “These protections will benefit new and existing condo owners now and for years to come.”
The proposed new condominium act would ensure Manitoba condo buyers would have better protection through measures such as:
  • extending the cooling-off period to seven days from 48 hours;
  • enhancing cancellation rights, that would allow buyers to cancel if any material changes are made to what was promised before they move in;
  • creating enhanced disclosure of items such as the cooling-off period and cancellation rights;
  • requiring developers to conduct a reserve fund study before selling any units that are converted from apartments so the buyers would have a clear view of the building’s condition before they buy;
  • ensuring unit owners would have a voice on the developer’s board; and
  • giving buyers a projection of anticipated operating costs for the first year that owners would pay common expenses and would require the developer to pay the difference if real costs exceed the estimate.
Current condo owners, condo corporations and condo boards would also benefit under the new proposed act by:
  • providing better information through a reserve fund study that would let unit owners know what large repairs may be needed in the near future; 
  • having better management as boards would be better able to enforce bylaws and rules through fines for non‑compliant owners; and
  • introducing new requirements that would also ensure directors of boards, including developers’ boards, must act in the best interests of the condo corporation.

“We are thrilled by the positive innovations and improvements contained in the proposed condominium act,” said Robert Giesbrecht, chair, national government relations committee, the Canadian Condominium Institute.  “Many of our members have been advocating for these changes for some time and we are pleased that Manitoba’s condominium laws are being modernized and strengthened.”

It is estimated there are about 50,000 Manitobans living in condominiums.  Condominium corporations will receive notification of the changes by mail and be given time to make the necessary changes if needed.  The proposed legislation would take effect Feb. 1, 2015, Minister Lemieux said.

For more information on many topics and a plain language explanation of the major changes in the proposed legislation go to

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Cottage Lots

June 19, 2014


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136 Lots Added to the First-come, First-served Cottage Lot Program

Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship advises that on June 26 Manitobans will have the first opportunity to select from new first-come, first-served cottage lots available across the province.

Following the eastern area lot selection meeting and the 2013 cottage lot draw, 126 lots in existing subdivisions are now available for purchase or lease through the First-come, First-served Cottage Lot Program.  The new additions include 49 lakefront, nine lake-view and 23 provincial park lots.  In addition, 10 lots not claimed after two or more cottage lot draws and returned to the province will be made available for sale or lease.

Since the program began in 2009, 142 lots have been sold or leased.

Manitoba residents can apply in person from June 26 to July 9 at 200 Saulteaux Cres. in Winnipeg or by mail as of July 10.  Non-Manitoba residents can apply starting on Oct. 24.

More information on new inventory, program rules and guidelines for the First-come, First-served Cottage Lot Program is available at

Focus is on Income assistance Participants finding good jobs

June 19, 2014


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Manitoba Works! and Rent Assist Programs Will Help Meet Growing Demand for Skilled Workers, Reduce Poverty: Minister Oswald

The Manitoba government is introducing two new programs that will help employment and income assistance participants find good jobs while continuing to grow the province’s skilled workforce, Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“Employers have told us that more skilled workers are necessary so they can expand and grow, while community advocates have told us that greater supports are necessary to help those in need,” said Minister Oswald.  “Manitoba Works! and Rent Assist will help low-income Manitobans succeed at work and increase their income, while also helping Manitoba’s economy meet the growing demand for skilled workers.”

Through the Manitoba Works! Co-operative Work Experience Program, community-based organizations will help more than 250 employment and income assistance (EIA) participants to overcome barriers to employment and the challenges in finding and keeping good jobs, the minister said.  The program is currently being piloted at four sites in the province including Opportunities for Employment, the Momentum Centre and Reaching E-Quality Employment Services in Winnipeg, and FireSpirit in northern Manitoba.

“The Manitoba Works! program gave me an opportunity to develop new skills and get a good job,” said Karl Anderson, employee, Shoppers Drug Mart.  “At the same time, it’s helped me develop confidence and understand what I have to offer an employer.  I’m really excited about my future, thanks to Manitoba Works!”

A defining feature of Manitoba Works! is the co-operative work experience that links individuals with employers who need skilled workers, Minister Oswald said.  Community service providers, after providing training and job placement services, will continue with comprehensive supports for both the worker and the employer, to ensure that once a link to employment is made, individuals will have every opportunity to continue to realize their workforce potential, she added.

“We commend government for taking this innovative approach to helping employers, particularly when hiring individuals who face challenging barriers to employment,” said Amir Baksh, owner, Winnipeg Shoppers Drug Mart.  “Manitoba Works! is a win-win endeavour that will address skill shortages and help individuals who are having difficulty finding a job to realize their full potential.  We are thrilled to be a part of it.”

Manitoba Works! is part of the provincial skills strategy, building towards the government’s goal of increasing Manitoba’s labour force by 75,000 workers by 2020.

Minister Oswald also announced details on Manitoba’s Rent Assist program, a new financial benefit available to both social assistance recipients and other low-income Manitobans.  Rent Assist will replace the current EIA shelter allowance and RentAid programs.

“We know that just raising welfare rates can create poverty traps, where those trying to make the transition from welfare to work may be worse off working than on welfare,” said Minister Oswald.  “That is why the Rent Assist program increases benefits for both social assistance recipients and low-income workers.  It is portable and will follow people into jobs, promoting transitions to employment, and goes hand-in-hand with Manitoba Works! and the enhanced efforts to connect individuals to good jobs and financial independence.”

Individuals on EIA living in private rental accommodations will receive increases of between $50 and $70 per month for shelter costs.  Single individuals, for example, will now receive $435 dollars per month, compared to the previous $365 per month.

Minister Oswald also reiterated the government’s commitment that rates will increase over a four-year period to 75 per cent of Median Market Rent (MMR) for EIA participants.

Individuals outside of EIA will receive a maximum of $270 per month with benefits gradually declining as recipients increase their earnings.  A new Rent Assist calculator will be available online in July to help Manitobans determine if they are eligible for Rent Assist and their estimated benefit amount, the minister said.

“Community stakeholders asked for an increase in shelter benefits for those on social assistance, and we are very pleased the government has responded with a benefit that will help not only those on social assistance, but low-income Manitobans more broadly,” said Kirsten Bernas, research and policy manager, the Canadian Community Economic Development Network.  “For those who are able to work, a good job with the right supports provides a path out of poverty and promotes social inclusion.  Rent Assist will make this path an easier one for people to take, while providing more low-income Manitobans with greater access to affordable housing.”

Manitoba Works! and Rent Assist are part of Manitoba’s Strategy for Sustainable Employment and a Stronger Labour Market.  For more information, visit:

Manitoba Service Excellence Award

June 20, 2014


Exceptional contributions by provincial employees in the service of the public and government were recognized by Premier Greg Selinger today at the 16th annual Manitoba Service Excellence Awards.

“The Manitoba government’s plan to steadily grow the economy and create good jobs is working in large part because of the strong efforts by the Manitoba civil servants who design, manage and deliver the programs and services that keep this province moving forward,” said Premier Selinger.  “I extend my sincere congratulations to all the recipients of this year’s awards.  I would like to thank all provincial civil servants for the hard work they do and their commitment to serving the people of Manitoba.”

The awards recognize excellence in workplace performance and community service.  They include an award for cross-sector teams of provincial government and external partners such as public-sector, volunteer or community-based organizations, whose efforts foster excellence in meeting public needs and improved programs and services for Manitobans.

Awards were presented for the following:

  • Premier’s Career Achievement Award – Irvin (Issie) Frost, Manitoba Justice;
  • Leadership Award – Jon Gunn, Manitoba Municipal Government;
  • Service Excellence IndividualAward – Susan Turbett, Manitoba Jobs and the Economy;
  • InnovationAward –General Child and Family Services, Building Futures Team;
  • Service Excellence TeamAward –Manitoba Municipalities Online Implementation Team; and
  • PartnershipAward – Subdivision Review – Joint Technical Advisory Committee.

The Manitoba Service Excellence Awards were established through Service Quality Partners and were presented for the first time in 1999.

Awarded the distinction of being one of Manitoba’s Top Employers for 2013 and 2014, the Government of Manitoba is one of the province’s largest employers with over 14,000 employees, the premier said, adding provincial employees make up a talented, highly skilled and professional workforce that reflects the diversity of the people of Manitoba.

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Bits and Bytes Manitoba News

Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum, Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief and Winnipeg School Division Board Chair Suzanne Hrynyk pictured with the Eagles Singers Drum Group from R.B. Russell Vocational High School. Minister Allum today announced new tutoring supports for academic skills and upgrades to shop classes at the high school

Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald announcing the Manitoba Works! Co-operative Work Experience Program, along with the new Rent Assist Program. Joining the Minister are (L to R): Karl Anderson, Shoppers Drug Mart employee; Amir Baksh, owner/operator of two Shoppers Drug Mart locations; Shawn Mahoney, Executive Director, Opportunities for Employment; and Kirsten Bernas, Research and Policy Manager, Canadian Community Economic Development Network Manitoba

Health Minister Erin Selby (left), announced that the second of three mobile clinics will begin seeing patients this fall in Southern Health – Sante Sud. The Southern Health–Santé Sud mobile clinic will gradually introduce services first in the communities of Dominion City and Woodridge, followed by Plumas, Langruth and St. Ambroise, the minister said. Kathy McPhail, CEO Southern Health–Santé Sud and MLA Thomas Nevakshonoff are seen here with the Minister during the announcement

Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh, Rob Nedotiafko and Laureen Janusz from the department announce phase I of the zebra mussel treatment program is complete, and extensive monitoring will continue
 Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh and Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton announce Manitoba’s comprehensive Surface Water Management Strategy with representatives of Ducks Unlimited, Keystone Agricultural Producers and the Lake Winnipeg Foundation

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cultural Centres get boost

May 27, 2014


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Investments Help Strengthen Neighbourhoods, Create Opportunities for Families: Minister Bjornson

The Manitoba government is investing in recreational, cultural and learning opportunities for families in communities across Manitoba, with support of $2.9 million under the Community Places program, Housing and Community Development Minister Peter Bjornson said today.

“We know communities and neighbourhoods thrive when they have a range of healthy options for recreation, wellness and culture,” said Minister Bjornson.  “We are providing support to 227 community groups who will develop and maintain these important facilities.  The funding will also help leverage over $13 million in support from other sources.”

The Community Places program provides funding and planning assistance to non-profit community organizations to build, upgrade, expand or acquire projects.  Applicants contribute to project costs through local fundraising efforts, grants from other sources or donated labour and materials.

“This year’s projects include museums, playgrounds, multi-use and recreation facilities, child-care centres, libraries, community halls and seniors’ facilities,” said Minister Bjornson.  “The projects can include critical repairs such as fire-safety upgrades, energy-efficiency improvements as well as access upgrades for people with disabilities.”

Among the community groups approved for a grant this year are:

  • École Viscount Alexander School, Winnipeg – $15,000 for phase four of school field improvements including walking trails, bridges and landscaping;
  • the Exchange Community Building, Winnipeg – $40,000 for window replacement and energy upgrades;
  • the Ashley Neufeld softball complex, Brandon – $30,000 toward the installation of a field-irrigation system;
  • the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #11, Morden – $30,000 for renovations to make the washrooms more accessible;
  • Camp Massad, Winnipeg Beach – $25,000 to improve drainage and accessibility;
  • Rotary Park Interactive Play Trail, Thompson – $19,000 for construction of the trail;
  • the community of Waterhen – $10,000 for recreation centre/hall renovations to make the washrooms more accessible; and
  • the community of Lorette – $5,000 toward construction of soccer fields and outdoor rink amenities.

Since its inception, Community Places has provided more than $110million to support over 7,200 community construction projects provincewide.  These grants have leveraged an estimated $730 million in infrastructure improvements in both rural and urban communities.

More information on Community Places and a list of this year’s approved grants can be found at

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Get justice from Small Claims Court Easier

May 12, 2014


The Manitoba government is proposing changes to small claims court that would improve its ability to efficiently and effectively resolve monetary disputes valued at under $10,000, Justice Minister Andrew Swan said today.

“Small claims court helps Manitobans resolve their differences effectively and fairly,” said Minister Swan.  “These changes will result in a more streamlined and accessible system, while also supporting the important work of the province’s court officers.”

The proposed legislation would see the majority of these matters continuing to be heard by small claims court officers that would ensure access to justice can be achieved fairly, within a reasonable time frame and at a reasonable cost, the minister said.  Changes proposed under the Court of Queen’s Bench small claims practices amendment act today would include:

  • allowing court officers and judges to admit into evidence anything considered relevant to the matter;
  • recording all evidence given at a hearing so the transcript is available for an appeal, if one occurs;
  • requiring court officers or judges to issue a summary of their reasons for a decision, which will help inform whether appeals are granted; and
  • allowing appeals only on points of law or jurisdiction, with approval from the Court of Queen’s Bench to proceed.

Disputes involving the provincial government or a government agency would continue to be heard by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge instead of a small claims court officer.  In these matters, appeals would be heard by the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

Manitoba’s small claims court hears about 4,000 matters every year.  For more information about small claims court, visit

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Skip the Dishes to Create New Jobs

June 5, 2014


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Training, Tax Credit Support for Sophisticated New Technology Secures Good Jobs, Training Opportunities for Manitobans: Minister Oswald

The Manitoba government and SkipTheDishes announced today the company will undertake a major expansion that will establish their national headquarters in Winnipeg and create 93 local jobs, said Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald and Josh Simair, founder and chief executive officer for SkipTheDishes. 

“Our government is focused on creating good jobs and training opportunities so young Manitobans have every opportunity to build their future here at home, and this partnership is a good example of what we’re doing with to achieve that,” said Minister Oswald.  “Josh Simair and his team at SkipTheDishes represent a new generation of tech-savvy entrepreneurs who are creating products and services people want, which is helping drive our steady economic growth.”

SkipTheDishes provides door-to-door delivery service from more than 500 restaurants across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, with an expansion into British Columbia currently underway.  The company uses a sophisticated proprietary algorithm dispatch system that enables it to process thousands of orders at performance levels that exceed industry standards ensuring food arrives on time and hot.  It also includes an easy online payment and tipping system.

The new Winnipeg-based jobs will include operations managers, dispatchers, marketing and graphics, IT operators and developers, human resources, administrative support and accounting. Pay will range from $30,000 to 90,000 per year. Delivery drivers are subcontracted and not included in the 93 new jobs announced today.

“Our Winnipeg corporate headquarters will support our algorithmic food-delivery dispatch technology – the key driver behind’s exponential growth and market-leading position,” said Simair.  “The support we’ve received in Manitoba for our growing Canadian technology company has helped us establish SkipTheDishes as a leader in the exciting space of online food delivery.”

The Manitoba government is supporting the SkipTheDishes expansion, securing its national headquarters in Winnipeg with an investment of $300,000 through the Industry Expansion and Workforce Development program.  This support will help the company restructure, train 93 new hires and 25 existing staff, and position it well for a sustainable future here in Manitoba, Minister Oswald said.  In addition, the province is providing $25,000 through the Commercialization Support for Business (CSB) program to help further develop the company’s proprietary technology and $77,000 through the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit program. 

“SkipTheDishes has worked very well for us at Shawarma Khan,” said Obby Khan, owner, Shawarma Khan Restaurant and the Green Juice Company, and SkipTheDishes client.  “An efficient delivery service is an important part of keeping my customers happy.  SkipTheDishes has made deliveries a snap, which has allowed me to focus on growing my business.”

SkipTheDishes was founded by brothers Josh and Chris Simair out of the need for better online food delivery in Western Canada.  The company currently employs over 40 people and works with over 100 food couriers to deliver foods from restaurants to customers in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Red Deer and now Calgary.

Simair said SkipTheDishes is very appreciative of the support received from Yes! Winnipeg including specific information on why Winnipeg was the best choice to locate its national headquarters and arranging key connections to secure workforce and suppliers, and support from the province.

Initial provincial support for SkipTheDishes came from the CSB program, which helps Manitoba businesses seeking to develop and commercialize innovative products, processes and expansion into new markets.  The program may help entrepreneurs at any stage of the business development cycle.

Based on advice received from businesses participating in the CSB program, Minister Oswald also announced changes to streamline the program and improve its ability to help businesses grow.  The program will:

  • ensure that 90 per cent of applications under Stream 1 (commercialization) will be processed within 21 days;
  • streamline the application review process with a single point-of-contact for business;
  • simplify the program by reducing the number of streams to four from seven;
  • double maximum funding under Stream 1 (commercialization) to $50,000 from $25,000; and
  • lift the 10 per cent in-kind contributions limit from the applicant business.

“Entrepreneurs know what they need to succeed and we have listened,” said Minister Oswald. “We are reducing red tape and streamlining programs designed to help Manitoba businesses grow and create jobs.”

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Humans of Manitoba


Manitoba Grieves with Moncton for RCMP Officers' Deaths

June 5, 2014


Manitobans are grieving at the senseless murders of three RCMP officers in Moncton yesterday.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen officers and our hopes for a swift recovery are with the two officers who were wounded in the line of duty.

This is a stark reminder of the risks taken by law enforcement officers on a daily basis, as well as the commitment and sacrifices made by the RCMP and their families.  I would like to commend the efforts of the RCMP and first responders who are responsible for protecting the citizens of Moncton in what must have been, and continues to be, an unimaginably stressful situation.

We stand with our fellow Canadians to offer our support and our deepest sympathies to our friends in New Brunswick during this extremely difficult time.

Opportunities for Manitobans with disabilities

June 3, 2014


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Provincial Government, Red River College Mark Access Awareness Week with New Program to Create Education, Employment Opportunities: Minister Howard

A new pilot program at Red River College (RRC) this fall will provide individuals with intellectual disabilities new educational opportunities focused on successful transitions into good jobs, Finance Minister Jennifer Howard, the minister responsible for persons with disabilities, announced today.
“This new program is an excellent way to improve accessibility to education while supporting the government’s goal to grow the workforce by 75,000 workers,” said Minister Howard.  “Once students complete the program, they will be better positioned to take advantage of job opportunities and build a strong future here in Manitoba.”
The 20-student Transforming Futures program will begin in September 2014 and will include hands-on learning in career exploration, essential employability skills and full integration into RRC programming if a student chooses this option.
“Red River College’s vision aligns with the goals of this program:  to enable all students to build a career, enhance quality of life and contribute to Manitoba’s economic and social prosperity through exceptional applied education and research,” said Stephanie Forsyth, president and chief executive officer, Red River College.  “This is the largest college in the province, and we are uniquely positioned to deliver accessible, innovative programming for students with intellectual disabilities and, with the financial support by the province and support of community champions and private donors, this pilot project is ready for launch.”
A 2013 report from the Canadian Association for Community Living estimated that 70 per cent of adults with intellectual disabilities are unemployed or out of the labour force, and are also three times more likely than non-disabled Canadians to live in poverty.  RRC will be working closely with employers to ensure the program leads to successful job matches for graduates.
“At Bison Transport and the Jessiman Foundation, we are honoured to be supporters of the Transforming Futures program,” said Peter Jessiman, president, Wescan Capital Inc.  “This is one of the most innovative initiatives we have seen in years and we believe it will fundamentally transform the lives of its participants.  We applaud the Government of Manitoba for seeing and supporting the incredible potential of this program and, as a large Manitoba-based employer, look forward to the opportunity of having the graduates working in our organization.”

“We are working closely with employers and educational institutions to make sure that all Manitobans can benefit from the province’s low unemployment rate and steady economic growth,” said Minister Howard.  “Removing barriers and increasing accessibility to education is one key way to ensure Manitobans have the opportunity to take part and further strengthen the workforce.”

The Manitoba government is providing $266,000 to support the pilot program, the minister said.  Registration for the new program will begin June 9 and more information can be found at

Minister Howard added Manitoba’s commitment to disability inclusion recently became law.  The building blocks of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act are accessibility standards that apply to public and private sectors, and target the five areas of customer service, information and communication, transportation, employment and the built environment.

Consultations on the customer service standard will be held on Tuesday, June 17 by webcast and in-person from 1 to 4 p.m. as well asWednesday, June 18 (in-person only) from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Best Western Plus Airport Hotel at 1715 Wellington Ave. in Winnipeg.  Registration each day is at 12:30 p.m.

The minister made the announcements during Manitoba Access Awareness Week, celebrated annually to raise awareness of the barriers facing Manitobans with disabilities.  Individuals with disabilities, organizations and business are encouraged to find ways to prevent and remove barriers to a full and inclusive society.

Details about the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, consultations on the proposed customer service standard and Manitoba Access Awareness Week events are available at

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Expansion of Nutrition Program for Manitoba Sschools

June 5, 2014


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Providing New Funding to Help Provide More Healthy Food for School-aged Children: Minister Allum

The Manitoba government is strengthening its partnership with the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba (CNCM) by providing new funding to help support more nutrition programs for school-aged children across the province, Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum announced today.

“The council strengthens the health and well-being of children and youth in Manitoba schools through education, advocacy and nutrition program support,” said Minister Allum.  “This new funding will ensure they can continue to provide this important service.  Nutritious food helps to feed the mind and body, and by working together we can ensure it remains accessible in schools around the province.”

The Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba is a charitable organization based in Manitoba.  Since 2001, it has supported nutrition programs and raised awareness about the need for food and nutrition policies in schools.  Its work with the province has resulted in increased access to healthy food for school-age children and youth through breakfast and snack programs.

The additional $450,000 in new funding will help the CNCM to engage with high-need school nutrition programs and provide support that will allow for the development of new programs, the minister said.

“It’s because of this critical investment in daily nutrition that thousands of children and youth in Manitoba will be healthier and better prepared to learn, succeed and reach their full potential,” said Viola Prowse, executive director, CNCM.  “An additional benefit to communities is the positive relationships that are built between participants, school staff and volunteers.”

The province has been helping the CNCM to support 177 nutrition programs and 48 vegetable and fruit snack programs throughout the province since 2008 including:

  • 21 programs with First Nations and the Frontier School Division;
  • 78 rural programs (and urban outside Winnipeg);
  • 62 Winnipeg programs;
  • nine alternative programs;
  • seven summer learning and after-school programs; and

“This new funding will help ensure students start their days off right with healthy food to prepare them for learning,” said Healthy Living and Seniors Minister Sharon Blady.  “Through nutrition programs, more children and youth can experience a healthy approach to breakfast or snack foods and gain food skills and confidence that can also be shared at home.”

“Dalhousie School recognizes our important role in nutrition education and learning,” said Marina Wilson, principal.  “We support all of our families by ensuring students are given the opportunity to participate in our nutrition program for breakfast and snacks.  Nutrition and hydration are essential parts of the foundation for a student’s healthy living, growth and development for learning.”

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Government -updates

Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum, Health Minister Erin Selby, MLA Bidhu Jha and Louis Riel School Division Board Chair Hugh Coburn with Gr. 12 students from Collège Béliveau, where Minister Allum today announced new funding for 21 science labs in schools across the province


Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum, Health Minister Erin Selby, MLA Bidhu Jha and Louis Riel School Division Board Chair Hugh Coburn with Gr. 12 students from Collège Béliveau, where Minister Allum today announced new funding for 21 science labs in schools across the province

Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief and Councillor Mike Pagtakhan join students enjoying the new playground equipment at King Edward School.