Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government released its 2021 budget on Wednesday afternoon, and it included dozens of announcements covering a variety of areas from healthcare to COVID-19 relief programs to infrastructure, to education and tax breaks.
Here are some of the highlights:
Protecting Manitobans with COVID-19
The top priority of Budget 2021 is to continue to protect Manitobans during the ongoing pandemic. This includes $ 1.18 billion in 2021-2022 for the costs of COVID-19, including personal protective equipment (PPE), vaccine deployment, education supports, and future needs.
Health care funding increases by $ 156 million to the highest level in Manitoba history of $ 6.98 billion, helping to build a stronger health care system with better care, faster. Health care commitments include:
• Confirmation of capital of $ 812 million for rural and northern health care as part of the multi-year plan for clinical and preventive services;
• $ 50 million to reduce wait times for hip, knee and cataract procedures, as well as surgeries and services delayed by the pandemic;
• $ 23 million more for cancer treatments and $ 2.7 million to expand dialysis;
• $ 9.3 million to add more than 120 personal care home beds; and
• continued glucose meter coverage for eligible children and youth under 25 and increased insulin pump coverage to 25 from 18 years of age.
The pandemic has profoundly affected the mental health of many Manitobans. Budget 2021 includes an initial amount of $ 342 million for programs and services within the new Ministry of Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery, plus an additional $ 1.7 million for the Strategy. mental health and addictions issues and an additional $ 1.8 million for 24/7 housing support for Manitobans with diagnosed mental disorders. health conditions.
Protect Manitoba Families
The province will continue to lift Manitobans out of poverty by providing safe, affordable housing and strengthening social services, thanks to an increase of almost $ 34 million to the Ministry of Families. The 2021 budget includes:
• nearly $ 4 million more for early learning and child care, with operating grants of $ 1.6 million to child care centers supporting 392 spaces opened over the past year, approximately 150 new spaces in capital projects open over the next year, plus 50 new homes – licensed child care spaces;
• Rent control directive frozen until 2023 and an additional $ 22 million for rent assistance;
• Increase of $ 12.5 million for community integration and disability services;
• $ 2.56 million to support homeless Manitobans; and
• nearly $ 2 million to pilot three new workforce training and support programs for Employment Income Assistance (EIA) clients.
Budget 2021 provides for a record investment of more than $ 3 billion in the public school system. Global support for education includes:
• over $ 78 million for costs related to COVID-19 through the Safe Schools Fund;
• $ 5.5 million for special needs funding;
• $ 5 million to advance the Better Education Starts Today (BEST) strategy to improve the education system, plus an education funding guarantee of at least $ 1.6 billion in additional investment over four years;
• nearly $ 4 million to support online, distance and distance learning;
• a new refundable tax credit for educational expenses that will allow daycare and kindergarten to grade 12 educators to claim a 15% refund up to $ 1,000 on eligible supplies not reimbursed by their employer; and
• A $ 100 million increase in funding for school capital projects to speed up construction of the 20 New Schools Guarantee, build major additions and carry out renovations.
Budget 2021 invests in public safety to keep families safe in their homes and communities and to support victims of crime:
• $ 16.5 million for the operation of the Manitoba Public Safety Communications Service’s new radio system;
• up to $ 2.9 million to correct the backlog in the court system caused by COVID-19;
• an additional $ 815,000 to increase support for domestic violence and the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls; and
• $ 1.2 million in restorative justice initiatives for First Nations and Métis communities.
Budget 2021 leaves more money on the kitchen tables of Manitoba families by offering the guaranteed $ 2,020 tax cut one year ahead of schedule:
• phase out school property taxes of 50 percent over the next two years (25 percent per year) for residential and agricultural properties, and 10 percent for other types of property, with discounts of nearly 250 million dollars to approximately 658,000 homeowners this year and an average rebate of $ 1,140 over two years;
• elimination of the retail sales tax (RST) on personal services, including haircuts and salon services, effective December;
• reduce vehicle registration fees by an additional 10 percent from July; and
• Indexing the basic personal amount and personal income tax brackets to inflation so that an additional 1,500 Manitobans will not have to pay provincial income tax for 2021.
“We know Manitobans deserve a break, especially during this pandemic,” said Finance Minister Scott Fielding. “That’s why we’ll take even more steps to protect your income by reducing the taxes you pay and helping you keep more of your hard-earned money with you, where it belongs. “
Budget 2021 protects Manitoba’s environment for future generations with more action on climate change and protects the clean energy advantage with safe Manitoba Hydro. Investments include:
• $ 1.2 million to the Climate and Green Plan Implementation Office,
• $ 1 million for Conservation and Climate Fund projects, and
• $ 20 million endowment fund so Manitobans can enjoy provincial parks for generations to come.
Moving Manitoba Forward After COVID-19
The second objective of the 2021 budget is to promote employment and economic recovery. Manitoba’s economic outlook points to a strong rebound in 2021 with real GDP rising 4.1%, followed by another strong year in 2022 of 3.6% real growth.
“Economic growth and job creation remain at the heart of our plan for a stronger and more prosperous Manitoba,” said Mr. Fielding. “The pandemic has disrupted our economy and our citizens, and we remain committed to helping Manitobans regain their livelihoods. “
Budget 2021 includes more than $ 62 million to help businesses retrain their employees and develop e-commerce platforms, and $ 25 million for youth employment programs.
Additional tax relief for small businesses includes lowering payroll tax thresholds to cut rates for about 1,100 small businesses, the exemption for about 240, and improving or extending several credits. tax in areas such as venture capital for small businesses, interactive digital media and film production.
Budget 2021 helps post-secondary students pay almost $ 700 million to post-secondary institutions, plus an additional $ 4 million in scholarships and an additional $ 1.4 million in interest-free student loans.
A record $ 2.1 billion investment in strategic infrastructure will help create construction jobs and stimulate the economy:
• nearly $ 630 million for road construction and maintenance, including $ 107 million under the Manitoba Restart Program, which will improve safety at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and the Provincial Highway 16 and the St. Mary’s Road South Perimeter Interchange;
• over $ 292 million for health infrastructure, including the new emergency department at St-Boniface Hospital; and
• $ 415 million for Kindergarten to Grade 12 and post-secondary infrastructure.
The budget provides $ 101 million for the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Canals Flood Prevention Project, and $ 100 million for potential emergencies such as floods, wildfires and drought.
The 2021 budget also supports communities through the following commitments:
• Increase of $ 103.5 million for priority strategic infrastructure projects that correspond to federal funds under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP);
• flexible pooled funding to municipalities with $ 172.6 million in operating costs and $ 137 million in capital costs, with operating grants advanced again this year;
• $ 25 million in trust to redevelop the Hudson’s Bay Building in downtown Winnipeg; and
• $ 5.6 million more for the Building Sustainable Communities program to fund more than 10 larger-scale community capital projects.