ALL Manitoba newborns will one day be required to have their hearing tested under a private member's bill all political parties have agreed to pass by Sept. 17.
The new measure is expected to take effect in 2016, once regulations are written and the necessary equipment is in place across the province.
Manitoba is one of the last jurisdictions in North America to require universal screening of newborns for hearing deficits. Catching hearing problems early can prevent delays in speech and language development, advocates say.
"If you don't identify it soon, it causes a number of developmental challenges," said Progressive Conservative MLA Leanne Rowat, who sponsored Bill 208 (the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Act). The bill was seconded by Jon Gerrard, a pediatrician and Liberal MLA for River Heights.