Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch

Legislature reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

A year later, the Saskatchewan farm boy was in the nation’s capital, witnessing tanks rumble down Ottawa’s streets during the October Crisis and attending J-school. He’s forever grateful that he did.

Larry is one of two Free Press legislature reporters working out of the Manitoba Legislative Building. He also writes on health. In more than two dozen years with the newspaper, he’s covered the agriculture, business and provincial beats, been a general assignment reporter, worked on the night desk as a copy editor and assigned local news reporters.

Before joining the Free Press, he toiled at the Brandon Sun and Western Producer farm newspaper. He also taught high-school English for a year (one year was enough to send him back to journalism) and also spent a brief period editing how-to publications for farmers. While working his way through university, he worked for a year as a bartender in an Ottawa cocktail lounge. (He can still make a mean martini.)

A fair-weather cyclist, Larry can’t wait every spring for the snow to disappear so he can ride his bike. He thinks baseball is the best sport that was ever invented. And he loves living downtown, where he’s walking distance to work and most amenities. He is married with one daughter.

Recent articles of Larry Kusch

Manitoba’s high court mulls public-sector wage freeze

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Preview

Manitoba’s high court mulls public-sector wage freeze

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 2, 2021

A Manitoba government lawyer argued Wednesday that a Court of Queen's Bench judge erred last year when she found the province's public-sector wage-freeze bill to be unconstitutional.

Heather Leonoff told a Manitoba Court of Appeal hearing, that trial Judge Joan McKelvey failed to properly take into account a precedent-setting Supreme Court of Canada collective bargaining case, involving the federal government and the RCMP.

"Broad-based, time-limited wage restraint legislation is constitutional and does not violate... the charter," Leonoff told a three-member Appeal Court panel.

Last June, McKelvey called the Pallister government's 2017 Public Services Sustainability Act (Bill 28) "draconian," and ruled that it violated the charter right to association and collective bargaining.

Wednesday, Jun. 2, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES/John Woods
A Manitoba government lawyer argued Wednesday that a Court of Queen's Bench judge erred last year when she found the province's public-sector wage-freeze bill to be unconstitutional.

Hydro rates may be rising, premier hints

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Preview

Hydro rates may be rising, premier hints

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021

Premier Brian Pallister hinted Tuesday his government may again raise hydro rates — bypassing the normal regulatory process — but the hit to Manitobans' pocketbooks will be lower than in past years.

At a press conference marking the end of the spring sitting of the legislature, Pallister provided few details about the potential rate hike, saying Finance Minister Scott Fielding will announce those details.

Last fall, the Progressive Conservative government legislated a 2.9 per cent increase in electricity rates that took effect in December. The government's rationale for skirting the Public Utilities Board was that it planned to institute a new multi-year PUB rate-setting process. Enabling legislation to carry that out is expected to be passed this fall.

“This interim rate will be lower than the average of the last number of years, but it needs to be established so that we can get to a rate establishment process more transparent, where PUB is stronger and where they’re able to make multi-year rate decisions,” Pallister said.

Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Premier Brian Pallister hinted Tuesday his government may again raise hydro rates — bypassing the normal regulatory process — but the hit to Manitobans' pocketbooks will be lower than in past years.

Strike talk looms in nurses’ contract negotiations

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Preview

Strike talk looms in nurses’ contract negotiations

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021

Manitoba’s acting health minister says the government has made “significant long-term monetary offers” to the province’s nurses.

Kelvin Goertzen made the comments to reporters, after answering questions about the nurses’ contract in the legislature Monday.

Some 12,000 members of the Manitoba Nurses Union have been without a collective agreement for more than four years.

Negotiations have been underway “in earnest” since last fall, said Goertzen, the deputy premier, filling in for Health Minister Heather Stefanson, who is on medical leave.

Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Acting Manitoba health minister Kelvin Goertzen: "significant long-term monetary offers."

303 new COVID cases, one death, as Manitoba opens up second-dose eligibility

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Preview

303 new COVID cases, one death, as Manitoba opens up second-dose eligibility

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Monday, May. 31, 2021

Manitoba continued to report high COVID-19 case counts Monday, while expanding the eligibility for those to receive second doses of life-saving vaccines.

The province recorded 303 new cases of the novel coronavirus, but noted the count was under-stated due to "technical issues." Officials said this will result in an "over count" Tuesday.

Manitobans who received their first dose of vaccine on or before April 8 are now able to arrange their booster shot.

The province also announced anyone who received a first dose of AstraZeneca/Covishield is now eligible to receive a second dose of any mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), provided they meet provincial eligibility criteria.

Monday, May. 31, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES/John Woods
The medical lead of Manitoba’s vaccine rollout, Dr. Joss Reimer, took questions and addressed concerns from newcomers to the province Thursday afternoon.

Pallister ignores doctors’ lockdown pleas

Larry Kusch 5 minute read Preview

Pallister ignores doctors’ lockdown pleas

Larry Kusch 5 minute read Thursday, May. 27, 2021

The provincial government added a few tweaks to its public-health orders Thursday, but the new measures fall short of what many health professionals recommended.

The new orders, which take effect Saturday at 12:01 a.m., extend restrictions imposed earlier this month that shuttered many businesses.

Measures that came into force on the Victoria Day long weekend — limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to household members — have also been extended until June 12.

What's new is that employers will be required to allow employees to work from home as much possible, and shopping malls will face "increased requirements" to manage access and capacity and eliminate gatherings.

Thursday, May. 27, 2021

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Premier Brian Pallister (right) and chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announce new restrictions at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Thursday, May 27, 2021. For Larry Kusch story.Winnipeg Free Press 2020.

Tories grilled about safety of out-of-province transfers after ICU patient dies

Carol Sanders and Larry Kusch 5 minute read Preview

Tories grilled about safety of out-of-province transfers after ICU patient dies

Carol Sanders and Larry Kusch 5 minute read Wednesday, May. 26, 2021

Questions are being raised about the handling of critically ill COVID-19 patients after a Manitoban infected with the virus died during an attempt to transfer them to an ICU in Ontario.

“These patients can go from being stable to incredibly unstable very quickly,” Manitoba Nurses Union president Darlene Jackson said Wednesday.

“What I’ve been hearing from nurses is, they can’t believe how quickly a patient can go from, you know, talking and they’re doing OK, until they’re crashing,” Jackson said in an interview. “So that’s something very specific to COVID at this time — how quickly those patients’ conditions can change.”

Shared Health wouldn’t reveal many details of the incident, other than to say the patient who was identified for transport to a hospital in an unnamed Ontario city, did “destabilize” prior to takeoff earlier this week. 

Wednesday, May. 26, 2021

The medical intensive care unit at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mikaela MacKenzie - POOL

Defiant premier blames Manitobans — not own government — for health crisis

Larry Kusch 4 minute read Preview

Defiant premier blames Manitobans — not own government — for health crisis

Larry Kusch 4 minute read Tuesday, May. 25, 2021

Premier Brian Pallister continued to deflect responsibility for the province’s escalating COVID-19 crisis, instead blaming Manitobans for failing to follow public health orders or to get tested.

At a news conference Tuesday, Pallister said "many Manitobans" have chosen not to obey health orders and then got sick. He said more need to take personal responsibility for their actions.

As of Friday, 129 of the 296 COVID-19 patients in Manitoba hospitals had not been tested before their arrival, he said.

This includes 21 people in ICU, the premier told reporters as the government announced the extension of restrictions that were designed to scale back interactions around the Victoria Day long weekend.

Tuesday, May. 25, 2021

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks to media after the reading of the throne speech at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. Pallister is dropping another hint that he might call an early election. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Manitoba’s COVID crisis escalates

Larry Kusch and Carol Sanders 5 minute read Preview

Manitoba’s COVID crisis escalates

Larry Kusch and Carol Sanders 5 minute read Friday, May. 21, 2021

Manitoba's COVID-19 crisis deepened Friday as more critically ill patients were transferred to Ontario, Winnipeg's test positivity rate hit a new high and the province sought help from Ottawa for a health-care system pushed to the brink.

Manitoba announced 594 new cases, nearly matching Thursday's single-day record of 603. The test positivity rate provincially climbed to 14.1 per cent, while Winnipeg's rate swelled to a record 16.1 per cent.

The number of critically ill patients transferred to Ontario hospitals rose to five earlier in the day, with two more scheduled to be flown out in the evening, bringing the total number to seven.

Officials have said as many as 20 ICU patients, in total, may be transported to five northwestern Ontario hospitals in the coming days, but there are already indications the demand for transfers may be significantly greater.

Friday, May. 21, 2021

Manitoba's health system is on the brink of being overwhelmed, says Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press files)

COVID-19 surge forces transfer of Manitoba patients to Ontario

Larry Kusch and Katie May 6 minute read Preview

COVID-19 surge forces transfer of Manitoba patients to Ontario

Larry Kusch and Katie May 6 minute read Wednesday, May. 19, 2021

One day after the health minister suggested Manitoba’s ICU capacity could handle a surge of COVID-19 patients, the government revealed three critically ill people had been transferred to a hospital in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Shared Health announced Wednesday that multiple days of hospital admissions “far beyond” the numbers experienced during the second wave of the pandemic last fall had placed “extreme strain” on health-care staff.

During a four-day period ending Monday, Manitoba intensive care units admitted 34 patients with COVID-19 – nearly half of pre-COVID hospital critical care capacity (72).

With no let-up in the number of new critically ill patients entering hospitals, and no ability to shift sufficient numbers of ICU patients out of critical care, officials took the unusual step of transferring two stable COVID-positive patients to the Ontario city for ongoing care Tuesday, and a third was being transported Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, May. 19, 2021

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
The medical intensive care unit at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.
Winnipeg Free Press 2020

Shamattawa in crisis over suicide; seeks help

Larry Kusch 4 minute read Preview

Shamattawa in crisis over suicide; seeks help

Larry Kusch 4 minute read Tuesday, May. 18, 2021

An isolated northern Manitoba First Nation has declared a state of emergency after a recent suicide and a rash of suicide attempts, including one Monday involving a seven-year-old child.

Shamattawa First Nation Chief Eric Redhead made the declaration Tuesday morning, noting health services in the community of 1,425 are under stress due to several recent natural deaths.

On May 9, a 32-year-old single mother of four died by suicide. The woman was Redhead's only sibling.

The seven-year-old child, now in Children's Hospital in Winnipeg, is "currently unresponsive," the chief said.

Tuesday, May. 18, 2021

Labour board to determine new contract for Hydro electrical workers

Larry Kusch 2 minute read Preview

Labour board to determine new contract for Hydro electrical workers

Larry Kusch 2 minute read Tuesday, May. 18, 2021

A two-month rotating strike by electrical workers at Manitoba Hydro is over, and the terms of a new deal will be determined by the Manitoba Labour Board.

Mike Espenell, business manager with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2034, said the union is happy the ordeal is over.

“It’s been probably one of the most frustrating experiences that, I would say, anybody at the bargaining table has been a party of — on the corporation side, as well as ours,” he said Monday.

After being on strike for more than 60 days, the IBEW applied to the labour board May 10 for an alternative dispute resolution process, as allowed by Manitoba law.

Tuesday, May. 18, 2021

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Manitoba Hydro employees in the IBEW local 2034 picket outside Hydro head office in March.

New CEO of MPI has 30 years' experience navigating the insurance industry; he might need it, as stormy seas could lie ahead

Larry Kusch 5 minute read Preview

New CEO of MPI has 30 years' experience navigating the insurance industry; he might need it, as stormy seas could lie ahead

Larry Kusch 5 minute read Tuesday, May. 18, 2021

Eric Herbelin’s road to Winnipeg as the new boss of MPI began in a mountain village in Switzerland, where he was born, with pit stops on six continents.

At age 46, he already has 30 years of experience in the insurance business, having started as an apprentice at the tender age of 16.

Before becoming Manitoba Public Insurance’s president and CEO earlier this year, Herbelin worked in small insurance companies and for large conglomerates. He also built an insurance company from scratch. Along the way, he continued his education, earning a pair of master’s degrees, including an MBA.

Herbelin worked as a claims adjuster and an underwriting manager before taking on a series of management and executive roles that took him around the world. Before joining MPI in January, he was president and CEO of Elips Life Insurance Co., the Chicago-based subsidiary of a Swiss company.

Tuesday, May. 18, 2021

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Eric Herbelin, 46, a Swiss national, joined MPI in January after heading up U.S. operations for a Swiss life insurer.

Premier mum on Costa Rican tax amnesty

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Preview

Premier mum on Costa Rican tax amnesty

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Thursday, May. 13, 2021

Premier Brian Pallister dodged questions Thursday about his participation in a tax amnesty involving his vacation home in Costa Rica.

The subject came up after the CBC reported that Pallister took advantage of a program in the Latin American country that forgave up to 80 per cent of penalties on unpaid taxes, plus all interest, if scofflaws paid up by a certain date.

The premier made no mention of taking advantage of the amnesty when he showed proof to The Canadian Press in April 2019 that he had paid his taxes.

Late Thursday, after participating in a committee meeting, Pallister told the Free Press he was unaware of the amnesty when he paid his overdue tax bill.

Thursday, May. 13, 2021

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Premier Brian Pallister dodged questions Thursday about his participation in a tax amnesty involving his vacation home in Costa Rica.

Deal to deliver broadband, cell service to more than 125,000 rural, remote, Indigenous Manitobans

Larry Kusch 2 minute read Preview

Deal to deliver broadband, cell service to more than 125,000 rural, remote, Indigenous Manitobans

Larry Kusch 2 minute read Thursday, May. 13, 2021

More than 125,000 unserved or underserved Manitobans are a step closer to receiving reliable high-speed internet and cellular services.

Premier Brian Pallister announced Thursday that the province has signed a memorandum of understanding with Xplornet Communications to improve connectivity to hundreds of rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

He said one of the lessons of the current pandemic is the need to improve Manitoba's knowledge infrastructure.

“Too many Manitobans — more than in any other part of the country — are deprived of the opportunity of reliable internet and cell service. In particular, our rural and northern communities. In particular, our Indigenous communities," said Pallister, who was joined by Central Services Minister Reg Helwer at a morning press conference.

Thursday, May. 13, 2021

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Premier Brian Pallister announced Thursday that the province has signed a memorandum of understanding with Xplornet Communications to improve internet connectivity to hundreds of rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

Providence CEO insists firm will produce Manitoba-backed vaccine

Larry Kusch 4 minute read Preview

Providence CEO insists firm will produce Manitoba-backed vaccine

Larry Kusch 4 minute read Wednesday, May. 12, 2021

A Manitoba-backed company that's attempting to develop a COVID-19 vaccine says it continues to pursue plans to produce the product in Canada despite tepid support from the federal government.

On Wednesday, Providence Therapeutics of Calgary announced "very favourable" results from Phase 1 clinical trials for its messenger RNA vaccine.

“Within the class of mRNA vaccines… (which include the Pfizer and Moderna products) our data compares very favourably,” Providence chief executive officer Brad Sorenson said in an interview.

He maintained that his company remains committed to producing the vaccine in Canada.

Wednesday, May. 12, 2021

A medication vial is shown in this undated handout image provided by Providence Therapeutics. Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine by a Canadian company. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Providence Therapeutics *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Most Manitoba MLAs vaccinated — or soon will be

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Preview

Most Manitoba MLAs vaccinated — or soon will be

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Tuesday, May. 11, 2021

There appears to be little or no vaccine hesitancy among the province's MLAs.

A survey of the 57 members of the Manitoba legislative assembly, conducted through their party caucuses, reveals that 54 had either received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or booked an appointment as of 9 a.m. Monday.

Thirty-three of 36 Progressive Conservative MLAs had either got the jab or booked one, a government spokesman said.

Of the three who hadn't done so, one was under the age of 30 and unable to book an appointment by Monday.

Tuesday, May. 11, 2021

John Woods / Canadian Press files
Video and still images of the moment the needle, wielded by chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin, plunged into the Premier Brian Pallister's left arm at the beginning of April were among the day's top local news.

‘Right thing to do. Did it’: Pallister unapologetic amidst criticism

Carol Sanders and Larry Kusch 4 minute read Preview

‘Right thing to do. Did it’: Pallister unapologetic amidst criticism

Carol Sanders and Larry Kusch 4 minute read Monday, May. 10, 2021

Premier Brian Pallister was on the defensive Monday, after wrongly suggesting he had accompanied the province’s top doctor in announcing tough new public health restrictions last week.

While unveiling new financial supports for business, Pallister spoke at a news conference about how the province was in a race against time to vaccinate the public before COVID-19 variants infect many more Manitobans.

Then he said: “Which is why, on Friday, Dr. (Brent) Roussin and I introduced new strict public health orders to help stop the spread of the variants and reduce the strain on our health-care system.”

When a reporter pointed out the comment was “misleading,” since the premier wasn’t at the 6 p.m. Friday news conference, nor at a Sunday announcement that schools in Winnipeg and Brandon were moving to remote learning, Pallister said his presence wasn’t necessary.

Monday, May. 10, 2021

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Premier Brian Pallister called out “Monday morning quarterbacks” who criticized him for not acting sooner to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

Two cases of rare flu variants found in Manitoba

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Preview

Two cases of rare flu variants found in Manitoba

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Friday, Apr. 30, 2021

Two Manitobans have come down with rare cases of influenza that were transmitted from pigs.

Provincial health and veterinary officials said Friday both persons, whom they declined to identify, got mild cases of the flu in early April and have since recovered.

The cases were discovered after the persons went for COVID-19 tests.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief provincial public health officer, said the strains are not highly contagious.

Friday, Apr. 30, 2021

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, during the latest COVID-19 update at the Manitoba Legislative building Tuesday.

Expect more-visible health-order enforcement: justice minister

Larry Kusch 4 minute read Preview

Expect more-visible health-order enforcement: justice minister

Larry Kusch 4 minute read Thursday, Apr. 29, 2021

Manitoba's justice minister wants to counter claims his department did not respond appropriately to the anti-mask rally at The Forks on Sunday, but he admits that enforcement personnel could be more visible at such events.

Cameron Friesen said officials were on site and he was kept informed of the situation. Officers were taking video and gathering other evidence that will be used to issue more tickets than the two handed out at the event, he said.

“I just want to make clear that every time someone in this province is going to try to assemble (at) a rally or a gathering like that — a public event that clearly contravenes the rules — it should be their expectation that they will be monitored and that there will be consequences," he said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

Thursday, Apr. 29, 2021

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Manitoba justice minister Cameron Friesen.

North Dakota health official, teachers, opposition baffled by premier's announcement

Carol Sanders and Larry Kusch 6 minute read Preview

North Dakota health official, teachers, opposition baffled by premier's announcement

Carol Sanders and Larry Kusch 6 minute read Thursday, Apr. 29, 2021

Manitoba teachers and a North Dakota health official were caught off guard Thursday when Premier Brian Pallister announced that school staff in this province would soon be able to cross the border to get vaccinated in North Dakota.

"This is a crazy, Band-Aid solution," said James Bedford, president of the Manitoba Teachers' Society, Thursday. He said he learned about the plan to enable teachers and school staff to drive across the border into the U.S. to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as he listened to premier's news conference Thursday.

"It's news to me," said Marie Moe, chief communications officer for the North Dakota health department, who is based in Bismarck. "My knowledge is limited to the agreement signed with the governor and Manitoba and Saskatchewan (to vaccinate) truck drivers."

Thursday, Apr. 29, 2021

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, announce further restrictions during a press conference at the Manitoba Legislative building Monday afternoon. 210426 - Monday, April 26, 2021.

Images of people getting vaccine shots ‘scaring people’: Pallister

Larry Kusch and Carol Sanders  3 minute read Preview

Images of people getting vaccine shots ‘scaring people’: Pallister

Larry Kusch and Carol Sanders  3 minute read Thursday, Apr. 29, 2021

Premier Brian Pallister says images of needles going into arms shown repeatedly on TV may be contributing to vaccine hesitancy in Manitoba.

Asked Thursday why he thinks reported inoculation rates are low in parts of southeastern Manitoba, the premier said the provincial government is promoting the need for people to get vaccinated.

“That’s why we’ve communicated though advertising, through written materials” how important that is, Pallister said during a news conference.

However, he added, one thing that might combat vaccine hesitancy would be for media to stop broadcasting shots of people getting shots.

Thursday, Apr. 29, 2021

John Woods / Canadian Press files
Video and still images of the moment the needle, wielded by chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin, plunged into the Premier Brian Pallister's left arm at the beginning of April were among the day's top local news.

Tories accused of unfair labour practices by union for jail workers

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Preview

Tories accused of unfair labour practices by union for jail workers

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2021

The union that represents 1,800 Manitoba corrections officers has filed a formal complaint with a provincial tribunal over the Pallister government's failure to bargain a new contract.

In an unfair labour practice complaint to the Manitoba Labour Board, the union accused the government of refusing to provide specific monetary proposals after two years of bargaining.

"During this time, we have tabled specific proposals and explained them in detail," the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union said in a message to its members Tuesday.

"The employer has provided its non-monetary proposals, but has consistently refused our requests to provide its monetary proposals (or) mandate."

Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2021

The 1,800 corrections staff, employed at Headingley jail, the Winnipeg Remand Centre and several other institutions, have been without a contract for more than two years. Their union has filed a formal complaint with a provincial tribunal over the Pallister government's failure to bargain a new contract. (Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Province withholds detailed budget info in shrunken spending estimates

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Preview

Province withholds detailed budget info in shrunken spending estimates

Larry Kusch 3 minute read Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2021

BREAKING with decades of tradition, the Pallister government is withholding detailed budget information from the public — including estimated staffing and spending levels for critical areas of the province’s pandemic response.

Detailed Health Department spending estimates that filled a 145-page book last year have been reduced to a 32-page summary this year.

Spending, staffing and program information for all other government departments have been similarly cut.

For instance, the Families Department “estimates” book shrank to 33 pages this year from 128 pages in 2020. For the Department of Education, program spending information is covered in a 35-page document, down from 109 pages last year.

Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2021

JOHN WOODS / FREE PRESS FILES
MLA Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP justice critic, said the Pallister government "doesn’t give a crap about Indigenous women and girls in this province."

Manitoba proposes income-support stream for disabled applicants

Larry Kusch 2 minute read Preview

Manitoba proposes income-support stream for disabled applicants

Larry Kusch 2 minute read Monday, Apr. 26, 2021

The Progressive Conservative government has introduced legislation that would create a new income-support program for people with severe and prolonged disabilities.

Families Minister Rochelle Squires said Bill 72 would remove the need for people to continually prove that they are still impacted by their disability.

The proposed legislation would move about 10,000 people from Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) into a new program.

Squires said program supports would improve for these people, although the exact amount has yet to be determined.

Monday, Apr. 26, 2021

Bill 72 would remove the need for people to continually prove that they are still impacted by their disability, says Families Minister Rochelle Squires.(Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)