August 18, 2017

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Province ending senior-safety program

A program that helped thousands of seniors feel safer in their homes is being cancelled -- and New Democrat Andrew Swan wants to know why.

Justice Minister Heather Stefanson has sent out word that the province will save $150,000 a year by ending the SafetyAid: Crime and Falls Prevention for Older Manitobans program, Swan said Tuesday.

Since the NDP introduced the two-person program in 2003, 44,000 seniors have attended seminars on home safety and avoiding falls, and 5,000 low-income seniors have had deadbolts installed.

"(The program) makes it more likely they're going to remain in their homes," Swan told reporters. "People feel much more confident. It's a small program, it's a smart program."

During question period, he asked Stefanson: "Will the minister reverse the short-sighted and mean-spirited cuts?"

Stefanson didn't answer Swan's questions directly, but responded that, unlike the former NDP government, the Tories will work with all Manitobans.

The justice minister was not available to answer reporters' questions, but later issued a statement: "Our government is committed to putting the health and safety of Manitoba’s seniors first. The justice component of the SafetyAid program was reviewed. It was found that Manitoba Justice’s goals for this program were not being met with measurable results."

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by Nick Martin.

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Updated on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 5:00 PM CDT: Fixes problem with story text

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