The Manitoba Government announced on Wednesday, the Family Affordability Package, a program to support families amidst rising costs and inflation. 

Minister Of Finance, and MLA for Morden-Winkler, Cameron Friesen shared why. 

"Right now, Manitobans are really feeling the pressure of rising costs. Transportation, food, shelter, recreation, household furnishings, everything is going up in price, and we know that's for a number of reasons, including interest rate increases, the ongoing war in Ukraine, supply chain issues, labour market changes that have taken place. Our government has been there, but clearly more was necessary, and so Wednesday, we did roll out our Affordability Package." 

Friesen explained the timing of the announcement was based on what Government has heard from people across Manitoba. 

"People are feeling that pinch of everything costing more, but right now, it's back to school time. So, we have a detailed payment for any family with a child, $250 to any family with a child under 18 and $200 for every additional child, a one time payment because people are feeling that sting. This goes to any family with a net income of less than $175,000. That means that we'll be sending out these cheques to almost 150,000 families." 

Friesen was asked about those who are feeling the pinch but not qualifying for this particular package, such as single people, people without dependents or those with disabilities.  

"We know that a family with two or three children has more financial pressure with a moderate, or modest income than, let's say two income earners or one income earner without dependents. I'm not saying there aren't challenges for those individuals, but we are trying to make as broad and fair benefit as we can. Remember that also, these measures we announced included other measures, like increasing that basic needs allowance for anyone on EIA who doesn't have children. That benefit increase applies for people who have a disability." 

A string of announcements lately, including the $87 million Family Affordability Package, from the Manitoba Government have had some people asking where the money is coming from. 

Friesen replied, the province brings a budget forward every year identifying new programs and spending, but the process has been stalled. 

"The opposition parties have not yet allowed our budget to pass, and that means we need an interim authority to be able to activate these measures. So, we will bring that interim authority and there are special measures that a legislature has to be able to do that, and so we'll bring that measure now. Why are we doing it now? Because right now is when the relief is needed." 

He looks forward to when the Legislature goes back in session, in a few weeks, and the work his party will do to pass the budget for the 2022/23 fiscal year.