Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives are promising to fortify the province's healthcare workforce, if re-elected to government on October 3rd. 

At an announcement Monday morning at Boundary Trails Health Centre, Carrie Hiebert, the PC candidate for Morden-Winkler, announced her party will invest $40 million into a permanent recruitment fund to expand Manitoba’s rural health-care workforce and meet priority needs for Manitobans.

“The Health Human Resources Action Plan (HHRAP) was meant to bring more health-care professionals into the system, and I’m proud to announce that it was a resounding success. More than 2,000 health-care professionals are now on board in Manitoba. That’s what a stable, experienced government delivers,” Hiebert said. “This new fund for rural communities will build on the success of our recruitment and retention efforts by providing a stable, permanent fund to continue strengthening our workforce.”

The recruitment funding will help ensure staff coverage for the Boundary Trails Health Centre, currently undergoing a $100-million expansion, Hiebert said. The project will add to existing emergency, diagnostic, surgery, cancer, and ambulatory services, and is at risk if the NDP form government, she said.

“Wab Kinew has promised to build almost a dozen new medical facilities without committing to the existing projects underway, without strategic planning or clinical backing, and with absolutely no indication on how he plans to staff them,” Hiebert said. “Not only is the PC health capital plan fully costed, it’s already under way.”

“We know that health care wasn’t broken overnight and that it can’t be fixed overnight, no matter what other political parties say. With the new Rural Health Care Recruitment Fund, PCs have a plan to add staffing capacity to the health-care system, whereas the NDP just have cynical, vote-buying promises—with no plan on how to staff all these new facilities, in the middle of a worldwide staffing crisis.”

Hiebert added that the multi-year, over $3-billion health capital plan currently underway has the backing of clinical experts and health leadership. Kinew has promised almost $3 billion in new spending already without committing to continue the investments.

“Wab simply can’t do it without cutting projects or raising your taxes,” Hiebert said.

The PCs will also establish an $80-million health-care recruitment fund for Winnipeg.

Meantime, Manitoba's NDP laid out a 5-point plan last week to hire more internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs). The plan promises to streamline credentialing and registration for internationally educated health professionals. 

“Health professionals have come from around the world to work here and care for Manitobans. But Heather Stefanson is putting up roadblocks instead of helping them get to work on the frontlines,” said leader, Wab Kinew. “Instead of leaving IEHPs on their own, we’ll work with colleges and the health care sector to help these valuable health care workers get their credentials recognized sooner. This is an important step in our plan to fix the staffing crisis.” 

Under Heather Stefanson, the NDP says IEHPs face unfair barriers, high costs and long waits in order to provide healthcare in Manitoba, noting many IEHPs get stuck in a cycle of bureaucracy, waiting for as long as 7 years before they can work in the profession they trained for and paying up thousands of dollars just to start the process. The party added, Manitoba’s treatment of IEHPs has pushed them out of the province to find training and eventually provide healthcare in other parts of the country, such as Ontario and Quebec.  

The NDP's plan includes:

  1. Creating a Newcomer Workplace Navigator Office within the Government of Manitoba to support IEHPs through the credentialling and registration process. 
  2. Waiving the permanent residence requirement for language courses. 
  3. Providing financial aid for IEHPs taking required courses. 
  4. Working towards creating more opportunities for practice clinic hours in the province 
  5. Bringing colleges, academic institutions, and health employers together to collaborate on registering more health professionals and reversing the PCs cut to health coverage for international students.  

“Under Heather Stefanson, IEHPs are being driven away from our province,” said Notre Dame NDP candidate Malaya Marcelino. “A Manitoba NDP government will make credentialing and registration more fair. With our government, you’ll be able to work in your profession without barriers and build a good life here in Manitoba.” 

The provincial election will be held on October 3, 2023.


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