Manitoba's Premier is excited about the new agreement nurses in Southern Health Sante Sud voted in favour of ratifying earlier this month.    
61.4 per cent of the health region's nurses voted to accept the new offer which runs through 2027. The only holdout in Manitoba were the nurses in Shared Health which only voted 43 per cent in favour of the new contract.
Wab Kinew believes the new agreement is an important tool that can be used to fix healthcare and deliver better care to patients.

"As you probably know, in Southern Health there's a lot of use of agency nurses and that creates more costs for the healthcare system. It also means that if you're the patient accessing care, there might be a lot of turn over. You might not be seeing that familiar face that knows you're personality, knows your healthcare needs and things like that," he said.

In an effort to pull those nurses back into the provincial healthcare system, the agreement includes a 2.5 per cent general wage increase starting April 1st of this year, a 2.75 per cent increase in 2025, and a three per cent increase in both 2026 and 2027. As well, the Province included a $12,000 per year incentive starting in April 2025 for nurses to work fulltime through the provincial float pool.

"For the nurse who is joining that float pool, they can get the same sort of flexibility of scheduling and work/life balance that comes with an agency," explained the Premier. "They're going to get a wage comparable to what's at an agency."

Additionally, Kinew says it'll be good for the healthcare system. 

"Now, we're paying for those costs directly without having to the agency's overhead. And so, that's going to save us money in the provincial healthcare system while improving the nurse working conditions, addressing issues like nurse-to-patient ratios and mandatory overtime."

And for the patients, the Premier says they'll see more predictable and better-quality service.