Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

Madam Speaker: Good afternoon, everybody. Please be seated.


Introduction of Bills

Bill 241–The Mandatory Training for Provincial Employees (Systemic Racism and Human Rights) Act

Mr. Jamie Moses (St. Vital): I move, seconded by the member for Union Station (MLA Asagwara), that Bill 241, The Mandatory Training for Prov­incial Employees (Systemic Racism and Human Rights) Act, be now read for a first time.

Motion presented.

Mr. Moses: I am pleased to intro­duce Bill 241, the mandatory training for prov­incial employees act. We know that many people in Manitoba live through the negative impacts of racism, racial discrimination in their everyday lives.

      I know that we need this bill here in Manitoba, and it grows more relevant each and every day as Manitoba becomes a more diverse place for many people to call home. People of all walks of life deserve to live with dignity and with respect, and so it's on all of us–including those in this very House–to do their best to live in a diverse province harmoniously.

      And as elected officials, we need to lead by example, to ensure that we're taking the steps to rid ourselves and our com­mu­nities of racism in all its forms.

      This bill would require regular antiracism training for prov­incial employees, and it is an overdue step in ending systemic racism in Manitoba, and I look forward to all members supporting this bill.

Madam Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? Agreed? [Agreed]

Committee Reports

Standing Committee on Social and Economic Development

Fourth Report

Mr. Reg Helwer (Chairperson): I wish to present the fourth report of the Standing Com­mit­tee on Social and Economic Dev­elop­ment.

Clerk (Ms. Patricia Chaychuk): Your Standing Com­mit­tee on Social–

Some Honourable Members: Dispense.

Madam Speaker: Dispense.

Your Standing Committee on Social and Economic Development presents the following as its Fourth Report.


Your Committee met on May 8, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. in Room 255 of the Legislative Building.

Matters under Consideration

·         Bill (No. 29) – The Life Leases Amendment Act / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les baux viagers

·         Bill (No. 38) – The Builders' Liens Amendment Act (Prompt Payment) / Loi modifiant la Loi sur le privilège du constructeur (paiement rapide)

Committee Membership

·         Mr. Helwer

·         Hon. Mr. Johnston (Assiniboia)

·         Mr. Sandhu

·         Mr. Schuler

·         Hon. Mr. Teitsma

·         Mr. Wasyliw

Your Committee elected Mr. Helwer as the Chairperson.

Your Committee elected Mr. Schuler as the Vice-Chairperson.

Public Presentations

Your Committee heard the following 13 presentations on Bill (No. 38) – The Builders' Liens Amendment Act (Prompt Payment) / Loi modifiant la Loi sur le privilège du constructeur (paiement rapide):

Roy McPhail, Private citizen

Chris Lorenc, Manitoba Heavy Construction Association Inc.

Teri Urban, General Contractors Alliance of Canada-Manitoba Chapter

Steven Ness, Surety Association of Canada

Gail Little, Manitoba Association of Architects

Andrew Zimmermann, Intact Insurance

Kasia Kieloch, Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Manitoba

Michael Jack, City of Winnipeg

Ron Hambley, Winnipeg Construction Association

Shawn Wood, Construction Association of Rural Manitoba

Ramona Coey, Manitoba Prompt Payment Coalition

Terry Henry, Electrical Contractors Association of Manitoba

Julien Lafleche, Mechanical Contractors Association of Manitoba Inc.

Written Submissions

Your Committee received the following written submission on Bill (No. 38) – The Builders' Liens Amendment Act (Prompt Payment) / Loi modifiant la Loi sur le privilège du constructeur (paiement rapide):

Denys Volkov, Association of Manitoba Municipalities

Bills Considered and Reported

·         Bill (No. 29) – The Life Leases Amendment Act / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les baux viagers

Your Committee agreed to report this Bill without amendment.

·         Bill (No. 38) – The Builders' Liens Amendment Act (Prompt Payment) / Loi modifiant la Loi sur le privilège du constructeur (paiement rapide)

Your Committee agreed to report this Bill with the following amendment:

THAT the following be added after Clause 16 of the Bill:


16.1(1) Within two years after the coming into force of this section, the minister appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to administer the amendments enacted by section 13 of this Act must undertake a comprehensive review of this Act, which must include public representations.

Tabling report in Assembly

16.1(2) Within one year after the review is undertaken or within any longer period that the Legislative Assembly allows, the minister referred to in subsection (1) must table a report on the review in the Assembly.

Mr. Helwer: I move, seconded by the hon­our­able member for Springfield-Ritchot (Mr. Schuler), that the report of the com­mit­tee be received.

Motion agreed to.

Standing Committee on Legis­lative Affairs

Fifth Report

Mr. Len Isleifson (Chairperson): I wish to present the fifth report on the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs.

Clerk: Your Standing Com­mit­tee on Legis­lative Affairs–

Some Honourable Members: Dispense.

Madam Speaker: Dispense.

Your Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs presents the following as its Fifth Report.


Your Committee met on May 8, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. in Room 254 of the Legislative Building.

Matters under Consideration

·         Bill (No. 21) – The Highway Traffic Amendment Act / Loi modifiant le Code de la route

·         Bill (No. 22) – The Emergency Measures Amendment Act / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les mesures d'urgence

·         Bill (No. 25) – The Workers Compensation Amendment Act (Wildfire Firefighters) / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les accidents du travail (pompiers affectés aux incendies échappés)

·         Bill (No. 36) – The Fair Registration Practices in Regulated Professions Amendment Act / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les pratiques d'inscription équitables dans les professions réglementées

Committee Membership

·         Mr. Bushie

·         Mr. Isleifson

·         MLA Lindsey

·         Hon. Mr. Piwniuk

·         Hon. Mr. Reyes

·         Mr. Wowchuk

Your Committee elected Mr. Isleifson as the Chairperson.

Your Committee elected Mr. Wowchuk as the Vice-Chairperson.

Non-Committee Members Speaking on Record

·         Ms. Lamoureux

Public Presentations

Your Committee heard the following presentation on Bill (No. 21) – The Highway Traffic Amendment Act / Loi modifiant le Code de la route:

David Grant, Private citizen

Your Committee heard the following presentation on Bill (No. 22) – The Emergency Measures Amendment Act / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les mesures d'urgence:

David Grant, Private citizen

Your Committee heard the following three presentations on Bill (No. 25) – The Workers Compensation Amendment Act (Wildfire Firefighters) / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les accidents du travail (pompiers affectés aux incendies échappés):

Kevin Rebeck , Manitoba Federation of Labour

Blaine Duncan, Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU)

David Grant, Private citizen

Your Committee heard the following presentation on Bill (No. 36) – The Fair Registration Practices in Regulated Professions Amendment Act / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les pratiques d'inscription équitables dans les professions réglementées:

David Grant, Snoman (Snowmobilers of Manitoba) Inc.

Bills Considered and Reported

·         Bill (No. 21) – The Highway Traffic Amendment Act / Loi modifiant le Code de la route

Your Committee agreed to report this Bill without amendment.

·         Bill (No. 22) – The Emergency Measures Amendment Act / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les mesures d'urgence

Your Committee agreed to report this Bill without amendment.

·         Bill (No. 25) – The Workers Compensation Amendment Act (Wildfire Firefighters) / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les accidents du travail (pompiers affectés aux incendies échappés)

Your Committee agreed to report this Bill without amendment.

·         Bill (No. 36) – The Fair Registration Practices in Regulated Professions Amendment Act / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les pratiques d'inscription équitables dans les professions réglementées

Your Committee agreed to report this Bill without amendment.

Mr. Isleifson: I move, seconded by the hon­our­able member from Swan River, that the report of the commit­tee be received.

Motion agreed to.

Tabling of Reports

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Government House Leader): I'm pleased to table the revised Estimates order that is in place for today only.

Ministerial Statements

Madam Speaker: The hon­our­able Minister of Munici­pal Relations–and I would indicate that the required 90 minutes' notice prior to routine proceed­ings was provided in accordance with rule 27(2).

      Would the hon­our­able minister please proceed with his statement.

Com­mu­nity Foundation Day

Hon. Andrew Smith (Minister of Municipal Relations): I am honoured to rise before the House today to recognize community foundation day.

      This is the inaugural year that we celebrate community foundation day. This proclamation also comes at an opportune moment, Madam Speaker, as The Winnipeg Foundation celebrated its 102nd anniver­sary of April 26 of this year.

      Unfortunately, the COVID‑19 pandemic did not allow us to recognize April 26 as the community foundation day, and the–on The Winnipeg Foundation's 100th anniversary in 2021.

      The Winnipeg Foundation is Canada's first com­munity foundation, created by an act of legislation on April 26, 1921, founded by a local busi­ness person, William Forbes Alloway, and his wife, Elizabeth Alloway.

      There are now more than 200 com­mu­nity founda­tions across Canada. That includes 57 community foundations in Manitoba, which is the highest number per capita in the country.

      Madam Speaker, I'd also like to acknowledge the important work of The Winnipeg Foundation through the Endow Manitoba initiative. Endow Manitoba provides capacity building, support and advocacy on behalf of Manitoba's 57 community foundations.

      Our government is proud to support the community foundations to meet the needs of their communities. And since 2017, our government has been proud sponsor of the annual Endow Manitoba giving challenge. For every $5 gift made to the community foundation during this event, the Manitoba government contributes $1. The event raised a total of $1.68 million in 2022, based on 2,828 contributions to the community foundations across the province.

      Community foundations play a crucial role in our province and support a wide range of charitable organizations and projects that enrich the well-being and quality of life of all Manitobans.

      Madam Speaker, I ask that all my colleagues here in the Legislature join me in celebrating our com­mu­nity foundations that have joined us here today in the gallery.

Madam Speaker: The hon­our­able Minister of Munici­pal Relations (Mr. Smith).

Mr. Smith: Yes, Madam Speaker, I'd like to ask leave to enter all the names of the folks in the gallery into Hansard.

Madam Speaker: Is there leave to include the names of the members in the gallery into Hansard? [Agreed]

Community Foundation Guests:

Interlake Community Foundation: Murray Slagerman

Pembina Manitou: Thor Thorleifson

Selkirk & District Community Foundation: Shauna Curtain, Bev Klegg, Michele Polinuk, Bonny Wynnobel

Westshore Community Foundation: Krista Narfson

The Winnipeg Foundation: Sky Bridges, Denise Campbell, Stacy Cardigan Smith, Rick Frost, Alan Goddard, Gerry Labossiere, LuAnn Lovlin, Kevin Parsons

The Winnipeg Foundation, serving Morden Area Foundation, Plum Coulee Community Foundation, Morris Area Foundation, and The Steinbach Community Foundation: Lynda Lambert

The Winnipeg Foundation, serving North Norfolk Foundation, Big Grass Community Foundation, Carman Area Foundation, Miami and Area Foundation: Caddie Crampton

Ms. Lisa Naylor (Wolseley): I am pleased to rise today to acknowledge community foundation day. Community foundations are an integral part of our communities.

      Community foundations are public charitable organizations that pool and permanently invest donations. The interest earned is granted to local charitable organizations each year. Since the capital is never spent, these gifts support our communities indefinitely.

      There are 57 community foundations in Manitoba, all doing important work to support local non-profit organizations with essential funding.

      Manitoba has a rich history of community foundations. When The Winnipeg Foundation was founded in 1921, it was the first community foundation to be established in Canada. More than 100 years later, they are still making a positive impact in Winnipeg with many different grant programs for organizations large and small.

      Thanks in part to the early adoption of community foundations in Manitoba, today we have more com­munity foundations per capita than anywhere else in North America.

      To support all of these foundations, we also have Endow Manitoba, an initiative of The Winnipeg Foundation. Endow Manitoba is a network of the province's community foundations with the goal of helping increase their impact and advancing the community foundation movement across the province.

      We know that Manitobans are generous people and our community foundations are evidence of this. Community foundations are an important piece of what makes Manitoba communities so vibrant. And it is all thanks to the incredible people behind the scenes who make community foundations successful.

      On behalf of the Manitoba NDP, I want to thank all the community foundations in Manitoba for the amazing work you do every day.

Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Tyndall Park): I seek leave to respond to the minister's statement.

Madam Speaker: Does the member have leave to respond to the min­is­terial statement? [Agreed]

Ms. Lamoureux: I rise today to speak to community foundation day, that was officially proclaimed on April 26th.

      The proclamation speaks to the important role that community foundations play, in our case, here in Manitoba, and they truly demonstrate just how generous Manitobans are.

      Foundations all over Canada support a wide array of organizations and projects that are meant to enrich the lives of people and make our community an even better place. And because donations to these public charitable organizations remain in the com­mu­nities, they are growing strong and providing sustainability in so many ways.

* (13:40)

      One of the very neat facts about these community foundations are how they serve the local community's unique interests. This makes me think of the grass­roots issues being discussed within our communities.

      In addition to customizing every foundation, CFC, Canadian foundations of Canada, works with community foundations throughout the country on programming that targets social issues. These social issues include gender equality, social innovation, sustainable development and youth en­gage­ment, just to name a few.

      Madam Speaker, Manitoba is home to 57 com­munity foundations. This includes Canada's first community foundation, which we all know of, The Winnipeg Foundation, now 102 years old.

      In wrapping up, I just want to thank the minister for bringing forward today's min­is­terial statement and welcome all of our guests here in the gallery this afternoon, and just thank you for all the work that you're doing for our province here in Manitoba.

      Thank you.

Madam Speaker: Further min­is­terial statements?

      The honourable Minister of Health–and I would indicate that the required 90 minutes' notice prior to routine proceedings was provided in accordance with rule 27(2).

      Would the honourable minister please proceed with her statement.

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

Hon. Audrey Gordon (Minister of Health): I rise in the House today to recognize that our government has proclaimed May 2023 as the first Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in Manitoba.

      Cystic fibrosis, or CF, is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs. It is fatal, a rare disease that affects approximately 130 Manitobans.

      In October of 2021, I was pleased to announce that our government added TRIKAFTA, a treatment for cystic fibrosis, to the provincial formulary avail­able through the Manitoba Pharmacare program. Madam Speaker, in addition, in August 2022, our government expanded the coverage for patients aged six and older.

      TRIKAFTA is a triple-combination drug used not only for treating symptoms, but has given hope to tens of thousands of people with CF.

      One of the ways to raise awareness this May is at the annual Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History. On Sunday, May 28th, friends, families and colleagues will join Cystic Fibrosis Canada at the Woodhaven community club to celebrate, remember and support Manitobans living with cystic fibrosis. I encourage all Manitobans to participate in this year's walk.

      Madam Speaker, today I would like to ac­knowledge Jackie Snarr, who has a grandson with cystic fibrosis, and Lee Huber, a CF dad, and Kim Steele from Cystic Fibrosis Canada, who are joining us today in the gallery. I want to acknowledge the valuable work and support that Jackie, Lee and Cystic Fibrosis Canada have done for those living with cystic fibrosis and their families.

      Madam Speaker, I ask all members in the Chamber to please join me in recognizing Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Jackie and Lee for all they do for those living with cystic fibrosis in Manitoba and across Canada.

MLA Uzoma Asagwara (Union Station): Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs of the body. It can be devastating to Manitoba families and those living with CF.

      Thankfully, there are now treatments that drastically improve the lives of those suffering–especially TRIKAFTA, which has been described as the single greatest innovation in cystic fibrosis history.

      After CF advocates and our Manitoba NDP urged the Province to do so, this PC government added the drug to the provincial formulary. Since then, Manitobans living with CF have seen their conditions improve dramatically. However, Manitoba has the highest deductible in the country that people need to pay in order to access this drug. This is a serious accessibility issue and only serves to keep treatment from Manitobans who desperately need it.

      Manitoba is the only jurisdiction in Canada that does not have a CF drug program, since the life saving drug program here in Manitoba was eliminated in 2018 by the PC government. Manitoba, unfor­tunately, also has the highest number of hospitalizations and hospitalization days for cystic fibrosis in the country. This is why we must commit to doing everything within our power as legislators to support all Manitobans and their families who are living with CF.

      Today, advocates for cystic fibrosis continue to work for increased supports for those living with the condition. We applaud Cystic Fibrosis Canada and the Manitoba chapter for all of their work and commend all of those who continue to raise money for research and those who continue to provide care, be it for family members, friends and com­mu­nity who are living with CF.

      Madam Speaker, this issue is urgent. Every day counts to not only significantly improve the quality of life, but to actually save Manitoban lives.

      And to all those who are living with cystic fibrosis, I want you to know that the Manitoba NDP will continue to stand with you. We will continue to fight for you to have better access to treatments and resources and supports and human resources within your organi­zations.

      I can't acknowl­edge the folks who are in the gallery, Madam Speaker. I really want to, but thank you to all those advocates across our province. We're with you.

      Thank you.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I ask leave to speak to the minister's statement.

Madam Speaker: Does the hon­our­able member have leave to respond to the min­is­terial statement? [Agreed]

Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, compared with other provinces, Manitoba has the highest number of hospitalizations per capita for cystic fibrosis, the highest number of hospitalization days per capita of all provinces and the highest number of clinic visits per capita.

      It is likely that these results are in part because the major drug for helping most people with cystic fibrosis, TRIKAFTA, is not fully funded in Manitoba, nor are many of the other drugs needed to help those with cystic fibrosis fully funded.

      And there is more. Manitoba has the highest percentage of people with cystic fibrosis-related diabetes and the highest number of adult cystic fibrosis patients post lung transplants. These are additional signs that we need to better support those with cystic fibrosis in Manitoba, so that fewer people need hospitalizations, treatment for diabetes, as well as for their cystic fibrosis, and so that fewer people with cystic fibrosis need lung transplants.

      As a pediatrician, I have watched the amazing progress that has taken place over the years in the under­standing and the treatment of cystic fibrosis. The identification of the gene in Canada, in Toronto by Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui and his team, and now the use of what can be best described as designer drugs based on the specific mutation causing the cystic fibrosis. This has been incredible progress.

      We now need the government of Manitoba to step up and to come through with the additional funding support for those with cystic fibrosis. This funding is needed to match what is being done in other provinces in Canada.

      Thank you. Miigwech.

Members' Statements

Phil, Marilyn, Jack and Julia Snarr

Hon. Jon Reyes (Minister of Labour and Immigration): Madam Speaker, as my colleagues in the House have mentioned, May is Cystic Fibrosis– CF–Awareness Month, and I am truly pleased and proud to welcome Waverley constituents Phil and Marilyn Snarr, parents of daughter Julia and their son Jack.

      Back in the summer of 2021, I first met with Marilyn and Phil on a virtual call about CF and their son Jack bringing light on this issue concerning their son and those who are diagnosed with CF.

      Jack's parents have been champion advocates for those suffering with this disease by creating more awareness to the general public. I was proud, as their MLA, to assist them in navigating through the path­ways on how to communicate their message. They educated me about the transformational drug called TRIKAFTA.

      I want to thank the member for Southdale (Ms. Gordon) for taking steps to add TRIKAFTA to the provincial formulary. This positive announcement was welcomed by many young individuals, including Jack, who is here with us today.

      Jack started treatment of TRIKAFTA in November of 2022. At his check up on January 2023, the diagnostic tool for CF showed that Jack's sweat test improved significantly, meaning that the drug is having a profound impact and is slowing down the progression of the disease, giving Jack a robust child­hood that his family was not sure he would have. As a result of TRIKAFTA, Jack has more energy for many activities like school, going camping and fishing with his family and, his favourite activity, playing hockey.

* (13:50)

      Thanks to the tremendous advocacy efforts of Phil and Marilyn, alongside the CF community, those who have access to this drug are coming off the lung transplant list are–and are getting on with living.

      TRIKAFTA is changing the trajectory of CF for kids like Jack; their future looks brighter than ever, as do their hopes and dreams. I know he loves to play sports and his parents are obviously proud of his accomplishments. So am I, Jack: you have a big fan in me and us all.

      Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to celebrate Phil and Marilyn with me for being resolute in their dedication towards promoting such a life-changing initiative that is now transforming lives in the cystic fibrosis community. And let's not forget Julia, for being a great big sister to Jack. Go, Jack, go.

Strathcona School

Mrs. Bernadette Smith (Point Douglas): Today, I'm honoured to recognize the incredible grade 6 class from Strathcona School, a school I attended in my constituency, and their teacher, Daniel Orlikow.

      These young people made a big impression on me when each one of them sent me a letter last winter expressing the work–expressing support for the work being done by myself and others to advance reconciliation and MMIWG2S, as well as their con­cerns about these ongoing issues in our society.

      These issues aren't easy to confront and it shows tremendous leadership that these students took the–took political action by contacting their representative.

      On a personal note, reading these letters gave me a tremendous boost at a time when I needed it, and I'm extremely grateful for that. This was during the aftermath of the murders of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, Buffalo Woman.

      Changes have to happen in our society to stop tragedies from–like this happening in our world. We have to address colonialism and the legacies of genocide that are still taking place and taking family members from our com­mu­nities at increasing rates.

      I know from experience that this work takes a lot out of you, which is why I'm so grateful to these students today for their advocacy. I'm eager to share with other leaders and advocates in the hopes that they, too, might get a boat–boost as well.

      While it brings me joy to acknowledge that these true–to acknowl­edge this true leadership from young people, I must acknowl­edge, as well, how unfair it is that they have to step up in this way. They deserve to live in a world where young people don't have to worry about the injustices, that it's our responsibility in this House to do whatever it takes to build that world for these young people.

      Please join me in thanking and uplifting these young, amazing grade 6 students and the powerful reminder that they've given us for our–in our sacred responsibility.

Builders' Liens Amend­ment Act

Mr. Reg Helwer (Brandon West): Madam Speaker, last night in the Standing Committee on Social and Economic Development, a piece of legislation passed through committee to hopefully move to third reading. I know this is something we've seen before and we will see it again, but this 'legistralation' was intro­duced four times with slightly different wording, two MLA/ministers and it's moved on.

      Bill 38, The Builders' Liens Amendment Act (Prompt Payment) is hopefully on its way to becoming law.

      It has taken several years to get to this stage with numerous individuals, associations, business and labour providing guidance and suggestions. I hesitate to cal­culate the hours that have been spent on this legis­lation, but I know it is legislation that will work in Manitoba, as it has in other provinces and countries.

      Thank you to all those who have contributed to get us to this stage. The Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) and government of Manitoba have been clear in their support. The Minister of Consumer Protection and Government Services (Mr. Teitsma) has been a cham­pion, listened closely and accepted changes and amendments.

      The Leader of the Official Op­posi­tion (Mr. Kinew) and the opposition has seen fit to support the prompt payment legis­lation, and I encourage them to continue in their support. Thank you–and the House leaders have found a path for the bill.

      Madam Speaker, this legislation is enabling legis­lation for business and labour. It will allow con­struction projects to continue being built even when there are differences of opinion on payment. It will allow contractors, subcontractors, trades and labour to be paid in a timely manner.

      There is still third reading and much work is yet to be done, but I am confident that we will get through that process. My thanks to all who have contributed to this legislation. I believe it is a fine example of how the legis­lative process works.

Introduction of Guests

Madam Speaker: Just before we move on to the next statement, I would like to indicate that we did have in the public gallery from Woodlawn School 48 grade 3-to-4 students under the direction of Simmy Ghandi, and these–this group is located in the con­stit­uency of the hon­our­able member for Steinbach (Mr. Goertzen).

      So I just wanted to make sure we got that on record. I wasn't sure when they were going to leave. So we welcomed them here.

Team Clam

Mr. Diljeet Brar (Burrows): I rise in the House today to recognize some incredibly talented students and educators from Sisler High School. Team Clam, which includes Sisler CREATE students Xierra Cansino, Kimberly Chau, Sam Balanial, Gian Abad, Francesca Musni, took the top prize for best high school in the recent 24 HOURS Animation Contest for Students.

      Teams around the world were asked with creating a 30-second animation in 24 hours. Their entries were then judged by a panel of industry leaders. I had the pleasure of meeting Team Clam and the department head, Jamie Leduc, a few months ago, where I got to learn about their 24-hour whirlwind experience.

      From planning, to drafting, to creating, the stu­dents had to get this all done within a 24-hour time frame. In those 24 hours, team members took turns napping and snacking while others worked. The prompt for the challenge was to visualize life 100 years into the future, and Team Clam made a humorous short anima­tion titled Superfluous, which depicts a future where birds rule the earth and embody humankind's wasteful tendencies and desire to consume and keep consuming.

      Xierra, Kimberly, Sam, Gian and Francesca exemplify excellence, and I am proud that such young leaders are representing Burrows and our province on the global stage. I also want to applaud the success of the CREATE program, led by Jamie Leduc, which gives students the opportunity to learn filmmaking, game design, animation and other digital media.

      Team Clam is already making their mark in the animation industry, with all five group members being selected for internships with notable industry giants, and I wish them all success.

      Madam Speaker, I ask all members to join me in recognizing Team Clam, their families and educators who are here with us in the gallery.

      Thank you.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

Mr. Dougald Lamont (St. Boniface): I am sad to say it appears the–that our bill to reform NDAs is likely to die on the Order Paper in Manitoba this spring. We're waiting on a report of the law com­mis­sion–Law Reform Com­mis­sion of Manitoba, and it will not be ready 'til June.

      This is more than unfor­tunate, since legis­lation has already been passed not just in Prince Edward Island but in many juris­dic­tions around the world. And every day that this legis­lation is not passed, every­day people are being required to sign gag orders so that they can never again speak about their sexual assaults, assaults, harassment or mistreatment–especially at work–every single day. We know this because we're still hearing about people being required to sign gag orders in exchange for their severance.

      Last November, we had a very powerful com­mittee meeting at which people who had been mistreated and required to sign NDAs were able to speak, some for the first time in their lives: the teacher who was mistreated and whose health was put at risk at work, the union leader who was silenced through a one-sided non-disparagement clause, the police officer who reported that her colleagues were turning a blind eye to domestic assaults, an Indigenous health-care worker assaulted at work. There were many more: journalists who worked at major news organi­zations, The Globe and Mail and Fox News; university pro­fessors who were shunned for pointing out that their employer was protecting a predator.

* (14:00)

      There were also deeply personal stories: people who were victims of family violence and sexual abuse; a woman, abused by her father, whose estate is still keeping her silent after her death.

      They can't speak to family, to employers, to spirit­ual counsellors, and we know that, in many cases, NDAs are being used to protect serial predators in the workplace, with each new victim unaware because everyone else they've hurt has been forced to sign a gag order.

      One reason our committee hearings were so power­­ful was we determined every presenter at com­mittee also shared parliamentary privilege, which means that, as they spoke, their NDAs had no force.

      While it is unlikely to happen this spring in Manitoba, I am very glad that today, Senator Marilou McPhedran is introducing a federal NDA reform bill that will afford witnesses who wish to break their NDAs and speak their truth to talk about the harm and NDAs at committee in Ottawa.

      I hope it has the same powerful effect that our presenters did, and the federal government makes it the law of the land.

      Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Introduction of Guests

Madam Speaker: I would like to draw the attention of all hon­our­able members to the public gallery where we have with us today Patti Tweed, who is a con­stit­uent for the member of Union Station, and Jean Hodgins, and both are cystic fibrosis advocates in Manitoba. And both are the guests of the hon­our­able member for Union Station (MLA Asagwara).

On behalf of all members here, we wish you welcome to the Manitoba Legislature.

Oral Questions

Manage­ment of Health-Care System
Health Pro­fes­sionals' Recommendations

Mr. Wab Kinew (Leader of the Official Opposition): Doctors are speaking out. Respected physicians are provi­ding examples of the, quote, profound dysfunc­tion that has been engineered into our health-care system by this gov­ern­ment. End quote.

      The PCs have created, quote, a series of silos, end quote, and no one can provide an organizational chart for who does what. That's the health-care system under Brian Pallister and the Stefanson gov­ern­ment.

      It means worse care for patients and more frustra­tion and stress for those heroes who work on the front lines of our health-care system. Quote, those who can't endure the sheer moral injury quietly resign, and those who protest get reassigned. End quote.

      Does the Premier agree with the diagnosis of Dr. Dan Roberts, acting head of neurology at the Health Sciences Centre?

Hon. Heather Stefanson (Premier): I, indeed, want to thank all doctors in Manitoba for the in­cred­ible work they do to look after their patients each and every day, Madam Speaker.

      I do know that we are in the process of a recruit­ment program for doctors. In fact, Madam Speaker, just a couple of weeks ago, we had an RFP for 150 more doctors in rural and northern com­mu­nities. We have already attracted 73 physicians, including 30 family doctors, a cardiac surgeon, a neurologist and a neurosurgeon.

      We recog­nize there's more work to do, Madam Speaker, and we'll continue to get that job done for Manitobans.

Madam Speaker: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Kinew: Madam Speaker, we know that when doctors come forward from the Misericordia or surgeons come forward with recommendations to invest in our public health-care system to this Premier, they're ignored.

      But, and I quote, if a private busi­ness comes knock­ing at the door claiming a special elixir, it seems that the only process required is a wink and a nod. End quote.

      That's the state of health care under this Premier. Quote, agree­ments emerge in days and are eagerly signed without any scrutiny, trans­par­ency or due process. End quote.

      There needs to be account­ability from this gov­ern­ment for their failures.

      Can the Premier tell the House why she prioritizes private busi­ness over our public health-care system?

Mrs. Stefanson: Well, Madam Speaker, what's im­por­tant to, certainly, us on this side of the House, is that Manitobans get the surgeries that they need when they need them.

      And that's why we are making sig­ni­fi­cant pro­gress through our Diag­nos­tic and Surgical Recovery Task Force, Madam Speaker. I want to thank Dr. Ed Buchel, as well as Dr. Peter MacDonald, for the in­cred­ible work that they do and all the other doctors who are a part of that whole process.

      Madam Speaker, we're making sig­ni­fi­cant pro­gress where we've eliminated the pre-COVID pandemic backlog, and we want to continue to move in that direction towards making sure that Manitobans get the health-care services they need when they need them.

Madam Speaker: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a final supplementary.

Mr. Kinew: I just want to quickly point out, what the Premier said is not true. Manitobans are still waiting for hip and knee surgeries and they're waiting longer than they ever had before.

      But to remind the Premier, the question was spe­cific­ally about medical experts, who are speaking out about this gov­ern­ment's failures. They're calling out the dysfunction of the PCs when it comes to their attempts to manage our health-care system. They're also calling out the special treatment that private companies get when they approach the Cabinet of this PC gov­ern­ment.

      And at the end of the day, they're demanding account­ability for the real damage that the PCs have caused, first under Brian Pallister and now under the Stefanson gov­ern­ment, to the public health‑care system that every Manitoban relies on.

      My question for the Premier is this: How many more medical health system experts are going to speak out and condemn her mis­manage­ment of health care in Manitoba?

Mrs. Stefanson: Well, Madam Speaker, again, I want to thank all of the doctors for the in­cred­ible work that they do, and the nurses and all of those who work in our health-care system right across this wonderful province of ours.

      We are making sig­ni­fi­cant headway when it comes to our surgical and diagnostic backlogs, Madam Speaker. We have already eliminated the pandemic backlogs for cataract surgeries, for CT scans, for ultrasound tests, for cardiac catheterization, lab tasks for pace­maker surgeries–and the list goes on.

      There's several that we have eliminated. We recog­nize that there's more work to do, and I just want to thank our diag­nos­tic and surgical task force for the in­cred­ible work they're doing to ensure that we elim­inate those black–backlogs.

Madam Speaker: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a new question.

Edu­ca­tion Property Tax Credit
Out-of-Province Rebates

Mr. Wab Kinew (Leader of the Official Opposition): Madam Speaker, the Premier is underfunding edu­ca­tion in Manitoba at the same time that she sends out big cheques to billionaires who don't even live in Manitoba.

      On this side of the House, we say sending money to out-of-province billionaires while public schools are underfunded is wrong. On this side of the House, we say that those resources should be invested in our kids, invested in their future.

      That's why, once again, we're calling on this Premier to abandon her commit­ment of sending cheques to billionaires who don't live in Manitoba. Seems like an easy commit­ment to make.

      Will she do so today?

Hon. Heather Stefanson (Premier): Madam Speaker, the companies that the Leader of the Op­posi­tion is referring to actually own property in Manitoba. They pay taxes in Manitoba. They create jobs in Manitoba and they are sig­ni­fi­cant contributors to our economy.

      Now, I know the Leader of the Op­posi­tion doesn't care about jobs, doesn't care about economic growth op­por­tun­ities for the province of Manitoba. We know what his hidden agenda is. It's just to raise taxes in Manitoba. [interjection]

      We think that's wrong. [interjection]

Madam Speaker: I know the members of the cystic fibrosis advocacy group would like to hear what is being asked and answered on the floor, and I know that they would like to hear better demo­cracy in action and better civility towards each other.

      So I'm going to ask for everybody's co‑operation, please.

      The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Kinew: Yes, Madam Speaker, let's talk about the companies. The parent company that owns Superstore and No Frills in Manitoba yesterday raised its dividends. They did so because they made $426 million in just the first three months of this year. They did that by charging Manitobans more money at the grocery store.

      At the same time, this Premier turned around and saw a–thought that this hugely profitable cor­por­ation needed even more money. She cut a cheque for $327,000 to this same company.

      I'll table the docu­ments that prove the case.

      The only thing that the Premier needs to respond to now is: Why does she want to send hundreds of thousands of dollars to a wildly profitable company while Manitoba schools are underfunded?

* (14:10)

Mrs. Stefanson: Madam Speaker, the company that the Leader of the Op­posi­tion is referring to employs more than 3,000 Manitobans. And he's talking about putting them out of busi­ness in this province.

      Madam Speaker, millions of–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mrs. Stefanson: –dollars of tax revenue that we–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mrs. Stefanson: –get as a gov­ern­ment from this very cor­por­ation that the Leader of the Op­posi­tion is talking about, and he's talking about shutting them down in the province of Manitoba.

      Well, Madam Speaker, we're all about economic dev­elop­ment op­por­tun­ities for Manitoba companies, and we will continue to support those companies in Manitoba.

Madam Speaker: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a final supplementary.

Mr. Kinew: Madam Speaker, I invite the Premier to continue running on her what-about-the-billionaires plat­form.

      On this side of the House, we say that billionaires should pay their fair share. There is no risk that this company goes out of busi­ness. I will repeat that they just turned a profit of $426 million, and that's in the first three months of this year alone.

      The only point that we're making is that a com­pany owned by Galen Weston, which is so wildly profit­able, should not get an extra $325,000 from this PC gov­ern­ment, especially not when that $325,000 is being taken from revenue that is supposed to fund public schools.

      You have a choice when you vote this year. You can send cheques to billionaires with the PCs, or you can esta­blish a province-wide nutrition program in public schools with the Manitoba NDP–

Madam Speaker: The member's time has expired.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Madam Speaker: I have been standing for some time, and everybody's so busy heckling each other that they're not paying attention to me trying to carry out the rules of the House.

      So I'm going to ask for everybody's co‑operation, please.

Mrs. Stefanson: Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Opposi­tion, I wonder what he says to the more than 3,000 Manitobans that are employed by the very company that he's talking about. That's 3,000 Manitobans that are employed in this province–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mrs. Stefanson: –who pay taxes, Madam Speaker. And the company that pays millions of dollars in taxes to our gov­ern­ment, that of–that makes us be able to afford health care, edu­ca­tion that the Leader of the Op­posi­tion is talking about.

      That's how we're going to pay for the future, is by growing our economy, not by taxing Manitobans.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Madam Speaker: Order. Order.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program
Resig­na­tion of Out-of-Province Manager

MLA Uzoma Asagwara (Union Station): Madam Speaker, for over a year survivors and nurses have spoken out about the program–the problems, rather, with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program.

      Lack of staff has resulted in sexual assault sur­vivors being turned away from the SANE program, and that includes–devastatingly–children, Madam Speaker. We re­peat­edly called on the PCs to take action, and their response was to hire an out-of-province forensic manager to work remotely from Alberta.

      That's not a solution that works for Manitobans. And now we've learned that this person has resigned, and so it's essentially back to square one.

      Will the minister stand up and admit it was a mistake to hire an out-of-province manager for the SANE program?

Hon. Rochelle Squires (Minister responsible for the Status of Women): Our gov­ern­ment will always stand up for survivors of sexual assault. That is why it is our gov­ern­ment–this Health Minister–who esta­blished the sexual assault nurse examination program with ongoing operation dollars. And it is why this gov­ern­ment esta­blished a com­mu­nity-led program.

      And we were very pleased a few weeks ago to announce with Klinic and with support from Ka Ni Kanichihk to have a mobile site in com­mu­nity, to have a com­mu­nity-led sexual assault nurse examination pro­­gram, because our gov­ern­ment always stands up for sexual assault survivors and our gov­ern­ment always believes sexual assault survivors, some­thing the NDP cannot say.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Union Station, on a supplementary question.

MLA Asagwara: Madam Speaker, respectfully, it's unacceptable that the Health Minister won't stand up and answer this question when she is the one who has failed this program. [interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

MLA Asagwara: And the Minister for Families made an an­nounce­ment that actually had zero steps or plans attached to it to make sure that survivors could imme­diately access the care they need in com­mu­nities right now.

      In the meantime, the SANE program has fallen apart. SANE nurses need support from this gov­ern­ment, and survivors across Manitoba deserve support from this gov­ern­ment. Now we've learned the Alberta hire has resigned.

      Will the minister simply stand in this House today and admit her approach has failed?

Ms. Squires: So, I'd like to provide an update for the member that, on this side of the House, we work together, and that Manitoba Health and Status of Women and the De­part­ment of Families, we all worked very col­lab­o­ratively together to provide services both in com­mu­nity and in hospital so that we could support survivors of sexual violence.

      Unlike the members opposite, who failed to esta­blish an ongoing commit­ment to a sexual assault nurse examination program; unlike members opposite, who do not support survivors of sexual violence, nor do they believe them.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Madam Speaker: Order.

      The honourable member for Union Station, on a final supplementary.

MLA Asagwara: Madam Speaker, the minister's claim that we don't stand with survivors on this side of the House is a disgusting attempt to distract from the reality that her Health Minister and her gov­ern­ment have failed survivors and have failed nurses at the SANE program.

      Their shameful incompetence is having devastating impacts–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

MLA Asagwara: –on survivors across Manitoba. Survivors, including children, are being sent away and told not to wipe them­selves or to shower until they can come back and be seen when staff are available.

      At least 10 nurses have resigned from the SANE program, including the one the PCs hired to work remotely from Alberta. It's clear their approach has failed.

      Will the minister stand up, apologize to survivors and the nurses at the SANE program today?

Ms. Squires: Our gov­ern­ment will always stand up for survivors of sexual violence, and our gov­ern­ment will always stand up for children who are in need of pro­tec­tion, unlike members opposite.

      Let's review the facts. We–our gov­ern­ment an­nounced money–invested money in the Toba Centre for children who are abused. What did members opposite do? They voted against it.

      Our gov­ern­ment announced $650,000 last year for the sexual assault nurse examination program. What did members opposite do? They voted against it.

      Now our gov­ern­ment announced $1.2 million for a com­mu­nity-led sexual assault nurse examination pro­gram that has a survivors' circle that is advising the imple­men­ta­tion of this program. Members opposite, what did they do? They vote against it.

      They don't stand for survivors and they don't believe survivors.

Project Nova Budget
CEO Compensation

Mr. Matt Wiebe (Concordia): Madam Speaker, new revelations show that the issues at MPI and Project Nova go all the way to the top.

* (14:20)

      While Project Nova costs were ballooning more than $200 million overbudget, the hand-picked MPI CEO received not one, but two raises. And he also racked up $88,000 in travel costs as he toured the country for the equivalent of seven and a half weeks away.

      This PC gov­ern­ment and their hand-picked board, including Grant Stefanson, signed off on all of this. It's clear that the PCs have been in lockstep as their mis­manage­ment has led to higher Autopac rates once again.

      Can the Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) explain, why does she support giving the MPI CEO massive raises while Project Nova is $200 million overbudget?

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister responsible for the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation): The member opposite will remember, because he sat in gov­ern­ment at the time one of the last years that the NDP was in gov­ern­ment, that they approved a 3 and a half per cent rate increase for MPI.

      That was the same year that CEOs at MPI got hundreds of thousands of dollars of severance, and then the NDP turned around and hired them as consultants at $200 an hour, Madam Speaker. And that member did absolutely nothing.

      We had some concerns and we've taken action, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Concordia, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Wiebe: Well, the reality is that this minister and this gov­ern­ment have taken no action, because their hand-picked CEO and MPI board are meeting with the minister and updating him weekly on this over­expenditure.

      Even as the CEO received over $30,000 in not one, but two, raises just this year. He was out of the office seven and a half weeks, racking up $88,000 in travels costs. Inside sources say this–quote–this ab­sence has a huge impact on Project Nova. End quote. [interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Wiebe: Can the minister and the Premier explain: Why do they support giving the MPI CEO massive pay increases all at the same time that Project Nova is $200 million overbudget?

Mr. Goertzen: Well, obviously, Madam Speaker, we did have concerns and we acted upon those concerns.

      Two directives were sent to the Manitoba Public Insurance Cor­por­ation, one regarding tenders, one regarding inter-organization 'refiew.' That is exactly two times more directives that were sent under the former NDP gov­ern­ment at a time when rates for MPI were going up 3 and a half per cent, at a time when they were giving hundreds of thousands of dollars of severance for former CEOs and then turning around and hiring them back at $200 an hour and jacking up rates on Manitobans.

      That member, who sat in the gov­ern­ment, did ab­solutely nothing. We had concerns, we're taking action, as opposed to what they did, which was make Manitobans pay more and do nothing.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Concordia, on a final supplementary.

Mr. Wiebe: Well, it's clear that the PCs are des­per­ate to do anything to distract and to distancing them­selves from this boondoggle over at MPI called Project Nova.

      Yet Manitobans know that the issues at MPI are the respon­si­bility of the Premier and this PC gov­ern­ment. And they're paying for it, Manitobans are paying for it through higher Autopac rates even now.

      The PCs hand-picked the CEO and the MPI board that have allowed Project Nova to go $200 million overbudget, and they supported giving the CEO massive raises while they froze MPI employee wages for over two years. That's the record of this PC gov­ern­ment.

      Can the Premier just explain, why does she con­tinue to defend giving the MPI CEO massive raises, all while spending–

Madam Speaker: The member's time has expired.

Mr. Goertzen: Absolutely not defending it, and we brought directives in because we have some concerns, Madam Speaker.

      But let's look what the NDP did. They increased rates by 3 and a half per cent when they were in gov­ern­ment. They decided to take money out of MPI and try to give it to uni­ver­sities, and then they got stopped doing that.

      So then, a few years later, they tried to take money out of MPI and put it into roads and highways because they weren't funding infra­structure properly, and they got stopped doing that.

      Then they fired CEOs and gave them $100,000 of severance, turned around and rehired them in the cor­por­ation–one Marilyn McLaren got $50,000 contract. When we went to com­mit­tee to find out what the contract was for, they stated it was to do nothing. They gave them $50,000 a year to do absolutely nothing and they did nothing about that. They raided MPI. They treated it like their piggy bank. They did nothing.

      We had concerns, and we're taking actions, Madam Speaker.

Political Ad Campaign Funding
Election Advertising Rules

Mr. Adrien Sala (St. James): Manitobans expect–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Sala: –a level playing field when it comes to election advertising. But Brian Pallister rewrote the rules to create a loophole to try and tilt the playing field in his favour.

      The PCs are planning to use this loophole in the rules to use gov­ern­ment dollars to advertise their partisan messaging. We think that's wrong.

      Will the Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) commit to not using taxpayers' money to advertise issues before this Assembly after August 4th?

Hon. Cliff Cullen (Minister of Finance): We recog­nize there's rules and, certainly, we intend to play by the rules. That's always been our intent, and I think we've demon­strated that over the last number of years.

      And we, certainly, will continue to play by the rules, even though we know op­posi­tion members rarely do.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for St. James, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Sala: Manitobans know this House will rise soon and we won't be coming back until after the election, and that means the gov­ern­ment should not use tax­payer money to advertise issues before this House.

      But it looks like the Premier is going to try and use the loophole Brian Pallister created to tilt the playing field in her favour. That's wrong, Madam Speaker.

      Manitobans deserve a clear answer: Will the Premier commit to not using taxpayers' money to advertise issues before this Assembly after August 4th?

Mr. Cullen: I'm glad the member raises October 4th. I know we've got a lot of work ahead of us to make sure that Manitobans fully understand what is in this year's budget. In fact, this year we will reduce individual income tax $524 for Manitobans. When next year's transfers come in, we'll save Manitobans $1,400.

      I know that's some­thing that Manitobans will want to know. That's some­thing we want to tell Manitobans. And, by the way, we'll also tell Manitobans the NDP voted against that.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for St. James, on a final supplementary question.

Mr. Sala: It sounds like the Minister of Finance is committing today that they will be exploiting that loophole, and that is deeply unfor­tunate.

      We know the Premier has already been cautioned by the Com­mis­sioner of Elections for breaking the election law. That's not a good record.

      And we know the PCs are using gov­ern­ment resources to push their partisan agenda. We think they should not make use of this loophole Brian Pallister created.

      There are millions of dollars of taxpayer money at stake.

      So, will the Premier be clear: Will the Premier commit today to not using taxpayer money to advertise issues before this Assembly after August 4th?

Mr. Cullen: I–just going back in history here and look­ing at what the NDP did prior to the last couple of elections, we had record expenditures and advertising over the last election, 2016, of $13 million. The previous record high was before the election in 2011: just under $13 million.

      Madam Speaker, we have spent nowhere near that amount when it comes to prebudget advertising.

      Madam Speaker, I will say, and guarantee, this gov­ern­ment will play by the rules as they exist. We know the NDP never had and never will.

Drug Overdose Death Reporting
Request to Pass Bill 221

Mrs. Bernadette Smith (Point Douglas): Manitoba is facing an overdose crisis. The PC gov­ern­ment spent months refusing to release the number of overdose deaths in Manitoba in 2022, and we now know why.

      The preliminary data shows that 418 Manitobans died of overdoses in 2022. That's four hundred and people–four hundred Manitobans–418 loved ones that succumbed to overdoses, while this gov­ern­ment refuses to do nothing.

      This is shameful, Madam Speaker. The PCs should do the right thing and be trans­par­ent and pass Bill 221.

* (14:30)

      Will they commit to doing so today?

Hon. Janice Morley-Lecomte (Minister of Mental Health and Community Wellness): I do agree. There are too many laws–lives, sorry–lives lost to addictions. On this side we are committed to provi­ding accurate infor­ma­tion so Manitobans can see what the–have that infor­ma­tion.

      My de­part­ment does not provide oversight of the process to deter­mine the overdose deaths. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is respon­si­ble for this and it is under the De­part­ment of Justice. And the member opposite needs to reach out to that de­part­ment if she needs to know more now.

Madam Speaker: The hon­our­able member–[interjection] Order.

      The hon­our­able member for Point Douglas, on a sup­ple­mentary question.

Request to Release 2022 Data

Mrs. Smith: That minister is the minister of addic­tions and mental health. Why should she be sending me to Justice? She should have access to the numbers so that they could be accurately reflected so the people on the front line could do their work and they can respond accordingly.

      So I want to ask the minister, it's now May, almost five months into 2023. We still don't have the data for how many deaths have happened here in our province.

      So I'll ask the minister: When is the minister going to be trans­par­ent? When is the minister going to tell Manitobans how many deaths have happened this year? And when are those preliminary numbers from 2022 actually going to be accurate and listed on a website for Manitobans to see and–

Madam Speaker: The hon­our­able member's time has expired.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: I hate to repeat myself, but I will. The member opposite needs to go and check out the website for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and preliminary numbers are posted on there. Those numbers are the numbers that the public has access to.

      Thank you.

Madam Speaker: The hon­our­able member for Point Douglas, on a final sup­ple­mentary.

Safe Con­sump­tion Site
Request for Facility

Mrs. Bernadette Smith (Point Douglas): In Estimates yesterday, the minister said that those numbers were actually on her de­part­ment website. I went on the de­part­ment website and they were nowhere to be found.

      So I'll invite that minister to actually go look on their website. That is their portfolio and they should be able to give the public those numbers, especially front-line organi­zations who are actually doing the work so that it could help those so that we're reducing those deaths: 418.

      We should not be trending up. We don't even know what the number–the final numbers are.

      So I'll ask this minister: Will they do the right thing–and the Premier (Mrs. Stefanson)–open up a safe con­sump­tion site today so that Manitoban lives could be saved? Any organi­zation signed on asked this Premier to do that.

      Will they do it and open up a safe con­sump­tion site today?

Hon. Janice Morley-Lecomte (Minister of Mental Health and Community Wellness): I agree. We need to meet individuals at the levels that they are. We need to provide the services that they seek to reduce harm. But we refuse to leave them there, not like the op­posi­tion members who do.

      So that is why I want to high­light a couple of the invest­ments that we announced into the program areas over the last week: Huddle, a service that provides mental health, sex abuse and addiction peer support primary care for our youth received funding through our gov­ern­ment through The Winnipeg Foundation, RBC Foundation and the Bell-Graham Boeckh Foundation, a great support for youth who are seeking the supports for their mental health.

The Link Youth and Family Supports Centre
Staff Shortage and Mistreatment Allegations

Mr. Dougald Lamont (St. Boniface): It's now five months since I wrote the Premier asking about whistle-blowers at The Link and allegations–which used to be Macdonald Youth Services–into allegations that that facility was in crisis.

      The FIPPA I table shows the major concern of the gov­ern­ment and Link at the time was shutting down criticism and denying the issue, including the claim that, quote, there are no allegations that children or vul­ner­able, adults were harmed.

      They were certainly at risk.

      The min­is­try certainly knew about Fischer Place in The Pas where, in 2021, short-staffing of care for adults with intellectual dis­abil­ities, quote, has resulted in chronic vacancies and staff turnover to the extent we're unable to provide services without disruption. End quote.

      Why does the docu­ment say the De­part­ment of Families will work closely with The Link, instead of getting to the bottom of the issue, and where is the promised report that was due two months ago?

Hon. Rochelle Squires (Minister of Families): Our gov­ern­ment takes any allegation very seriously because our job No. 1 is to ensure that children and youth receive the pro­tec­tion services that they require when they need them the most.

      And that is why we've taken serious action against any allegations into any agency, including The Link, and that is why we hired a third party evaluator to go in, in addition to the audit unit within the Department of Families, to work towards ensuring that all children are getting the services that they need, youth are getting the services that they need to ensure that they are protected and are able to access the benefits that they need.

      And we're–we've hired a third party evaluator, as the member knows.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for St. Boniface, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Lamont: I've heard from many former workers, Indigenous youth and foster parents of The Link who told me about the mistreatment, abuse and staff shortages so bad they were putting children in group homes at risk.

      I heard from people who were in tears because when they finally read the accounts about the token­ization, abuse and mistreatment of workers, and the fact that their story was finally being told, validated them.

      The minister already has the interim in­vesti­gative report into The Link, which won't actually deal with any of these complaints, many of them directed against the CEO.

      Why is this gov­ern­ment defending a former NDP Families Minister? Is this gov­ern­ment now siding with the NDP on their abysmal treatment of children in care?

Ms. Squires: While we know that the members oppo­site can spend all kinds of time creating these theories and conspiracies that have absolutely no relevance in reality, the reality is, is that our gov­ern­ment ensures that all the services that we are needing to provide to children and youth and to vul­ner­able families through­out the province are being delivered.

      And that is why our gov­ern­ment has enhanced the budget. In fact, the De­part­ment of Families has received a 25 per cent increase in overall expenditures since the time our gov­ern­ment took office, some­thing that I would like to point out that that member has voted against each and every single year.

      If he really cared about the pro­tec­tion of children, he'd vote in favour of these historical increases for the De­part­ment of Families.

Funding Support for Hearing Aids
Individuals Aged 19 to 64 Years Old

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, at noon today, there was a rally in front of the Manitoba Legislature in support of those who are hard of hearing.

      Individuals attending the rally were thankful to the gov­ern­ment for heeding our call last year to provide funding for hearing aids for those 65 and older. The rally today was to seek support for similar funding for those with impaired hearing who are ages 19 to 64 years of age.

      Hearing aids are a medical necessity. At the rally, we heard from Gladys Nielsen and Tammy Perry about the need for help in this age group. A number of those at the rally are in the gallery today.

      When will the gov­ern­ment provide funding sup­port for hearing aids for those aged 19 to 64 years of age?

Hon. Scott Johnston (Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care): I'm pleased to hear the member indicate his support for the hearing aid program that the gov­ern­ment has imple­mented. That program was developed through a great deal of con­sul­ta­tion and dis­­cussion with seniors. And our whole seniors strategy is to fulfill the needs of seniors, which we are doing.

      We take a whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach to every­­­thing that we initiate and we have a program that is extremely well received by the public of Manitoba. And, as we proceed with that program, we will review it and deter­mine whether or not we are–we will pro­ceed further.

Public Safety Initiatives
New Programs

Mr. Len Isleifson (Brandon East): We know that Manitobans do not trust the NDP on anything they say, anything they do, but especially when it comes to addressing crime and public safety.

      They have opposed bail reform. They have en­couraged gov­ern­ments to defund the police.

      Can the Minister of Justice please share how our government prioritizes com­mu­nity safety and invest­ments in resources to keep Manitobans safe?

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Madam Speaker, I want to thank my friend from Brandon East for that im­por­tant question.

* (14:40)

      Our Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) and the gov­ern­ment of Manitoba has been a leader in calling for bail reform across Canada. But we know that we can't just wait for the federal Liberal gov­ern­ment to take action.

      And that's why, last week, we announced a num­ber of initiatives, including enhanced bail super­vision, probation supervision, electronic monitoring super­vision in the province of Manitoba. We want to ensure that those who are being released are being monitored in our com­mu­nities, so that they are not committing more crimes and creating more victims.

      However, we do need the federal gov­ern­ment to fulfill their commitment to toughen up on bail, so that individuals aren't released when they shouldn't be released.

      We know that the NDP op­posi­tion are the only party in Canada who doesn't support that provision.

      We'll continue to do our job in making Manitoba safer, Manitoba–Madam Speaker.

Thompson Aquatic Centre
Request for Funding Support

Mr. Eric Redhead (Thompson): In 2019, the Thompson pool closed under this gov­ern­ment and has sat closed ever since.

      An an­nounce­ment was made leading up to the Thompson by‑election. In that an­nounce­ment, they announced a project that would cost approximately $15 million. The city of Thompson has put out a tender now for that project, and we know the cost will be well over $20 million.

      Will this gov­ern­ment stop dragging its feet and increase their con­tri­bu­tions to the Thompson aquatic centre so the children of Thompson have a safe place to swim?

Hon. Cliff Cullen (Minister of Finance): Well, Madam Speaker, we recog­nize the challenges that com­mu­nities like Thompson are facing with cost overruns. Our prov­incial gov­ern­ment is finding the same thing. We have $5 million on the table.

      In addition to Thompson and the aquatic facility, we've also just recently completed $15‑million invest­ment into water and sewer lines; we're currently redeveloping the Miles Hart Bridge–$36 million; we're in the–currently in the middle of upgrading the prov­incial courthouse–$17 million; we just invested in a waste-water treatment plant–$12 million; we just put $2.8 million into a healing serving centre for the com­mu­nity; affordable housing, another $1.2 million; MKO youth restorative justice facility–$2.8 million; PR 280–$2.4 million; Thompson library–$30,000; UCN funding–

Madam Speaker: The member's time has expired.

      The time for oral questions has expired.


Health-Care Coverage

Mr. Nello Altomare (Transcona): I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly.

      To the Legis­lative Assembly of Manitoba, the background for this petition is as follows:

      (1) Health care is a basic human right and a funda­mental part of responsible public health. Many people in Manitoba are not covered by provincial health care, such as migrant workers with work permits of less than one year, international students and those undocumented residents who have lost their status for a variety of reasons.

      (2) Racialized people and communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, mainly due to the social and economic conditions which leave them vulnerable while performing essential work in a variety of industries in Manitoba.

      (3) Without adequate health-care coverage, if they are ill, many of the uninsured will avoid seeking health care due to fear of being charged for the care, and some will fear possible detention and deportation if their immigration status is reported to the authorities.

      (4) According to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, denying essential health care for undocumented, irregular migrants is a violation of their rights.

      (5) Jurisdictions across Canada and the world have adopted access-without-fear policies to prevent sharing personal health information or immigration status with immigration authorities and to give uninsured residents the confidence to access health care.

      (6) The pandemic has clearly identified the need for everyone in Manitoba to have access to health care to protect the health and safety of all who live in the province.

      We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      (1) To urge the provincial government to imme­diately provide comprehensive and free health-care coverage to all residents of Manitoba, regardless of immigration status, including refugee claimants, migrant workers, international students, dependant children of temporary residents and undocumented residents.

      (2) To urge the minister of Health and seniors care to undertake a multilingual communication campaign to provide information on expanded coverage to all affected residents.

      (3) To urge the minister of Health and seniors care to inform all health-care institutions and providers to expand coverage for those without health-care in­surance and the details on how necessary policy and protocol changes will be imple­mented; and, finally,

      (4) To urge the minister of Health and seniors care to create and enforce strict confidentiality policies and provide staff with training to protect the safety of residents with precarious immigration status and ensure they can access health care without jeo­pard­izing their ability to remain in Canada.

      This petition, Madam Speaker, is signed by many Manitobans.

      Thank you.

Madam Speaker: In accordance with our rule 133(6), when petitions are read they are deemed to be received by the House.

Diagnostic Testing Accessibility

Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly.

      The background of this petition is as follows:

      (1) Until recently, diagnostic medical tests, in­cluding for blood and fluid samples, were available and accessible to most medical clinics.

      (2) Dynacare blood test labs have consolidated their blood and fluid testing services by closing 25 of its labs.

      (3) The provincial government has cut diag­nostic testing at many clinic sites, and residents now have to travel to different locations to get their testing done, even for a simple blood test or a urine sample.

      (4) Further, travel challenges for vulnerable and elderly residents of northeast Winnipeg may result in fewer tests being done or delays in testing, with the attendant effects of increased health-care costs and poorer individual patient outcomes.

      (5) COVID‑19 emergency rules have resulted in long outdoor lineups, putting vulnerable residents at risk–further risk in extreme weather, be it hot or cold. Moreover, these long lineups have resulted in longer wait times for services and poorer services in general.

      (6) Manitoba residents value the convenience and efficiency of the health-care system when they are able to get their samples at the same time–give their samples at the same time of the doctor visit.

      We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      To urge the provincial government to immedi­ately demand Dynacare maintain all the phlebotomy, blood sample, sites existing prior to the COVID‑19 public health emergency, and allow all Manitobans to get their blood and urine tests done when visiting their doctor, thereby facilitating local access to the blood testing services.

      And this petition is signed by many, many Manitobans.

Foot-Care Services

Mr. Eric Redhead (Thompson): I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly.

      To the Legis­lative Assembly of Manitoba, the background of this petition is as follows:

      (1) The population of those aged 55-plus has grown to approximately 2,500 in the city of Thompson.

      (2) The–a large percentage of those people in this age group require medical necessary foot care and treatment.

      (3) A large percentage of those who are elderly and/or diabetic are living on low incomes.

      (4) The northern regional health author­ity, N‑R‑H‑A, previously provided medical foot-care services to seniors and those living with diabetes until 2019, then subsequently cut the program after the last two nurses filling those positions retired.

      (5) The number of seniors and those with diabetes has only continued to grow in Thompson and the surrounding areas.

      (6) There is no adequate medical care available in the city and the region, whereas the city of Winnipeg has 14 medical foot-care centres.

      (7) The implications of inadequate or lack of podiatric care can lead to amputations.

      (8) The city of Thompson also serves as a regional health-care service provider, and the need for foot care extends beyond just those served in the capital city of the province.

      We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      To urge the provincial government to provide the services of two nurses to restore essential medical foot‑care treatment to the city of Thompson, effective April 1st, 2022.

      This petition is signed by Tracy Boxell, Russell Boxell, Kelly Selminak [phonetic].

      Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Drug Overdose Reporting

Mrs. Bernadette Smith (Point Douglas): I wish to present the following petition to the Legis­lative Assembly.

      The back­ground to this petition is as follows:

      (1) Across the province, many Manitobans con­tinue to struggle with addictions, and the pandemic has led to even more deaths and worsened the ongoing public health crisis of opioid overdoses.

* (14:50)

(2) Three hundred and seventy-two Manitobans died from an overdose in 2020, and that's over one a day and 87 per cent higher than in 2019.

      (3) Manitoba is expected to exceed over 400 over­dose deaths in 2021, but the data is not publicly available since the last public reporting of opioid deaths was published in 2019.

      (4) The data for drug overdose deaths from 2020 and 2021 was compiled through media inquiries, and this needs to change.

      (5) Access to timely data on the harms of drugs helps to inform both gov­ern­ment and stake­holders on where to take action and target resources needed in various com­mu­nities.

      (6) Manitoba is the only province not provi­ding regular, timely data to the federal gov­ern­ment opioid infor­ma­tional–information portal.

      (7) Manitobans deserve a gov­ern­ment that takes the growing drug crisis seriously and will report the data publicly in a timely manner to target actions and allow for account­ability.

      We petition the Legis­lative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      To urge the prov­incial gov­ern­ment to enact Bill 217, The Fatality Inquiries Amend­ment Act (Overdose Death Reporting), to require the Province to publish the number of drug overdose deaths, as well as the type of drug, on a gov­ern­ment website in a timely fashion.

      And this has been signed by Donna Bellow, Tim Bellow, Donna Bartram and many other Manitobans.

Madam Speaker: Grievances?




House Business

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Government House Leader): Pursuant to rule 34(7), I'm announcing that the private member's reso­lu­tion to be considered on the next Tuesday, at private members' busi­ness, will be the one put forward by the hon­our­able member for Brandon West (Mr. Helwer). The title of that reso­lu­tion is Committing to Balancing Future Budgets While Keeping Life Affordable for Manitoba Families.

Madam Speaker: It has been announced that the private member's reso­lu­tion to be considered on the next Tuesday of private members' busi­ness will be one put forward by the hon­our­able member for Brandon West. The title of the reso­lu­tion is Committing to Balancing Future Budgets While Keeping Life Affordable for Manitoba Families.

* * *

Mr. Goertzen: Madam Speaker, could you please resolve the House into Com­mit­tee of Supply.

Madam Speaker: It has been announced that the House will consider Estimates this afternoon. This House will now resolve into Com­mit­tee of Supply.

      Mr. Deputy Speaker, please take the Chair.

Committee of Supply

(Concurrent Sections)

Room 254

Mental Health and Community Wellness

* (15:00)

The Acting Chairperson (Len Isleifson): Will the Com­mit­tee of Supply please come to order. This section of the Com­mit­tee of Supply will now resume con­sid­era­tion of the Estimates for the De­part­ment of Mental Health and Community Wellness.

      Questioning for this de­part­ment will continue in a global manner.

      The floor is now open for questions.

Mrs. Bernadette Smith (Point Douglas): So, I just have a few undertakings for the minister. I'm hoping that the minister can under­take to give a list of all technical ap­point­ments in her de­part­ment, including names and titles.

Hon. Janice Morley-Lecomte (Minister of Mental Health and Community Wellness): So, there are two technical ap­point­ments: Danielle Orvis is the execu­tive assist­ant and Laura Guttormson is the special assist­ant.

Mrs. Smith: Can the minister under­take to give an organizational chart that lists all employees and pro­gram areas?

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: If the member would go to page 14 of the sup­ple­ment of Estimates.

Mrs. Smith: Yes. So I am aware of page 14, but what I'm asking for is a breakdown of all employees, as well as program areas. So, this is in the de­part­ment, but I am asking for organi­zational chart with all the employees and the program areas.

      And if the minister can under­take that, that would be great, because it's not in this, and I'm sure it's going to take time to put that together.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, there are three admin, two tech, one deputy; and under the deputy, there are two admin and one policy person, two ADMs; and under the two ADMs, there are two executive directors, four managers, two collective policy analysts. In total, there are about 75 employees.

Mrs. Smith: I did ask if the minister would provide an organizational chart that lists all employees as well as program areas. So, if the minister can under­take that. I know you've given me some of that, but, again, employees–all employees and program areas.

      So, programs that are administered by the de­part­ment.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, we can provide the chart and the different program areas, but the employee names are not included on the chart.

Mrs. Smith: Yes, and that's fine. If the member–or the minister can under­take that.

      So, my next question: Can the minister give a list of all current vacancies in the de­part­ment as a number and a percentage?

Mr. Dennis Smook, Chairperson, in the Chair

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: Okay. So, as of March 31st, 2020, the executive has 14.5 total full-time. Total filled are 14. Total vacancy–0.5.

* (15:10)

      The mental health and recovery, as of March 31st, 2023, has 33.7 total full‑time. Total filled are 31.9; total vacancy, 1.8; wellness, as of March 31st, 2023, 14 full-time; total filled, 13; total vacancy, 1, with a total as of March 31st, 2023, of 60.2 full-time; total filled, 58.9; total vacant, 1.3 or 2 per cent.

Mrs. Smith: I thank the minister for those answers. Yesterday, I asked about the 1,000 beds and how the gov­ern­ment defines addiction treatment spaces.

If the de­part­ment says they're investing in 1,000 spaces, is 1,000 different spaces or spaces that they can serve 1,000 people? For example, 1,000 spaces serves 10 people each.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: I'd just like to remind the mem­ber that in the November 15th, 2022, Throne Speech, it stated our gov­ern­ment was committed to increasing and supporting 1,000 treatment spaces in the province to ensure everyone who was seeking treat­ment had access to the supports.

      The reason for the commit­ment to spaces is that not all services required are bed-based. We know we need a continuum of addiction supports in the province.

      So, for example, mobile withdrawal services are offered in a person's home; intensive day pro­gram­ming is not a bed-based treatment. It's not all in the facility.

Mrs. Smith: So, the minister claims that the Province is investing in 1,000 treatment spaces; it's even written on page 20 of the Estimates book.

      Yet the gov­ern­ment's own request for expression of interest posted on MERX makes it clear what 1,000 spaces actually means.

      On page 2, it says: This initiative will enable up to 1,000 treatment spaces, people served, to receive substance-use addiction services. A table makes it even clearer–even more clear. In the same docu­ment, the Province is looking to build 155 spaces, not 1,000.

      Can the minister explain, does she think it's misleading when she says the PC gov­ern­ment is going to build 1,000 spaces, when in reality it's far less?

* (15:20)

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, no, that is not misleading. That is how you measure or track the capacity in the system. So 300 of the 1,000 treatment spaces have already been announced, and the ad­di­tional capacity is being purchased through Shared Health and the regional health author­ity yet to be announced.

      So the remaining amount went out through the expression of interest, and it would go through sup­port­ive recovery housing, adult bed-based treatment services, multifunctional bed-based transition sup­ports and intensive day pro­gram­ming.

MLA Uzoma Asagwara (Union Station): Could the minister repeat the first part? Would you actually mind repeating your entire response? I missed the first part. I want to make sure that I've captured it properly.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: No, it is not misleading, the measuring and tracking of the capacity in the system.

      And then it–we've already announced 300 of the 1,000 treatment spaces. And then the ad­di­tional capa­city is being purchased through Shared Health and the regional health author­ity, and that is yet to be announced. And the remaining number of spaces–treatment spaces went out through an EOI for sup­port­ive recovery housing, adult bed-based treatment services, multi-functional bed-based transition sup­ports and intensive day program.

MLA Asagwara: Can the minister clarify, did she say that the ad­di­tional–the remaining spaces are to be purchased through Shared Health, and then she said some­thing subsequent to that. So, was it EOI that–I just–I'm not clear. What does that acronym represent that she's saying?

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: EOI is expression of interest.

MLA Asagwara: So, I think it is misleading that, you know, the minister and the Province would say that they're claiming 1,000–they're creating 1,000 new spaces when, in reality, when you add the numbers up, it doesn't appear that those are actually 1,000 new beds, which I'm sure they're aware the general public, that's how they interpret it.

      And, you know, and also very curious to know about timelines because that's–it's a big an­nounce­ment. This minister is saying they've already announced 300 of those 1,000 beds and there's going to be an expression of interest for others and more to be purchased through Shared Health, et cetera. But that doesn't provide any comfort to families whose family members cannot access beds right now. And there's no clarity around when folks who are in need of those beds that don't truly total 1,000 are going to be able to access those services.

      So, with that in mind, because we know the reality of it is that Manitobans are not only being turned away from services that this gov­ern­ment purports to be meeting the need, like RAAM services, which turn away many Manitobans who are in des­per­ate need of care. We also know that folks are waiting to be able to access treatment beds. And, you know, treatment being detox bed or longer term treatment.

      So I'm wondering if the minister can provide clear infor­ma­tion around what the average wait time is for someone who does have to wait to access bed-based addiction services. And if the minister could articulate, you know, what areas those waits are in. Is it for detox beds? Is it for longer term treatment? How long, on average, are those folks waiting to access the varying types of beds that are available?

      And, you know, breaking that down by what is the top 10 per cent of wait times, just as an example. And with that in mind, has the de­part­ment set a goal to reduce those wait times?

      Maybe I'm being a little greedy. I see the minister nodding and–loading a lot into that question.

      But thank you.

* (15:30)

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, I just want to begin by stating it's treatment spaces, it's not beds. So when we said 1,000, we meant treatment spaces. That's what we're advertising for.

      And not all the services that are required are essen­tially bed‑based. There are other services that an individual may need to access, depending upon where they are.

      We have home services, the mobile withdrawal unit services so individuals, if they're unable to access a service, are able to take the services in their home. If they have children, they can take services at their home. Days, evenings, services provided go to the needs of the individual so that we can assist them at the level that they're needing the support for.

      With RAAM clinics, we've announced six. There is a seventh to be opening, which is seven more than were previously in place prior to those.

      So, we've done seven RAAM clinics, and the road map identifies the needs for consistency in reporting for the targets for individuals, so use the road map.

Mrs. Smith: So, I think the question was pretty clear. I'd asked, how long on average is someone waiting to access treatment beds? And the minister outlined, you know, the RAAM clinic, which we know, like, three to four people get into a day.

      There's all sorts of ramifications with that in terms of someone that's ready to get into treatment and going there and being turned away, or an ap­point­ment being made.

      We know that there's not enough beds for folks to actually get into recovery when they're ready to get into recovery.

      So, the question was, what is the wait time, and what is the top 10 per cent of wait times? So, if the minister can provide that, that would be great.

      And what is the goal? It says to reduce it by 5 per cent.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: I think it is a little con­cern­ing that the member opposite doesn't support RAAM clinics and the work of the service providers that they provide for the com­mu­nity.

      The wait times to access withdrawal manage­ment services vary and fluctuate depending upon the pro­gram, the number of people requiring the service at that time. Wait times can range from imme­diate access to up to one month. The wait times for bed-based treatment beds vary significantly between programs and change on a month-to-month basis.

      And wait times for support of recovery housing units also vary significantly between programs and are dependent upon the flow of residents in the in­de­pen­dent housing.

Mrs. Smith: In nowhere did I say that I did not support RAAM clinics. I've had RAAM clinic staff approach me and talk to me about bringing their voice to the Manitoba Legislature because they have to turn people away, and there has been people that have left there and have lost their lives.

      So, I want to be clear. I support RAAM clinics, but I support them with more resources. They are under-resourced; they're only open a certain amount of hours a day; they're not able to get folks into treat­ment right away; they're often given–their hands are tied; folks that are there have to wait in line at like 5:30, 6 in the morning, and staff are saying that they're only able to take three or four.

      And many times that those folks that are coming in, they have to give them ap­point­ments to come back, and then they don't see them again. There's a certain amount of window that they need to be able to get into treatment.

      So, again, I'll ask the minister–and I find it prob­lematic that the minister can't even give us an average. Like, they're saying it's an average of a month. Well, how many people are waiting, for how long, for bed-based addiction services? And it says the goal is to reduce it by 5 per cent. Again, bed-based addiction services.

      So, I'll ask the minister again: How long is some­one waiting to access bed-based addiction services? What's the top 10 per cent of wait times?

      And the de­part­ment has set the goal to reduce the wait times by 5 per cent. Where is the de­part­ment on that?

* (15:40)

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, there is no central wait-list for services. The services are provided by many com­mu­nity agencies, and they have their own unique criteria for admission. So, when we're speaking about wait times, we tend to speak as an average wait time to get into a facility.

      The 5 per cent target that you're referencing is a measure that would be projected for the end of 2023‑2024, once every­thing has been put in place with the 5 per cent wait times.

      So, some of the numbers–I can give you some of the numbers for wait times. So, we have–our P‑C men's day program is 38 days; the Compass, male, 37; Compass, female, 35; problem gambling, men, 35 days, women, 35; and Brandon, Parkwood, female, wait time is 65 days.

Mr. Chairperson: Just a friendly reminder, before I–we're doing very well here, but just to keep it in line, we should, you know, go through the Chair so that way it doesn't, you know, lead into anything.

      So, thank you very much.

Mrs. Smith: Thank you for that reminder.

      I would ask the minister if they could actually provide–under­take to provide a breakdown for each program that the de­part­ment supports, whether that's through Main Street Project or a Siloam Mission or Behavioural Health Foundation. I'm sure that, you know, those organi­zations report to the de­part­ment on how many, you know, folks are accessing their services, how many folks are waiting get into those services.

      The minister also referenced they've already created 300 of the thousand spaces. So I'd also like the minister to under­take or let us know where those 300 spaces are.

      And the minister also talked about–that's the 2023‑24 projection. We're in a couple of months and, you know, certainly 300 beds would start to break that 5 per cent down. So if there's 300 beds now, you know, where are those beds? What's the impact? And if they can under­take, again, to provide the numbers for the different treatment spaces that they provide funding to.

* (15:50)

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: For the 300 spaces–so, up to 300 spaces were announced for Prairie Mountain Health, for Brandon, for Portage with Shared Health, Southern Health and Interlake 'easten' health in the Ashern hospital.

      The infor­ma­tion of the wait times in that is not some­thing that is shared, so I would direct the member to go back to each of the agencies that she's seeking this infor­ma­tion from and ask them for it.

Mrs. Smith: I find it problematic that the minister wouldn't have access to those average wait times from organi­zations that they actually provide funding to, because ultimately they report to your de­part­ment.

      And, you know, if there's a greater need–which we know that there is–and we know that these wait times, and–we still haven't, you know, been given an answer from the minister on what the actual wait times are, the average wait times for, you know, across Manitoba.

      We've heard an­nounce­ments of beds; we don't even know if those beds have opened up. We know that there's no services provided for folks that are actually sitting on a waiting list, that they're just left without any support. And some have not even made it to recovery and have lost their lives waiting to get into detox or treatment which is, you know, very disheartening.

      So I would, you know, suggest to the minister that they should be consulting and actually looking at these numbers, and actually looking so that it guides them in the direction that it's going to reduce these wait times. If you have a 5 per cent goal, how are you meeting that goal if you're not even looking at these numbers? And you're–sent me to Justice yesterday for the medical examiner, you're–now you're asking me to go to these different organi­zations to get these numbers that the minister should have access to.

      Like, these are Manitoban lives. These are people that are waiting to get into treatment, and we're play­ing with, you know, here, go here, go there, you go get the numbers yourself. It's not for me; I'm asking for, actually, family members that are waiting to get their loved ones into treatment. And I shared yesterday, my brother‑in‑law was in treatment three times. Came out; no services offered, no wraparound services. While he waited to get into treatment, he lost his life.

      So, these are very im­por­tant questions that I'm asking. They're not questions that are just, you know, I'm trying to catch the minister in some kind of web or anything. These are people that are actually waiting and need to know how long they have to wait to get into treatment.

      You know, I've been speaking to a mother today that's watching these proceedings, and they want to know. You know, you gave a few numbers of some day programs: 68 days to get into a day program. How long is it to get into a bed-based program where actually you get the supports that you need?

      So, whether it's 30 days, whether it's 60 days, whether it's 90, or six months or up to a year, those numbers should be available to the minister. And the minister should be accountable to Manitobans and be able to provide those numbers. You know, it's very disheartening to sit here and hear the minister say, well go to behavioural foundation and ask them what–how long their wait time is. Go to Main Street Project.

      Like, you're gov­ern­ment. Our job is to ask these questions and to get answers, and I don't understand why the minister wouldn't want to provide those answers. Those answers are going to help guide the response. You know, you're saying 1,000 beds. We probably need double that, if not triple that.

      So, I'm going to move on from that, but I just wanted to state that.

      So, on page 24 of the Estimates book, it says that the de­part­ment prepared draft legis­lation and regula­tions on the subject of licensing public and private addiction organi­zations.

      What has the minister heard from the addictions organi­zations on these proposed changes? And does the minister think that the fact that front-line com­mu­nity organi­zations universally oppose their proposed licensing regula­tions, as these regula­tions would have hampered addiction services?

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, I just want to go back to the member's previous comments. The infor­ma­tion on wait times and services, we have. But it is con­fi­dential and it is not for the de­part­ment to share.

      There is also an ex­pect­a­tion that part of the standards to be put in place would have been put in place with a bill that we presented, but the bill was stopped by yourselves.

      So, we absolutely cannot share any infor­ma­tion because it is not uni­ver­sal for individuals to have access to that knowledge.

      And I would like–

Mr. Chairperson: Oh, the hon­our­able Minister of Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: Okay, thank you–and to have the member repeat the question.

MLA Asagwara: I just want to get clarity. So, the minister is saying that the wait times, which at first she stated they didn't have access to, now the minis­ter's clarifying they do have access to the infor­ma­tion around wait times, but that that infor­ma­tion is con­fi­dential and cannot be shared beyond the de­part­ment.

* (16:00)

      What mechanism is it? Is it a part of an act? What is it exactly that precludes the minister from disclosing what those wait times are?

      The minister also just stated that Bill 33 would have esta­blished standards that would have allowed for the minister–would have allowed–standards that would have allowed the minister to make public that infor­ma­tion.

      So, what is the mechanism spe­cific­ally that is preventing the minister from being trans­par­ent and provi­ding the infor­ma­tion around wait times right now and generally, as stated by the minister?

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, not naming the individual organi­zation, and the wait times is con­fi­dential. And we don't want to share that on public record.

      And the public reporting of the aggregated wait-list is a priority of the roadmap. So the road mapping will put the aggregated numbers on that.

MLA Asagwara: So, I see that the minister has aban­doned her narrative, almost imme­diately–effectively imme­diately. So, the minister stated that the infor­ma­tion was con­fi­dential and that couldn't be provided and would've been able to be provided if we hadn't stopped a bill they brought forward.

      Yet, in her response to my question for her to identify spe­cific­ally what is the mechanism that is precluding the minister from provi­ding this infor­ma­tion, there's no clarity around what that mechanism is. Is it a piece of legis­lation? Is it some­thing somewhere that we should be talking about?

      And the minister also makes no mention of the legis­lation she claims would've been a way for them to actually provide that infor­ma­tion. So, that is a bit–from my perspective, that's a bit con­cern­ing because it reflects that, for whatever the reasons are, the minis­ter isn't wanting to be trans­par­ent about why it is or what it is that she says is preventing them, that is resulting in this infor­ma­tion being con­fi­dential, which is a pretty strong statement.

* (16:10)

      To say that that infor­ma­tion is con­fi­dential, but to not clarify what makes it con­fi­dential, what is prevent­ing her from provi­ding it when, you know, we've asked questions along those lines in other Estimates com­mit­tees, and that infor­ma­tion is readily provided. And if it's not available imme­diately, it's under­taken to be provided at a later date.

      And so I'm concerned that there's some potential mechanism in place here within this parti­cular de­part­ment that isn't allowing the minister to provide that infor­ma­tion. Yet, the minister won't provide clarity as to what that mechanism is.

      Further to my point regarding this legis­lation that the minister did bring forward that, yes, we have stopped, I think it's im­por­tant to talk about the fact that front-line com­mu­nity organi­zations, front-line organi­zations, service providers, com­mu­nity health pro­viders, have been unified–medical experts, doctors, have been clear–that that legis­lation would directly impede and harm the efforts of folks who are provi­ding life‑saving health care to those struggling with addictions.

      You know, myself, everyone, I think, is well aware I am a nurse by back­ground. I'm a psychiatric nurse. I'm also an addictions specialist. I'm somebody who has trained hundreds and hundreds of Manitobans to provide care to family members, to people across the province struggling with addictions, folks struggling with co‑occurring disorders, so mental health disorders and challenges alongside addictions issues.

      And through all of my training–years of training, edu­ca­tion, front-line ex­per­ience as a health-care provider working with families, I would not position myself as somebody who should be the be-all, end-all on the–on what legis­lation should look like to best help families.

      I recog­nize, as we all should, that there are a number of experts, organi­zations, front-line service providers, workers who should be informing us, who we should be working with to make sure that we're doing what is necessary and evidence-backed to save lives of those struggling with addictions and provide them the services and supports they need.

      And so, I think it's really con­cern­ing that the minister continues to try to condemn or criticize. Not us in op­posi­tion, because what you're actually–what the minister is actually doing is being critical and condemning the very people that we thank for saving lives in our province. They're the ones who have been unified in their criticism of this gov­ern­ment, bringing forward legis­lation, licensing, regula­tions that would directly impact the ability of folks to support those in com­mu­nities who des­per­ately need it.

      And so, what does the minister have to say to those organi­zations? What does the minister have to say about her position that she opposes the experts and the front-line com­mu­nity organi­zations who have made clear that the licensing regula­tions that this minister has brought forward would have hampered, would have inter­fered with, would have harmed addictions services? Does the minister think that all of those folks are simply wrong, and that it's her perspective that matters most?

      What's the minister's position on that?

Ms. Morley‑Lecomte: So, I'm going to begin by saying that I am not condemning or critical of services, and there is not unanimous consent. Recog­nizing front‑line workers and the work that they do to support the individuals seeking the support from service providers is very im­por­tant, and I have met with front‑line workers prior to, and as, the minister of this portfolio.

      And I do not contradict myself when I am posting wait times–sorry–interests are provided accurate infor­ma­tion to Manitoba's agencies, are not calling them out by specific name.

      And then, just to further correct, it's a small group of critics, but I would not agree there is a unified perspective. We have strong supports from organi­zations and experts on the standards and associated legis­lation.

      Yesterday, the critic described all the services that are ideal in a supervised con­sump­tion site, none of which are a require­ment to receive author­ity to operate a site. I think we can all agree we need to make these sites as safe as possible and help connect in­dividuals to care.

      The only way to do this is to ensure clinical staff are available on site and there is an ex­pect­a­tion on organi­zations to help connect individuals with mental health and addiction services, all of which were the foundation of the bill.

Mr. Chairperson: The hon­our­able member for Point–[interjection]

      Sorry, I may not have had my mic on. The hon­our­able member for Point Douglas.

Mrs. Smith: Well, I'm very disappointed in the minis­ter's response to that because there were 80 organi­zations, a number of doctors, who wrote to the minister opposing that bill and really outlined how it would impede the work that they're doing in terms of saving lives and Manitobans.

      I encouraged the minister yesterday to go visit a safe con­sump­tion site, to actually not walk by like their predecessor and take pictures. Or like the Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) saying that, you know, she visited a safe con­sump­tion site in a place where there was not even a safe con­sump­tion site, misleading Manitobans, both the 'predecess' minister and the Premier.

      And now we have a new minister. So, this minister has an op­por­tun­ity to do the right thing, to help save Manitoban lives. And I encourage the minister to go visit those 80 organi­zations that are on the front lines that are doing that work, life-saving work, to go and meet with them, to actually go and tour. As well as go and tour the mobile overdose pre­ven­tion vehicle. They were just here last week. You know, I came. They've been doing life-saving work.

      So, I'm going to move on from that because we're not getting any answers, which is unfor­tunate because, you know, if I go onto a website and I look, if I want to go to an urgent care, I can see how long the wait times are. I can go and see how long a wait time is for surgery. I can go see how long a wait time is to get into emergency rooms. But yet, there's nowhere that anyone can access wait times.

* (16:20)

      And I wasn't asking the minister to provide site by site. I simply asked, like–you know, you're provi­ding funds to these organi­zations. As a collective, in all of the organi­zations that you provide funding to for bed-based treatment, what was the average wait time?

      So, I wasn't asking for names. I was simply asking for the average wait time. And then the minister said there was policy and that this, you know, bill would have allowed that to happen. Then the narrative shifted.

      So, I'm going to move on, because clearly, you know, the minister doesn't want to provide those answers to Manitobans. And Manitobans want to know those answers, should know those answers, should have con­fi­dence in their gov­ern­ment that they're being trans­par­ent. And that someone that wants to access treatment should know how long it's going to take them or how long a family's going to have to wait to support this person, this individual, before they get into treatment.

      There's no services before they get into treatment. People are dying before they get into treatment. They're dying after they get out of treatment because there's no wraparound services.

      So, I'll move on. My next question has to do with HIV cases in Manitoba, and if the minister can provide how many HIV cases were recorded in 2022 and how many were a result of using drugs.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: I just want to put on the record that I have spoken to and visited some of the agencies on that list and I have actually toured the overdose pre­ven­tion site.

      So–and repeat your question. Sorry.

Mrs. Smith: My question was, how many HIV cases have been reported in 2020 and how many were attributed to drug use?

      But I'm also going to put another question in there just for the sake of time. And it's nice to hear that the minister has actually visited the mobile pre­ven­tion site.

      And that–so I'd ask the minister, one of the reasons why safe con­sump­tion sites are so im­por­tant and help save lives is that they provide people with clean needles so that blood-borne diseases aren't being transmitted, such as HIV.

      Does the minister agree that safe con­sump­tion sites would help reduce the spread of diseases like HIV, syphilis?

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, HIV falls under Health, and you need to speak with Public Health on this issue. That being said, the De­part­ment of Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness and Manitoba Health work col­lab­o­ratively to address harms related to substance use and provide policy planning, funding and oversight to HR initiatives.

      De­part­ments work together to integrate policy inter­ven­tions, including training for health and social service prac­ti­tioners, improve data trans­par­ency, and enable col­lab­o­ration between service delivery organi­zations and com­mu­nity-based organi­zations.

      Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness invests almost 1 and a half million dollars annually in harm‑reduction initiatives. These initiatives include support for harm-reduction-based organi­zations, pro­vi­ding safer sex, safer substance use supplies.

      Overall, the gov­ern­ment invests over $2.2 million in harm reduction: one and a half for mental health and com­mu­nity wellness, and $700,000 for Manitoba Health's take-home naloxone kits.

      Other invest­ments that we have are: $210,000 for the take-home naloxone kit with over 200 dis­tri­bu­tion sites; on November 1st, 2022, we announced Narcan pilot program, which invested $200,000 to make Narcan easily administered form of naloxone ac­ces­si­ble to RAAM clinics; invested almost $215,000 in funding to support St. Boniface Street Links Outreach and support of inter­ven­tion for people who use substances; the OASIS project is led by a multi­disciplinary team and will provide support to approximately 80 people ex­per­iencing homelessness and are struggling with substance use.

      And on December 16, 2022, we also publicly released substance-related harm stat, including infor­ma­tion on fatalities due to drug overdose, substance use, hospital admissions, emergency de­part­ment visits, substance-related calls responded to by the fire–Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

      The–there's also–the de­part­ment has also made sig­ni­fi­cant invest­ments in clean needle programs.

* (16:30)

Mrs. Smith: We often hear this notion of whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach, but yet what I'm hearing from the minister is yet again shirking the respon­si­bility to another de­part­ment.

      The minister should wholly have these numbers at their disposal. It should be some­thing that is guiding their response in their de­part­ment, because it is a leading cause–drug use–in terms of some of these blood-borne diseases, especially HIV. So, how can you properly, you know, service these agencies and know actually what's happening if you're, you know, leaving it with Health? Like, it is a respon­si­bility of your de­part­ment, not Health.

      And when we look at the medical examiners–and I know–I think that the minister is just as frustrated as I am, and maybe could direct their staff to, you know, find those numbers. If they're on the De­part­ment of Health's website, then perhaps the minister can ask the staff to find those numbers and provide those numbers.

      It's not, you know, this web that we're trying to entangle you in. We're trying to find physical numbers for Manitobans to actually get the infor­ma­tion out. People don't know how much HIV is rampant and the symbiotic relationship between syphilis and HIV that's happening in our province, because our gov­ern­ment is not doing anything to let the public know.

      So, again, you know, I–it's frustrating to hear the minister continually say, go here, go there, when this whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach obviously isn't a whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach. It's this de­part­ment does this work, and I don't know anything about what that de­part­ment does; I don't have the numbers. It's very frustrating to say the least.

      And I just want to remind the minister that there are people watching these proceedings. They do go in to read com­mit­tee reports. They are looking for answers, especially our front-line organi­zations that help–these numbers help guide their response. And these numbers should be helping guide this gov­ern­ment's response.

      And I hear, you know, these these numbers being thrown out of, you know, yes, we're provi­ding this. But these numbers are trending up, so obviously not enough is being done. And how can you know what the response can be if you're not even looking at the numbers? You're saying, oh, that's Health, let Health deal with those HIV numbers.

      I'm asking spe­cific­ally, if you don't want to pro­vide the numbers of how many people were–how many people contracted HIV, perhaps the member–or the minister can provide how many member–how many individuals contracted HIV through drug use?

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, I will agree with the mem­ber opposite: we do have a whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach and tables where de­part­ments work closely with other de­part­ments, including Health, Justice, to release the data online, and that's including the 'overdith' data and the HIV rates.

      For 2020, there were 117 cases of HIV new to Manitoba, compared to 119 in 2019.

Mrs. Smith: So, the minister just gave numbers for 2020, and we had the second highest rate of HIV nationwide for 2020.

      I did ask for the numbers for 2022 and the numbers for how many were a result of using drugs. So, if the minister could provide those.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: The question I had heard was 2020, not 2022. So, I'll see if I can get you that.

Mrs. Smith: Okay, I ap­pre­ciate that. I might have said 2020 too. I apologize.

      So, I'm going to move on, while the minister is looking for those answers, to the suicide epidemic. And I've spoken about those in the House. You know, there's been several epidemics in our First Nation com­mu­nities. I was up in Tataskweyak when there was 19 suicides that happened, young people.

      So, I'd ask the minister: What–how many suicides have there been in Manitoba over the past five years, and if the minister can provide a breakdown by demo­gra­phic?

* (16:40)

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, the dev­elop­ment of a prov­incial suicide pre­ven­tion strategy is a priority for our gov­ern­ment, as identified in both the Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness five-year road map and the 2022 Speech from the Throne.

      The strategy will build upon existing supports to create a prov­incially co‑ordinated approach for the pre­ven­tion of suicide, with a special focus on at-risk popu­la­tions.

      Investing in evidence-based mental health pro­motion in schools through programs like Indigenous youth mentorship project, Project 11, Thrival Kits is a key part of our efforts to promote the mental well-being of all children.

      Suicide numbers fall under the Chief Medical Examiner's office, but I will read the numbers that I have: from 2018, the total number of individuals who passed away from suicide were 236; 2019, 232; 2020, 215; 2021, 198; and the 2022 numbers haven't been posted.

Mrs. Smith: I thank the minister for looking that up and actually provi­ding those numbers. I wish that would've went on for the duration of our couple of days here because it could have made–you know, I think things go way more smoothly.

      I don't have access to those numbers. Neither do the public. So, you know, it's being trans­par­ent and helping guide the direction that this gov­ern­ment needs to go.

      I didn't hear it broken down by demo­gra­phics. I'm hoping possibly the minister could under­take that, if they can't provide it right now.

      And then, the minister did reference that there is a prov­incially co‑ordinated plan for the pre­ven­tion of suicide among children, youth and adults, with a special focus on at‑risk com­mu­nities and popu­la­tions.

      When will this plan be completed? Will it be publicly available? And when will it be imple­mented?

Ms. Morley‑Lecomte: Okay, thank you. Which would you like?

Mrs. Smith: I can break the questions down, if that's what the minister is asking. I put those together so that they all kind of combine each other.

      So, I asked when will the plan be completed? So, the minister referenced the prov­incial plan–co‑ordinated plan for the pre­ven­tion of suicide among children, youth and adults. When will this plan be completed?

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, the prov­incial co‑ordinated plan is–after December 2023, it will begin. But we haven't been waiting for that start, so that's why we've making seven invest­ments in youth and adolescents to support the needs that they have. It'll be publicly available at that–after December.

      And the timeline, the imple­men­ta­tion is a three-year plan and it will be imple­mented over those three years, as was discussed with stake­holders.

      Now, the–so, the demo­gra­phics. We have in 2018–I just need to–do you want it broken down per–sorry, through the Chair–I don't know how this is through, like, 20 to 30, 35 to 39, that's–I don't know how in-depth–

Mr. Chairperson: The hon­our­able member for Point Douglas.

Mrs. Smith: I would say by, maybe gender, as well as age.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: Okay, thank you. So in 2018, there were 162 males, 74 females. In 2019: 172 males, 60 females. In 2020: 150 males, 65 females. In 2021: 122 males, 64 females.

      Okay, so, in 2018: ages 10 to 19, 25; 20 to 29, 63; 30 to 39, 28; 40 to 49, 31; 50 to 59, 44; 60 to 69, 28; 70 to 79, eight; 80 and older, nine.

      In 2019: ages 10 to 19, there were 22; 20 to 29, 55; 30 to 39, 50; 40 to 49, 29; ages 50 to 59, 35; age 60 to 69, 27; age 70 to 79, nine; and 80 and older, five.

      In 2020: ages 10 to 19, there were 16; ages 20 to 29, 55; ages 30 to 39, 52; ages 40 to 49, 32; ages 50 to 59, 26; age 60 to 69, 21; age 70 to 79, seven; 80 and over, six.

      And in 2021: ages 10 to 19, there were 29; 20 to 29, 49; ages 30 to 39, 37; age 40 to 49, 24; age 50 to 59, 25; age 60 to 69, 13; age 70 to 79, 16; and age 80 and older, five.

* (16:50)

Mrs. Smith: Over the past year, multiple First Nation com­mu­nities have declared states of emergency due to suicide epidemics.

      Can the minister explain what she's doing to help reduce suicides and improve mental health, spe­cific­ally in First Nations? And–as well as provi­ding the numbers for 2018, '19, '20, '21, based on Indigenous ancestry.

Ms. Morley-Lecomte: So, invest­ments that we have made in the Indigenous mental health services are $850,000 for the virtual crisis stabilization unit in telepsychiatry services; and investing an ad­di­tional $538,000 in the one‑time funding to expand the telepsychiatry assessment services. This will improve timely access to the mental health services for adults from First Nations com­mu­nities and rural health facilities while reducing wait times and un­neces­sary patient transfers and admissions.

      On January 24th, 2023–announced an invest­ment of $893,000 in a new Indigenous-led RAAM clinic at the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre to ensure culturally safe pro­gram­ming. And services are offered to Indigenous peoples by a culturally informed work­force. And the RAAM clinic will also work with the Manitoba mobile addiction medicine team to enhance com­mu­nity capacity and access to provide ongoing virtual support to rural and northern-residing Indigenous peoples.

      Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness currently provides funding and oversight to the Indigenous youth mentorship program, PAX Dream Makers, Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achieve­ment Centre, Indigenous Women's Healing Centre's addictions counsellor, Ma Mawi centre's–sorry, I don't want to say that–centre's solvent abuse program.

      And the last question you had with the Indigenous ancestry, we will have take that back and take it under con­sid­era­tion.

Mrs. Smith: I ap­pre­ciate the minister taking that under ad­vise­ment and getting those–or, the demo­gra­phics back to me. My question wasn't answered, though; it's specific to First Nations, but that's fine.

      I'll conclude my questions and wrap up.

Mr. Chairperson: Hearing no further questions, we will now proceed to con­sid­era­tion of the reso­lu­tions.

      At this point, we will allow the virtual members to unmute their mics so they can respond to the ques­tions; I don't believe we have any.

      Reso­lu­tion 24.2: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $32,749,000 for Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness, Mental Health and Recovery, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 24.3: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $13,364,000 for Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness, Wellness, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 24.4: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $72,079,000 for Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness, Physician Services–Psychiatry, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 24.5: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $318,703,000 for Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness, Funding to Health Author­ities, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 24.6: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $820,000 for Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness, Costs Related to Capital Assets of Other Reporting Entities, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 24.7: There are no monies allocated for reso­lu­tion 24.7 this year, so there doesn't need to be a vote. The infor­ma­tion was included in the books to reflect change from last year.

      Reso­lu­tion 24.8: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $1,600,000 for Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness, Other Reporting Entities Capital Invest­ment, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      So, last item to be considered for these Estimates is item 1(a), the minister's salary, contained in reso­lu­tion 24.1. At this point, we request the minister's staff leave the table for the con­sid­era­tion of this last item.

      Reso­lu­tion 24.1: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $1,567,000 for Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness, Executive, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      This completes the Estimates of the De­part­ment of Mental Health and Com­mu­nity Wellness.

      The hour being 5 p.m. com­mit­tee rise.

Room 255

Municipal Relations

* (15:00)

Mr. Chairperson (Brad Michaleski): Will the Commit­tee of Supply please come to order. This section of the Com­mit­tee of Supply will now resume con­sid­era­tion of the Estimates for the De­part­ment of Munici­pal Relations.

      Questioning for this de­part­ment will proceed in a global manner.

      The floor is now open for questions.

Ms. Lisa Naylor (Wolseley): I'd like to ask the minis­ter if he can share how many employees the de­part­ment has that are respon­si­ble for reviewing sub­divi­sion applications, and are there any vacancies in that de­part­ment?

Hon. Andrew Smith (Minister of Municipal Relations): Just before I do answer the question that was asked by member opposite, I'd like to provide the member with some infor­ma­tion that was asked of yesterday.

      So, the application portal for Agencies, Boards and Com­mis­sions, I have a copy of that. And I also have a copy–or a link, rather, to the Canadian Home Builders' Association benchmark study, which I referenced yesterday in one of my answers.

      So, I can provide that for the member opposite. How many? [interjection]

      I'll table it for the member opposite, and–[interjection]–go.

Ms. Naylor: Thank you very much for that, but I thought the minister was going to answer the question I already asked. So that's fine; I wasn't expecting to ask it again, but I can. [interjection] Okay.

Mr. Smith: The most recent numbers that I have is a total number of 54 employees, with a net vacancy of nine.

Ms. Naylor: And, on page 21 of the Estimates book, it states that the de­part­ment has a target to com­muni­cate 75 per cent of sub­divi­sion application decisions to applicants in under 16 days.

      Does the minister have any concerns that a target of less than 16 days may rush thorough examinations of sub­divi­sion proposals?

Mr. Smith: Right. Just to clarify that, that 16‑day process is really the front end of the entire process.

      With respect to this parti­cular issue, if a member–somebody who was applying would come through our–to us, that 16 days would allow for all the due diligence to be done and make sure that the applica­tion is complete. That does not necessarily mean that decision's made by then. It's a 16 days that they will receive a letter saying that, yes, indeed, that this has been received and that all the correct procedures have been followed.

      A lot of that does include co‑ordination with other de­part­ments in gov­ern­ment. So, Agri­cul­ture would be one, as you can imagine, in rural settings. And, of course, MTI, again, rural settings and–would be another example where that might be the case.

      We always encourage applicants to come ahead of time to discuss with staff here, and we have staff that are very willing to do that and have those discussions ahead of time to make sure that everyone understands what the process is. And, of course, there'll be some flexibility built into that process, as well, knowing full well that some cases are more complex than others.

Ms. Naylor: So, just to clarify then, the–so, the minister doesn't have any concerns? Like, that target of 16 days or less, it feels like the right amount of time? It's not–it hasn't been a concern?

Mr. Smith: Well, like I said, it's–and it is a process that's trying to get a good turnaround time for those who are applying, ensuring that–again, it's not neces­sarily a decision being made.

      It is certainly, though, giving the time to–or an expedient turnaround time for the applicant to make sure that they know that the application has been received and that the process is now in place.

Ms. Naylor: I'd like to ask the minister how many sub­divi­sion applications did the de­part­ment receive last year, and how many of those were approved?

* (15:10)

Mr. Smith: So, for the sub­divi­sion applications, on average, about 800 sub­divi­sion applications in a year, and a little less than a dozen are often denied. Some­times their denials aren't necessarily a denial. It could just be that some of the con­sid­era­tions that haven't been thought of when the application was made. So, we would then go back and make some recom­men­dations and ask them to come back and reapply.

      Sub­divi­sions, of course–these sub­divi­sions are–occur outside the city of Winnipeg. Winnipeg takes care of its own, but these would be outside of the largest metropolitan region in–or largest metropolitan city in the province.

Ms. Naylor: Thank you for that answer, Minister.

      And can the minister also share how many assess­ment inspections were completed on time in 2022-23?

Mr. Smith: The most recent numbers we have would be 98,675 property reviews, and that's assessed of a total of 442,000 properties.

Ms. Naylor: I–in my opening statement yesterday, I made a reference to the Winnipeg police headquarters and I know I was advised that I couldn't ask about things that weren't in the budget book. So I just want to be clear, though, the budget book states that the minister is respon­si­ble for policy that supports autonomy and account­ability of local gov­ern­ment.

      And, knowing that the City of Winnipeg is an im­por­tant and trusted partner of the Province, would the minister–like, will the minister listen to Winnipeg 'citeh'–city councillors, support Winnipeg City Council and ask his gov­ern­ment to call a public inquiry into the Winnipeg police headquarters, as they have asked?

Mr. Smith: Given the nature of this issue, I think it's best that that would be dealt with through the courts, and let the courts decide on how best to proceed.

      It is a City of Winnipeg matter, as well, and I know City of Winnipeg will be certainly–ap­pre­ciate any lessons learned that City of Winnipeg has learned through­out that entire process.

Ms. Naylor: I just will ask one more question on this.

      The City of Winnipeg has been asking the gov­ern­ment to call a public inquiry into the Winnipeg police headquarters. The project went nearly $100 million over budget, and the courts found that a city official accepted a bribe worth hundreds of thousands. Yet the PC gov­ern­ment refused to call a public inquiry despite the City's requests.

* (15:20)

      So, can the minister explain: Does he think that this is–and I'm quoting from the book–can he explain how this is supporting autonomy, account­ability, safe and financial efficiency of local gov­ern­ment?

Mr. Smith: Again, I say that this is an issue that's best dealt with through the courts. And, you know, it's a matter that is before the courts. And I know that we trust the legal system and the court system to deal with this issue as it sees fit.

Ms. Naylor: I'm sure our partners at the City of Winnipeg would hope for more from our gov­ern­ment, but I will move on to talk about roads because they're in rough shape. We all know that, and that this gov­ern­ment has re­peat­edly underspent on infra­structure spending.

      So, my question for the minister is, why is this gov­ern­ment failing to support munici­palities and their much‑needed road repairs?

Mr. Smith: Well, Mr. Chair, I mean, I know that with–discussing infra­structure would really fall under the Infra­structure de­part­ment. However, this de­part­ment, I can say, and I know, our gov­ern­ment on the whole has been very sup­port­ive of munici­palities.

      Munici­palities received a $47‑million increase in operating funding this year, and that's going to be a permanent increase to their operating budgets. In addition, a 23-and-a-half-million-dollar increase in capital spending–capital funding. Again, a permanent increase to their budget. I think that speaks to the–how much this gov­ern­ment is invested in growing and working with our munici­pal partners.

      I know if that munici­palities were very im­por­tant to the NDP caucus, I just question why today they voted to defund the police. And let's be honest. We as a gov­ern­ment have called on the federal gov­ern­ment to cover the back pay for RCMP pay to the munici­palities. Federal gov­ern­ment hasn't come to the plate, and we've asked them to.

      We had a reso­lu­tion before the House this morn­ing to do just that and the NDP voted against it.

Ms. Naylor: Well, the minister's raising something that's not actually in his de­part­ment book, so I'll just respond to it that we also have called on the federal gov­ern­ment to do same.

      And I think the minister's well aware that–and as I said to the leadership at AMM, clearly his gov­ern­ment was playing a game with some­thing way too serious to play a game with. Because you don't write a reso­lu­tion that is full of negative comments on the other side of the House and then expect them to vote for it.

      So, if they seriously wanted to help folks at–in munici­palities, they would have approached it dif­ferently and not made just a political game out of it, unfor­tunately.

      In November 2020, the prov­incial gov­ern­ment announced that construction was to begin on the new Daly Overpass in Brandon and would be completed by October 2023. But it took the gov­ern­ment until February 2022 to hire a construction company to start work on it, pushing the timeline of completion to the summer of 2024.

      Can the minister explain why it took them over a year to hire a construction company and what the timeline for completion currently is for this bridge?

Mr. Smith: I know the member opposite knows that that would fall under Manitoba Trans­por­tation and Infra­structure. So, it does not fall under the auspices of this De­part­ment of Munici­pal Relations.

      However, it's–I will go back to discussing what happened this morning in the House. Unfor­tunately, the NDP decided, instead of defending the police, to vote in favour of defunding the police. It's some­thing that is on record forever, and I know that the members opposite–I don't know if they want to tell their con­stit­uents that's how they voted. But, certainly, I think every con­stit­uent and every person in Manitoba should be aware of the NDP's stand on defunding the police.

      Just because there's certain words in a reso­lu­tion they didn't like, that means they would rather stand against police and in favour of their own political ambitions. I think that's been made very clear–

Mr. Chairperson: Order.

      I would just like to remind the minister and the members that are answering and are asking questions that we are–try to keep the question matter relevant to the Estimates book. Just recently, that kind of wandered away from that.

      I just want to remind everybody to loop it back more spe­cific­ally to the Estimates book.

Mr. Smith: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and ap­pre­ciate your sage advice on that.

      Again, I would suggest to the member–and I sug­gest that the member is aware–that the overpass she's referencing falls under the De­part­ment of Infra­structure, not the De­part­ment of Munici­pal Relations.

Ms. Naylor: I expect I'm going to get the same answer here. It's unfor­tunate that the minister for munici­palities can't provide more infor­ma­tion on munici­pal issues, but the Arlington Street Bridge in Winnipeg was supposed to be decommissioned in 2020, but as of this year, the City has said they do not have the funds for this project.

      Could the minister explain if his gov­ern­ment is planning to fund construction of a new Arlington Bridge?

Mr. Smith: Mr. Chair, as the member's aware, the City of Winnipeg sets their own infra­structure priorities within their own basket funding, and we know that it was our gov­ern­ment who created this basket-funding model, and we know we've further simplified it and have increased the amount of money that munici­palities receive for that–for this type of basket funding.

      I know that last year, we provided all munici­palities with $15 million for road repair. This year, we gave 7 and a half million dollars to the City of Winnipeg for road repair. And we know that potholes are certainly an issue in the city of Winnipeg and, of course, all munici­palities right across the province this time of year. And the City of Winnipeg was very, very happy to receive this money.

      I know it was–I attended the an­nounce­ment with some colleagues of my own here but also with councillor and deputy mayor Janice Lukes, who was delighted to have that money come into the City budget and very delighted to see that the Province is taking such action to repair roads here in the city of Winnipeg.

      And, of course, in the past, we've done it across the entire province. We've actually had $100 million of accelerated street renewal in Winnipeg over five years. That's another initiative our gov­ern­ment has under­taken.

      So, to suggest that some munici­palities are not receiving funding would be ill-founded. I believe that munici­palities are giving a very fair share. And, of course, we know that there's always work to be done and there will always–more work to be done, as always, and, of course, there's always evolving issues and challenges that arise.

      And as those arise, we will continue to work with our munici­palities and be good partners, not only with the Association of Manitoba Munici­palities but also munici­palities directly. And we understand the im­por­tance that they serve. When they serve their con­stit­uents, they serve the residents of their com­mu­nities. They are often on the front lines and on the ground level, making sure that the province that we live in and enjoy stays prosperous, healthy and beautiful.

Ms. Naylor: I mean, we all know that munici­palities were–had their funding frozen for a long time, for six years, so it's not a surprise that certain projects that were planned couldn't be completed.

      I don't know if the minister's ever driven over the Arlington Street Bridge, if he's familiar with that part of the city. But it–I think this is a very im­por­tant issue for not just Winnipeggers but for lots of Manitobans who travel through this–through the city, and it's unfor­tunate that there's really no account­ability for what–the fact that munici­palities haven't been able to do many of the projects they committed to because of the lack of funding from this de­part­ment, from this gov­ern­ment.

      But I will ask a little bit about water infra­structure, and I'm sure I'm going to hear more of the same: it's not my respon­si­bility; it's not my de­part­ment. But we'll try.

      Water infra­structure includes critical projects such as water treatment facilities, lagoons and sewers, the infra­structure needed to transport and clean–transport clean water. These are often funding with–these are often funded with the investing in Canada program, a joint federal-prov­incial-munici­pal funding program which the prov­incial gov­ern­ment has failed to properly subscribe to for many years.

* (15:30)

      Can the minister explain why his gov­ern­ment is failing to properly invest in a program that provides funding for water infra­structure projects?

Mr. Smith: I just think I want to correct the record here. I'm not sure that the member is terribly accurate in her assessment of our gov­ern­ment's invest­ment in wastewater.

      Let's just talk about some of the things that our gov­ern­ment has done. In 2020, a previous minister in this gov­ern­ment committed to $137 million per year in total capital expenditures. That 137 in 2020, 137 in 2021, 137 in 2022 and $160.5 million in 2023. So, we're estimating around a little over–around $525 million total.

      That does not include our one-time supports through­out COVID, so, Manitoba Restart, $272.5 million; road repair grants, $22.5 million; disaster pre­ven­tion and climate resilience, $32.1 million; Centreport wastewater and sewer, $40 million; special warrant, so water and wastewater, $100.1 million; a special warrant for the Manitoba Water Services Board, $4 million; one-time prov­incial transit support, $13.4 million.

      We've had COVID supports: one-time census top-up, 0.84, so $840,000, to a full total of $486 million.

      Mr. Chair, I think that speaks to how much our gov­ern­ment has actually invested in waste water, and I know that it certainly doesn't necessarily make for a terribly appealing political campaign. So that's pro­bably why the NDP did not invest in those types of critical infra­structures and rather to focus their invest­ments on things that they felt would make them more electable rather than investing in things that need to be done.

      So, where they didn't get it right and they decided to take the low road and try and avoid the most im­por­tant pressing issues of the time that would have alleviated a lot of pressures, parti­cularly during COVID, we did it right. So, over $1 billion of invest­ment that I just talked about right here, that's a record of our gov­ern­ment.

      Their gov­ern­ment failed; ours succeeded.

Ms. Naylor: That was quite a campaign speech. But in the meantime, munici­palities across the province are saying that they need invest­ment in water infra­structure. So, I don't know if the minister is listening or thinks they're lying; I don't know. But what I'm hearing is that munici­palities are struggling on this issue and that without prov­incial support, they're going to have to pick up this tab them­selves.

      Can the minister explain what his gov­ern­ment's future plans are for invest­ment in water infrastructure?

Mr. Chairperson: Before we go on, I just want to remember–or remind members of this com­mit­tee, that you're not to imply or use language that would suggest people are lying. So, just a reminder for com­mit­tee members.

Mr. Smith: I've been very clear that our gov­ern­ment has invested a tre­men­dous amount–over $1 billion–in waste water. If the NDP were so concerned about invest­ment in this sector, in this space, they would've done that over 17 years. They didn't. Their priorities were political priorities. They did not give unconditional funding. Every­thing came with strings attached. And those strings attached would make sure that the NDP gov­ern­ment of the day got re-elected.

      What we're doing is giving munici­palities the autonomy and giving them money to invest in their local priorities that we've helped them, and plus that, over $1 billion of invest­ments in waste water.

      So, I will take our record and put up against the NDP record any day of the week. I've talked to munici­palities. I've talked to AMM. I know what the priorities are. I know that there are concerns. But let's not forget that when you have 17 years, 17 years of a gov­ern­ment that does not invest in critical infra­structure, that creates problems for years to come. Those problems are still being dealt with. We're still making up for lost time under the NDP gov­ern­ment. That's the record of them.

      After our gov­ern­ment formed gov­ern­ment, we had–dealt with one of the most disruptive issues of the 21st century–was COVID‑19. Despite all that, we've managed to invest more in this critical infra­structure space than the NDP ever did. The NDP failed miser­ably at this, and that's why we're cleaning up their mess; we're making sure that this invest­ments go into munici­palities.

      They have the ability to invest in their own com­mu­nities. They have the autonomy to do what they believe is best for their residents and their citizens. We've helped them along the way with waste water. We've helped them with infra­structure. We've helped them with operations. I just wish the NDP had thought of that 17 years. They had 17 years to get it right, and they didn't.

Ms. Naylor: I'll just repeat my last question.

      What are the minister's–what are his gov­ern­ment's plans for future invest­ment in water infra­structure?

Mr. Smith: Well, it's quite simple: not make the same mistakes the NDP did.

      Let's be honest. Our gov­ern­ment has invested considerably in this space, and we're going to continue to do so. We've already made a commit­ment to muni­ci­palities that operations and capital will have permanent increases. We're giving $1 billion to waste-water space here in the province of Manitoba. I wish that the NDP could have done the same over 17 years because, let's be honest; they failed to deliver on critical infra­structure. That's not only with waste water; in all kinds of infra­structure projects, they failed at it.

* (15:40)

      What we've done is made sure we cleaned up the mess of the NDP, all the while having to deal with a global pandemic that no one foresaw and was able to predict. If the NDP had to deal with that, who knows what kind of mess we'd be in right now.

      So that's why I'm so proud of what our gov­ern­ment's record on infra­structure, on waste water, and on how we dealt with munici­palities–and again, if the munici­palities were so im­por­tant to the NDP, they would have voted in favour of a reso­lu­tion that would have called on the federal gov­ern­ment to make sure that they cover the back pay for RCMP and fund police in critical com­mu­nities across this province, at a critical time when crime is at a high.

Ms. Naylor: I know the minister is very new in this de­part­ment and in this role, but I would hope that, you know, with this budget and with some forward thinking, he would be able to share with me even one plan for future invest­ment in water infra­structure.

      I'd like to hear all of the plans, but let's hear one.

Mr. Smith: Well, I ap­pre­ciate the comments from the member opposite.

      I know she's new to the role as well, and I–but she must understand, and know full well, that our gov­ern­ment increased capital spending to munici­palities in Budget 2023 by 17 per cent–a budget which her and her colleagues voted against, by the way. Her and her colleagues voted against asking and calling on the federal gov­ern­ment to fill the back pay for RCMP this morning.

      During their 17 years of gov­ern­ment, they failed to deliver on critical infra­structure projects. They failed to deliver on critical waste-water projects for munici­palities across the province. Our gov­ern­ment has come in and cleaned up their mess and dealt with that despite a COVID‑19 pandemic.

      So, I mean, the member has asked me before and I'll say again: What is our plan? Not to make the same mistakes the NDP did. We won't do that. We're going to make sure that funding is done in a proper manner, in a manner that gives munici­palities the autonomy they need and gives them the money they need to invest in the com­mu­nities, to invest in their future, and invest in their economies, because that's how we grow a province. And that is the goal of this gov­ern­ment: to grow our province, and we know that munici­palities are key to doing that.

      The NDP had no respect for munici­palities. When they were in gov­ern­ment, what did they do? They forced amalgamations, and at the slightest hint–at the slightest hint–of any op­posi­tion to that they called them howling coyotes. Well, that's not very respectful to munici­palities. And I know that munici­palities across this province are still frustrated with the NDP performance over their 17 years.

      And I know a lot of them are hoping that they don't repeat those 17 years again–even another four years of that. That's why I'm very proud of our gov­ern­ment's record on invest­ment in our com­mu­nities, in infra­structure, in waste water, things we got right that the NDP didn't.

Ms. Naylor: The minister may recall that his gov­ern­ment tried to download respon­si­bility for snow clearing to munici­palities a few years ago.

      Can the minister share the status of agree­ments with munici­palities for snow-clearing services?

Mr. Smith: It's my under­standing that the shared services that the member is referring to is–does go through MP–or, MTI, rather. Maybe just clarify what, spe­cific­ally, she was referring to because the cost-sharing services does come through MTI, Manitoba Trans­por­tation and Infra­structure.

      So, maybe she can clarify what she's asking, for my benefit.

Ms. Naylor: Well, is the minister able to tell us what the cost-sharing formula is for snow-clearing services?

Mr. Smith: The cost-sharing formula the member's referring to, it's actually MTI that–again, Manitoba Trans­por­tation and Infra­structure that enters into those parti­cular agree­ments.

      On this side, Munici­pal Relations, we're respon­si­ble for provi­ding operating funding to munici­palities, as the member's aware, of course. I've discussed a few times in this Estimates process.

      But, again, that–agree­ments are entered into by MTI de­part­ment.

Ms. Naylor: Perhaps the minister can just speak to whether or not, in his esti­mation, if munici­palities are happy with snow-clearing agree­ments and the cost-sharing formula.

Mr. Smith: As the member knows, and I've said, it does come through the MTI de­part­ment. So, munici­palities do deal with MTI directly, as well, with respect to some of these service agree­ments. So, that's where some of the–any issues or any concerns or any contentment with that–those agree­ments would be expressed, at that table, not so much through Municipal Relations.

      I would defer to my colleague, the Minister of MTI.

Ms. Naylor: I guess I would have thought that the minister would be having lots of con­ver­sa­tions with munici­pal leaders about their contentment on a wide variety of issues and could have spoken to that. But I'm–luckily, I've been able to have those con­ver­sa­tions myself. So, I can get a read on that.

      I would like to ask the minister if there–if his gov­ern­ment has any plans to bring back 50-50 transit funding.

* (15:50)

Mr. Smith: As the member is aware and knows full well that we, as a gov­ern­ment, in 2016, went to this basket-funding model, giving predictable funding allocations to each munici­pality.

      With respect to transit, of course, we know that unique challenges came up during COVID and as a Province, we provided $13.4 million to the transit-needing com­mu­nities, in–I believe it was four of them in the province of Manitoba; $13.4 million went to them. And that leveraged over $53 million in federal funding, as well. That's just for munici­palities here in the province.

      Likewise, the Winnipeg Transit plan, we've committed to it–almost $170 million. I'll read off some of the projects that we're committed to: the ICIP projects; radio and intelligent trans­por­tation system re­place­ment, $4,500,000; the north garage re­place­ment, we're looking at sixty thousand eight hundred–$60,800,000; transition to zero-emission buses, $92,200,000; rapid transit, the downtown corridors and preliminary design, $2,200,000; primary transit network infra­structure, $6,100,000; Wheelchair secure­ments retrofit, $3,800,000.

      So, I think it's very clear that our gov­ern­ment is committed to investing in transit, not only in our largest city in the province, but of course any of the munici­palities that use transit in their own com­mu­nities. I know that these are very im­por­tant initiatives that's been under­taken, and in our time in gov­ern­ment we've been very clear that we support municipalities and we've done so–we've put our money where our mouth is–and we've done it.

      Previous gov­ern­ment did not do that. Previous gov­ern­­ment did not give unconditional funding to munici­palities. They did not give unconditional operating or capital funding to munici­palities. So I think that's–it's very stark difference. And to be clear to the member opposite, I mean, we've been in con­tact, I mean, with munici­palities right across this province; in very close contact with the Association of Manitoba Munici­palities and we're very aware of the concerns that they have that's–as it relates to this de­part­ment.

      And we know that they do deal with other de­part­ments, as they should, and that's a whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach; that's what a team does. We, as the–this side of the House, and this gov­ern­ment, works as a team. We ensure that everybody has a role to play in making sure that any time we have any impact on any parti­cular com­mu­nity, that that parti­cular de­part­ment is engaged with that com­mu­nity or a group that represents that com­mu­nity.

      So, we're very aware of any issues that are going on in department–at a de­part­ment level, and that's why I have no issue with referencing colleagues of mine, saying that they would be best to discuss certain issues with, because we know that we work as a team. And we saw under the previous NDP gov­ern­ment–in the guying days–that was anything but a team. It was nothing short of chaos.

      And we, on this side of the House, and we–this gov­ern­ment, don't subscribe to that kind of governance. We make sure that when you work as a team, you serve your con­stit­uents and residents and your com­mu­nities best, and that's what we'll continue to do.

Ms. Naylor: Yes, I'm certainly getting a lesson in observing chaos in the dying days of a gov­ern­ment, so, thanks for bringing that up.

      I–just to further ask about trans­por­tation funding, certainly, some of the munici­palities I've spoken with are concerned, do want to see a return of 50-50 funding. And I guess–I mean, that's not what this gov­ern­ment's planning to do, so that's been esta­blished.

      But I'm sure the minister's aware of recent, you know, there certainly been a lot of recent news cover­age around the city of Steinbach and concerns about transit there and the impact it's having on people in terms of work and the economy there.

      So, is there–are there any funds earmarked spe­cific­ally to help the City of Steinbach with trans­por­tation–with transit funding?

Mr. Smith: I know that the member opposite did ask about the transit plans for the city of Steinbach.

      And, you know, they did undergo a study. They underwent their study to deter­mine whether or not they want to go down that route. And we trust, and we have the greatest con­fi­dence in the City of Steinbach and council to make their own decision as to whether or not they are going to go that way.

      We know that we, on this side of the House, believe that munici­palities should have autonomy. So, I've heard the member opposite ask about autonomy, and then in the same breath, turn around and say, but the gov­ern­ment of Manitoba should somehow intervene on the decisions at the local level with respect to transit in the city of Steinbach.

      So, I'm not sure which one it should be, but as far as I'm concerned, at this side of the House, in our gov­ern­ment, we trust munici­palities to come back when they do plans like this–and there's more than just Steinbach that's done these plans–they come back with a council-approved plan saying, this is what we want.

      We will look to work with those individual munici­palities on a case-by-case basis to see where we can assist them in helping them grow their com­mu­nities.

      I know that members opposite that have asked in some capacity to–for us to intervene. And, you know, it seems politically convenient. They want us to inter­vene in some cases, but not in others. They want us to give autonomy in some cases, but not others.

      So, I'm not too sure which direction the NDP have finally decided on, but on this side of the House, in our gov­ern­ment, we are going to make sure that munici­palities have the ability to make these decisions and come back to us when they have those proposals and council approval.

Ms. Naylor: Yes, I'm not even going to comment on that.

      I'm going to ask some questions about the Office of the Fire Com­mis­sioner.

      How many com­pre­hen­sive fire pro­tec­tion surveys and risk assessments were under­taken last year and over the past five years?

* (16:00)

Mr. Smith: So, the–there was a com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment and risk assessment done of–or with the 237 fire services through­out the province. And that was done–meeting with every single one of them to make sure that there was a snapshot of all the needs in each service and what they're able to provide.

      It's my under­standing through GIS tech­no­lo­gy now they can also kind of map out the services that can be provided by each of the services. So, it gives a snapshot of where we're at as a whole.

      I think that–want to–can commend the Office of the Fire Com­mis­sioner and all the work that they do in the province of Manitoba and, of course, work to continue to do to keep our com­mu­nities safe and make sure that they provide the essential services of pro­tecting life and homes.

Ms. Naylor: Can the minister tell us how many fires there were in munici­palities last year and over the past five years? And if he could also elaborate on major causes.

Mr. Smith: I'll endeavour to get that infor­ma­tion for the member opposite here. I know that the Office of the Fire Com­mis­sioner has been working closely with Stats Canada to do a national fire incidents report. I believe that BC was a pilot project where they released that infor­ma­tion. I understand this year, other provinces will be released as well, so have a nation­wide snapshot.

      However, we will endeavour to get that parti­cular infor­ma­tion to the member that she asked for.

Ms. Naylor: Okay, I'll ask my next question. I under­stand you may have to get that infor­ma­tion as well.

      But if there–like, if the minister knows how many fires were caused by arson and what kinds of things his de­part­ment is doing to mitigate fires across the province.

Mr. Smith: I mean, as far as the number of fires due to arson, most of those would be under in­vesti­gation, so I couldn't comment on the numbers of those due to the in­vesti­gation nature of it.

      However, I know the Office of the Fire Com­mis­sioner is very clear on a number of initiatives they want to under­take to make sure that fire safety in general is taken seriously. We know that 237 organi­zations–or, offices right across the province all have their outreaches to com­mu­nities and number of initiatives like, you know, Fire Pre­ven­tion Week, Burn Awareness Week and other public messaging that goes out to make sure people, families, especially families with children, understand that, you know, small things they can do in the home to either prevent fires or at least mitigate the damage and potential loss to life that can be ex­per­ienced through fires.

Ms. Naylor: Can the minister tell us how many in­vesti­gations are currently under way?

* (16:10)

Mr. Smith: Munici­palities are actually respon­si­ble for deter­mining the cause and origin of the fires, and the OFC is actually brought in, in specific circum­stances, to bring in certain expertise.

      So, but it–typically it's the munici­palities that are respon­si­ble for deter­mining the cause of fires.

Ms. Naylor: My question was about in­vesti­gations of fires.

      Does the–I mean, the fire–like, does the minister not have an overall under­standing of, you know, the–I guess, the total in­vesti­gations of the Fire Com­mis­sioner would be respon­si­ble for right now?

Mr. Smith: So, the Office of the Fire Com­mis­sioner is–has 31 undergoing right now.

      Keeping in mind, of course, that munici­palities aren't required to report to the Office of Fire Com­mis­sioner; only when they're brought in for the special–for their speciality.

      But, right now, 31 active cases.

Ms. Naylor: Thank you for that answer, Minister.

      Are there any funds available to help munici­palities dispose of hazardous materials, like asbestos?

      We know that there's, like–I've certainly seen in Winnipeg, I'm sure it happens in other places, where there's, like, piles of rubble after a fire that can't be cleaned quickly.

      And there's that potential of having asbestos in them, or other hazardous materials. And is that some­thing that the gov­ern­ment, you know, thinking about the fact that's an obstacle to economic dev­elop­ment, but also com­mu­nity safety.

      Have any funds been set aside to help munici­palities with clearing those hazardous wastes?

Mr. Smith: Munici­palities are able to compel the property owner to clean up the mess that is left after construction or some kind of demolition. Of course, we know that if the property owner does not comply, they can be fined and then charged the amount to enforce and certainly compel them to clean up.

      And, of course, in terms of funding–and as we know that there is that unconditional basket funding that goes to munici­palities through the Province. But at the munici­pal level, they have the ability to play the enforcer on that through compelling residents and property owners through billing them for the cleanup.

Ms. Naylor: Thank you for that, Minister.

      And I'm–I ask–I previously asked some questions on water infra­structure, but I have a few ad­di­tional questions that I missed before.

      So, does the minister have any idea how many households in Manitoba don't have clean drinking water? And in which munici­palities those are.

Mr. Smith: Munici­palities are typically respon­si­ble for the delivering of drinking water to their residents. Of course, the standard that is set is through Environment and Climate. They set the standard. And, certainly, if there's any issues in the munici­palities, they can come to the Water Services Board and re­quest assist­ance at that time or through other means. But Water Services Board would be one avenue that they could get to address some of the issues with drinking water in their com­mu­nities.

Ms. Naylor: So can the minister speak to–I mean, maybe not exactly how many households, but how many requests in the past year to the Water Services Board for concerns about clean drinking water in munici­palities?

* (16:20)

Mr. Smith: Water Services Board this year was at $24 million–was their budget.

      With respect to the list that's been requested, we don't have that on us but we'll endeavour to get that information. We'll make that request of the Water Services Board and see how many clean drinking water requests have come through that. But at this point I can give you the–give the member opposite the budget amount, which is $24 million.

Ms. Naylor: I would ap­pre­ciate getting that list, that would be helpful.

      And also wondering if the Water Services Board has any issues with the Sio Silica project and the potential impact on clean drinking water from, you know, that com­mu­nity.

Mr. Smith: Well, the Water Services Board is not a regulator, but the Clean Environ­ment Com­mis­sion is. You know, and so that's before the Clean Environ­ment Com­mis­sion right now and we want that in­de­pen­dent body to make that decision and certainly provide advice as to how to proceed with reference to Sio Silica sands project that the member opposite has referenced.

Ms. Naylor: So, my under­standing from the gov­ern­ment website is that the Water Services Board con­ducts feasibility studies and environ­mental impact assessments for developing intermunici­pal or regional infra­structure services.

      So, would the minister not think that there might be a role for the Water Services Board in–like, regard­less of the fact that there is a Clean Environ­ment Commis­sion review happening?

Mr. Smith: It's my under­standing that, of course, through the munici­palities, if they're going to build a water infra­structure project, they go to a the Water Services Board to get the environ­mental impact assess­ment done. So, that would be the onus on the munici­pality to do that, to come to the WSB, the Water Services Board.

      In the case that, referring to Sio Silica sand, that is, like I said, with the Clean Environ­ment Com­mis­sion, which we're going to rely on their expert advice on that mine potential.

Ms. Naylor: I have a question. You'll have to rule if it's in order or not. I'm hoping the minister would want to reflect on this.

      But a lot of us, probably all the MLAs, have ex­per­ienced–have received a lot of emails from people, that sort of 15-minute-city conspiracy theory, and I'm wondering if there's been backlash, you know, with his de­part­ment, from people subscribing to this con­spiracy theory, and if the de­part­ment has plans to try to educate Manitobans on this.

Mr. Smith: Certainly, our de­part­ment relies on the expertise of pro­fes­sional planners and don't live in the world of conspiracy theories. And we rely on our plan­ners in our de­part­ment and around the province in different com­mu­nities who can make decisions what they believe is best for their individual com­mu­nities.

Ms. Naylor: Well, that's good to hear that that's the in­ten­tion. Is–but does the minister–does the de­part­ment have any plans to try to, you know, educate Manitobans?

      There's–seems to be a lot of people believing in this conspiracy theory. That would get in the way of munici­pal relations, city planning. So, there's an edu­ca­tion op­por­tun­ity here for the de­part­ment.

      Has the minister considered using that op­por­tun­ity?

Mr. Smith: Well, let's be clear. If our gov­ern­ment had to respond to every conspiracy theory out there, we'd spend all our time chasing down rabbit holes and never get anything done.

      So, like I said, our goal as a gov­ern­ment is to rely on the planners and pro­fes­sional planners to give us expert advice.

Ms. Naylor: The–is–I noted in the budget notes that the de­part­ment target and completion rate for respect­ful work­place training was 90 per cent. So that the–that has been met in the de­part­ment.

      And so my question is if the minister has partici­pated in respectful work­place and diversity training.

Mr. Smith: As an MLA, I have undergone respectful work­place training. I know a number of MLAs have done that through­out their career here over the past few years.

      And I know that, you know, as times change and evolve, ex­pect­a­tions in the workplace change and evolve, and I think it's im­por­tant for not only elected officials but folks right across the civil service to under­take these types of trainings to make sure that they're aware of current con­di­tions and what's con­sidered acceptable.

* (16:30)

Ms. Naylor: Thank you, Minister, for that answer.

      And also, has the minister endeavoured to under­go recon­ciliation edu­ca­tion and training?

Mr. Smith: I ap­pre­ciate the question.

      Of course, I think everyone–every MLA in the Manitoba Legislature has a respon­si­bility to and a commit­ment to recon­ciliation. We know that that's certainly some­thing that is talked about quite often, but I think should be backed up with actions and not just words.

      Of course, I'm always open to different types of training that would advance recon­ciliation and, of course, advance different types of inclusion in the work­place.

Ms. Naylor: I'm going to give 15 minutes of time to the member from River Heights to ask some questions.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Over the last number of years, there have been several instances of–where women on councils or mayors or reeves have been harassed or bullied. And one of the outstanding examples was in St. Andrews, where Joy Sul was mistreated. She had to spend some­thing like $100,000 to defend her reputation and to defend demo­cracy.

      And I wonder if the minister would comment on the current situation. And not many people are in a position where they could even spend that kind of money, and I'm not sure that she was either, but she did it because she thought that was the principle that she had to stand on. She was re-elected, and she was vindicated in the courts.

Mr. Smith: I'll thank the member for the question.

      And as–member's probably aware that since that time there's been a require­ment for munici­pal elected officials to take code-of-conduct training and respect­ful work­place training.

      We've certainly seen a number of new councillors, reeves and mayors elected through­out this past elec­tion, the civic election, and, of course, I think it's very im­por­tant that they're able to now–not only able, but required to take this type of training to make sure that they understand what's ap­pro­priate as far as codes of conduct and respectful work­place.

      We know the Manitoba Legislature and other elected bodies are no different than any other work­place; there should be a code of conduct and there should be elements of respect in the work­place. After all, it's repre­sen­ting the residents and the good people that elected you to that–or, in this case, us–to that position.

Mr. Gerrard: Yes, the minister has respon­si­bility–or, for oversight at The Forks Market. And a number of people have come to me over the last several years observing that there was quite a bit of empty space at The Forks Market, and concerned about how this was being run and managed.

      And I wonder if the minister could comment.

Mr. Smith: As the member is quite aware, that the Province has one-third share on the board, so it's the three levels of gov­ern­ment: federal, prov­incial and munici­pal.

      But there's–the board does rely on the manage­ment team on the daily operations. Certainly, we under­­stand that COVID had an outsized impact on all small busi­nesses, parti­cularly retail and restaurants and those types.

      So The Forks is no exception, but by looks of things now, have improved considerably since the height of COVID, and it looks like things are on the upswing.

      But again, you know, the board is–has oversight, but they do rely primarily on the manage­ment team at The Forks to work on the daily operations of the facility.

Mr. Gerrard: This is a munici­pal issue, but it's also a trans­por­tation issue and the minister may not have direct respon­si­bility here.

      But I think it's im­por­tant that he is aware of–Provincial Highway 424, which runs from Highway 1 up toward just south of St. Eustache, is currently not considered an RTAC road, but it has major manu­facturing facilities along the road–including, as an example, a soybean processing plant, which processes on the order of a million bushels of soybean a year.

      And they–there's a real concern that this needs to be updated to an RTAC road in order to address the needs of people along that road, which are–I mean, that's not the only major–there's steel manufacturing and various other manufacturing plants along that road.

Mr. Chairperson: Before I let the ministers answer that question, I would just say to members of the com­mit­tee that the level of con­ver­sa­tion around the table is getting a little bit loud and distracting, and I would hope that members would have a respect for those that are asking questions and answering questions, and that we give them the respect of the floor. So I would now call on the hon­our­able minister.

Mr. Smith: I, with respect to the question of Highway 424, that does fall under MTI, Manitoba Trans­por­tation Infra­structure, so I would defer to them on that–whether or not they are going to RTAC a standard highway or not.

Mr. Gerrard: I wanted just to make the minister aware of the situation and the–one of the concerns, and again, it may only be partly under the minister's purview–is the problem of lead water pipes, and many other juris­dic­tions are making a major attempt to replace all lead water pipes.

* (16:40)

      We have lead water pipes in Winnipeg and in Portage and various other cities in Manitoba. Brandon's an example. And, lead has a major health issue sur­rounding it, and there was a study in Winnipeg which showed that 20 per cent of those who have lead pipes–water pipes have got high lead levels in their water.

      I'm just wondering whether the minister's in­volved to any extent in this issue, because, clearly, it's a, you know, a simple issue, even if it is, at least in part, health, but it deals with infra­structure and so on.

Mr. Smith: Of course, I ap­pre­ciate the member bringing this im­por­tant issue forward. It's–certainly, we know that lead is not–it's less than ideal as a water pipe. I mean, largely, that comes under the De­part­ment of Environ­ment and Climate. However, of course, through our de­part­ment, it is a munici­pal overlap there.

      We can–through the Manitoba Water Services Board, munici­palities can request funding to have them replaced. And, of course, there's other mitigating factors that can be done to create more safe con­di­tions for drinking water that our de­part­ment can provide edu­ca­tion on. But largely, the re­place­ment would be done through Manitoba Water Services Board, and, of course, Environ­ment and Climate has a large role in it as well.

Mr. Gerrard: In a similar vein, there's recently been concerns brought forward about asbestos in Winnipeg's water. And my under­standing is that there was asbestos in many of the pipes and that when these pipes get older that there may be asbestos getting into the water.

      And, again, it is a mix of munici­pal and health and other issues. But it seems to me that somebody needs to stand up and to tell people in Winnipeg whether this is a sig­ni­fi­cant issue, and if it is, what's going to be done about it. So, over to you.

Mr. Smith: The guide­lines set forward are set by the De­part­ment of Environ­ment and Climate, with respect to quality drinking water. Again, much like it was with the lead pipe issue.

      Of course, munici­palities can endeavour to take on the project them­selves if they want to, or in the case of changing outlet pipes, they can get the Manitoba Water Services Board to do that.

      In terms of flushing pipes, I understand that muni­ci­palities can under­take that endeavour them­selves. So, of course, the standards are set by the De­part­ment of Environ­ment and Climate, and of course, as the Munici­pal Relations Minister, we take all these issues seriously.

      And there's often–as you've well aware, the mem­ber opposite has been–served in the federal gov­ern­ment and knows that often there's a whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach to certain issues, just given the nature of, and sometimes the complexities of it. So, of course, this has overlap in more than one de­part­ment.

An Honourable Member: Thank you, and I will pass it back to the MLA for Wolseley.

Ms. Naylor: I don't have any further questions.

Mr. Chairperson: Seeing no more questions, we will move on to reso­lu­tions.

      Reso­lu­tion 13.2: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $13,705,000 for Munici­pal Relations, Com­mu­nity Planning and Dev­elop­ment, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 13.3: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $12,520,000 for Munici­pal Relations, Munici­pal Assessment and Advisory Services, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 13.4: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $372,501,000 for Munici­pal Relations, Financial Assistance, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 13.5: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $1,725,000 for Munici­pal Relations, Capital Assets, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      [interjection] Order.

      Reso­lu­tion 13.6: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $117,354,000–I apologize, I will start this again.

      Reso­lu­tion 13.6: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $117,364,000 for Munici­pal Relations, Loans and Guarantees Programs, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 13.7: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $90,548,000 for Munici­pal Relations, Other Reporting Entities Capital Invest­ment, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      The last item to be considered for the Estimates of this de­part­ment is item 13.1(a), the minister's salary, contained in reso­lu­tion 13.1.

      The floor is open for questions. There's no questions.

Seeing no questions, we will move on to the resolution 13.1: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $7,782,000 for Munici­pal Relations, Admin­is­tra­tion and Finance, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      This completes the Estimates of the De­part­ment of Munici­pal Relations.

      The next set of Estimates to be considered by this section of the Committee of Supply is for the Department of Agri­cul­ture.

      The hour being 4:51, what is the will of the com­mit­tee?

An Honourable Member: Com­mit­tee rise.

Mr. Chairperson: Com­mit­tee rise.


Sport, Culture and Heritage

* (15:00)

The Acting Chairperson (Shannon Martin): Will the Com­mit­tee of Supply please come to order. This section of the Com­mit­tee of Supply will now consider the Estimates for the De­part­ment of Sport, Culture and Heritage.

      Does the hon­our­able minister have an opening statement?

Hon. Obby Khan (Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage): I do, Mr. Chair–Mr. Speaker? Chair.

      Mr. Chair, I am very pleased to be here today and I would like to welcome my colleagues and the members opposite today. It is an honour and a privilege to be the Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage and to intro­duce the 2023‑2024 budgetary Estimates for my de­part­ment.

      As everyone's well aware, this is my first time as minister, so the first time here in the Com­mit­tee of Supply, and I'm very excited to talk about all the great things that our gov­ern­ment is doing and going to keep doing.

      I'd like to intro­duce, I guess, the members of my de­part­ment when they arrive or when they're let in. But in Budget 2022, our gov­ern­ment committed to an invest­ment of $100 million for the arts, culture and sport in com­mu­nity fund, provi­ding enhanced support for capital projects and pro­gram­ming related to the arts, culture and sport initiatives and com­mu­nities across the entire province.

      In Budget 2023, we accelerated our support for the fund, expanding the planned $34‑million invest­ment by $16 million to $15 million and investing a further $50 million in 2023‑2024, for a total of $100 million over two years. These funds will enable the many Manitobans who enjoy and celebrate the province's rich culture to benefit from this support for capital projects and pro­gram­ming related to arts, culture and sport initiatives.

      Manitoba's cultural industries continue to be an economic driver for the province, with a total production value for the film, music and publishing industries esti­mated at over $250 million for 2022-2023.

      Nearly $3.6 million was provided to Manitoba film and music to ensure ongoing operations and con­tinued growth in the film and music industries. Through inter­national marketing and promotion, admin­is­tra­tion of the film and video tax credit, grants and other financing programs for Manitoba artists, artisans and production companies, repre­sen­ting more than 2,500 pro­fes­sionals.

      The book publishing tax credit, along with other publishing and printing support programs, ensure that Manitoba continues to provide meaningful em­ploy­ment to Manitoba residents engaged in the creative industries.

      It has been exciting to see the return of more sport activity as pandemic restrictions have lifted as well. This past year, young Manitoba athletes were able to partici­pate in both the summer and winter Canada Games.

      To acknowl­edge the sig­ni­fi­cance of sport in our province, we are continuing to invest over $13 million in sport through our agency, Sport Manitoba. Our gov­ern­ment, the Manitoba Combative Sports Commis­sion, Sport Manitoba and the almost 70 Manitoba prov­incial sport organi­zations are committed to delivering and wel­coming a safe and fun sport ex­per­ience for Manitoba residents of every age group, gender and skill level.

      For these reasons, we continue to advance our two‑year annual commit­ment of $250,000 towards sport–Manitoba's Safe Sport strategy. This is above and beyond the current funding. Progress was made this past year with new resources and a public aware­ness campaign about our Safe Sport hotline. In year 2, ad­di­tional critical resources will be developed and imple­mented.

      Manitoba's public libraries are essential com­mu­nity hubs. Our gov­ern­ment is delivering on its com­mit­­ment to strengthen the Manitoba public library system. In 2021-2022, we provided a $769,000 increase to the public library sector. And in 2023-2024, we will further enhance support of the public library sector with an ad­di­tional $277,000 invest­ment as we continue to develop a more effective and respon­si­ble approach to support public library operations along with munici­pal gov­ern­ments.

      Heritage grants, programs and technical support services to com­mu­nity-based museums, organi­zations and owners of designated properties ensure that the unique people, events and places that are repre­sen­tative of our collective past are remembered and that the irreplaceable resources we have inherited as a legacy continue to be conserved.

      Manitoba's heritage community leads im­por­tant research, provides capacity and workforce dev­elop­ment op­por­tun­ities and creates public pro­gram­ming that all serve to build awareness of how the heritage sector enhances com­mu­nity cultural infra­structure, works towards social cohesion and provides enriching experiences which, in turn, contribute to com­mu­nity well-being and evolving under­standing of our society and grow cultural tourism potential.

      Close to 300 different heritage programs, initia­tives or operations will be supported through the al­loca­tion of just under $2.4 million targeted to the heritage sector. New programs such as the Heritage Resources Con­ser­va­tion Grant, the Com­mu­nity Museum Project Support and Military Memorial Con­ser­va­tion Grant continue to provide annual funding support as defined within the various trusts and endowments that our gov­ern­ment has esta­blished.

      Additionally, work and col­lab­o­ration continues with our partners at the Winnipeg Foundation and Endow Manitoba to advance heritage sector sus­tain­ability through Manitoba Heritage Trust endowments, signature museum trusts and the $25-million invest­ment into The Bay Building Fund.

      An ad­di­tional $243,000 will be invested to sup­port mineral exploration and dev­elop­ment work in the province by increasing our archaeological comple­ment by three full-time staff and provi­ding funds required to perform targeted surveying. This will assist companies with their planning efforts to ensure their work is not stopped or delayed by unintended impacts to our province's protected heritage resources.

      The Archives of Manitoba continue to work on the Manitoba infor­ma­tion record admin­is­tra­tion–also called MIRA–tech­no­lo­gy project. MIRA is a gov­ern­ment records and infor­ma­tion manage­ment system that must be modernized in order to support improved processes and the management of digital records. A publicly tendered contract for the re­place­ment of the system was awarded in March 2023, and imple­men­ta­tion will begin this fiscal year.

      This winter, the Archives of Manitoba co-hosted Indigenous Afternoons in the Archives to support and encourage Indigenous research at the archives. The events featured displays of archival records and offered the op­por­tun­ity for visitors to connect with archives staff, local academics and other researchers.

      The Legis­lative Library continues to provide pro­fes­sional research and reference services to members, legis­lative staff, members of the public service and members of the public. In the past year, library staff provided 18,860 books, articles and online resources to their clients. They also acquired almost 9,000 books, periodicals, gov­ern­ment publications and newspapers.

* (15:10)

      The Province will provide a total of $13.865 million in prov­incial funding to Travel Manitoba in 2023‑2024. Our gov­ern­ment continues to invest in tourism and travel marketing as the tourism industry shifts from a short‑term pandemic response to rebuilding for long-term growth.

      On May 6th, 2023, Canadians will celebrate the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III–sorry, just three days ago–and Her Majesty The Queen Consort. This historic event, the first coronation of Canadian head of state and monarch in seven decades, will allow com­mu­nities to come together and high­light themes that both King Charles III and Canadians hold dear, including service, the environ­ment and sus­tain­ability and our nation's diversity.

      Our con­sti­tu­tional monarch and Commonwealth realm–as a con­sti­tu­tional monarch and Commonwealth realm, Canada will be marking this milestone event with a number of national initiatives that celebrate the close ties between His Majesty and Canada, as well as the role the Crown plays in our system of gov­ern­ment and our self–and our sense of identity. Provinces and territories, including Manitoba, will join the federal gov­ern­ment in marking this occasion.

      Lastly–and I know you're all waiting for this–lastly, I would like to–[interjection] Hear, hear. I would like to extend my gratitude to the entire staff and De­part­ment of Sport, Culture and Heritage for their continual work, effort, passion for this de­part­ment and province. Their hard work, expertise and dedi­cation has enabled us to move forward towards the sus­tain­able recovery of our arts, sports and culture com­mu­nity at large, and I am honoured to be the Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage.

      Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and that concludes my opening remarks.

The Acting Chairperson (Shannon Martin): We thank the minister for those brief comments.

      Does the official op­posi­tion critic have any comments?

Ms. Amanda Lathlin (The Pas-Kameesak): Welcome to the minister, as well.

      I'm eager to ask questions for this year's Estimates for the De­part­ment of Sport, Culture and Heritage. And I'm hoping that the minister will provide informa­tive answers.

      Manitoba has a thriving arts and culture sector. Our libraries, museums and other arts organi­zations, like the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg–oh, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, are key in­sti­tutions of our province and are a part of our lives in many ways. We also enjoy cheering on our many local sports teams.

      Many of these services and recreational op­por­tun­ities rely on gov­ern­ment support. And I'll be interested to hear from the minister about the funding decisions being made this year.

      Manitoba arts organi­zations have been struggling in the wake of COVID‑19. Their attendance levels have still not rebounded to what they were there before the pandemic. Many fear that without ad­di­tional support they will unable to continue provi­ding the services and enter­tain­ment that Manitobans enjoy.

      In the past, we have raised issues such as in­creased pro­tec­tions for youth in sport and increased arts funding, that we are still waiting for this gov­ern­ment to act on.

      I hope to hear from the minister that his de­part­ment will be doing every­thing possible to provide our local arts organi­zations as well as all organizations that fall under his de­part­ment.


The Acting Chairperson (Shannon Martin): We thank the critic from the official op­posi­tion for those remarks.

      Under Manitoba practice, debate of the ministerial–minister's salary is the last item considered for a de­part­ment. Accordingly, we shall now defer con­sid­era­tion of line item 14.1(a) contained in reso­lu­tion 14.1.

      At this time, we invite min­is­terial and op­posi­tion staff to enter the Chamber, and I would like to ask the minister and critic to please intro­duce their staff in attendance.

      The hon­our­able minister to intro­duce his table staff.

Mr. Khan: I'm honoured and proud to be surrounded by such a great and admirable staff in the few months I've been working here. Absolutely fantastic.

      So, to my left is my Deputy Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage, Jeff Hnatiuk. I have in–to his left, Veronica Dyck, the assist­ant deputy minister of sport, culture–culture and sport programs. To her left, I have Mike Sosaiak [phonetic]–Sosik [phonetic]? Sosiak? Was close, never said your last name–Mike Sosiak, assist­ant deputy minister and executive financial officer and admin­is­tra­tion and finance. And to his left, we have Julia Tetrault, director of strategic priorities.

The Acting Chairperson (Shannon Martin): I thank the minister for those intro­ductions.

      Will the critic from the official op­posi­tion please intro­duce their staff?

Ms. Lathlin: Before me is Julia Antonyshyn, our caucus assist­ant, who will be assisting us today.

      Thank you.

The Acting Chairperson (Shannon Martin): In accordance with subrule 78(16), during the con­sid­era­tion of de­part­mental Estimates, questioning for each de­part­ment shall proceed in a global manner, with questions put on the reso­lu­tions once the official op­posi­tion critic indicates that questioning has concluded.

      The floor is now open for questions.

Ms. Lathlin: My first question for the minister is, can the minister under­take to give a list of all technical appoint­ments in his de­part­ment, including names and titles?

Mr. Khan: Thank you for the member opposite for a good opening question to get me warmed up. So thank you for taking it easy on me.

      The list of technical ap­point­ments and positions. So, minister's staff: Olubumi Aregbesola, outreach co‑ordinator. And we have Sukhi Jandu, special assist­ant; Mercedes Casar, executive assist­­ant; Lieutenant Governor's office–and I apolo­gize if I say the last name incorrectly–Katherine [phonetic] Gameiro, and she's the executive director, private secretary to the Lieutenant Governor; Sonia Stubler, support to Lieutenant Governor. And we have military envoy Anna [phonetic] Healey, military envoy co‑ordinator.

Ms. Lathlin: Can the minister under­take to give an organizational chart that lists all employees and program areas, please?

* (15:20)

Mr. Khan: Sorry, Mr. Chair, a clarifying question: Is the member opposite asking for just the–I understood the organizational chart, but is the member opposite also asking for all of the staff enlisted within the entire de­part­ment?

Ms. Lathlin: I'll repeat my question: Can the minister under­take to give an organizational chart that lists all employees and program areas?

Mr. Khan: I'm still a little unclear on the question, and I know she repeated it but I'll do my best to answer to my best ability.

      So, on page 14 of the Budget 2023, they will see an organizational structure as of April 1st, 2023, that shows the organizational chart of this de­part­ment.

      I believe the member opposite asked for all of the staff in the entire de­part­ment, and that will be an under­taking of 100-and-plus staff that I'll have to get; I don't have that readily available in one sheet. But if that's what the member's asking, then I can also provide her with every single person that works within the de­part­ment.

Ms. Lathlin: My next question is: Can the minister give a list of all current vacancies in the de­part­ment as a number and percentage?

Mr. Khan: Thank you again for that question.

      So, vacant positions in this de­part­ment as of February 28th, 2023–as of February 28th, was 28.4 full-time employees.

      Since then, however, 11 have been filled, five are at the stage–interview or job-offer stage and seven are being reviewed for priority needs.

Ms. Lathlin: As a former repre­sen­tative workforce co‑ordinator, how many identify as a minority, Indigenous?

Mr. Khan: I thank the member opposite for the question.

      As the minister in this de­part­ment, as an obvious visible minority myself, and speaking to an Indigenous leader on the opposite side, I see the value, and I believe she sees the value in that, as well.

      So it's very im­por­tant to me. I think it's wonderful to have more diversity represented in gov­ern­ment and all aspects of life, wherever it may be.

      So, I'll again refer the member to Budget 2023, if the member takes a look, in the Supplements to the Estimates of Expenditure is laid out on page 36.

      At the very, very top, where Manitobans are–where it states, Manitobans are best served by a public service that is inclusive and repre­sen­tative of the diverse popu­la­tion of Manitoba at all levels of the organi­zation, including senior manage­ment.

      Em­ploy­ment equity status is self-identified on a voluntary basis when individuals are hired into a posi­tion or at any time during their em­ploy­ment with Manitoba's public service.

      Em­ploy­ment equity groups include women, Indigenous people, visible minorities and persons with dis­abil­ities. This measure will capture diversity in Manitoba's public service and in senior manage­ment.

      So, if we go ahead a little bit further and we look at that chart. You can see that an equity group, the women benchmarks are 50 per cent, but as percentage, total employees as of December 31st are at 72 per cent.

      Is Indigenous people–self-identified–16 per cent is the benchmark, and they're at 12 per cent. Visible minorities, 13 per cent. And above that, you can see the total employees as of December 31st are at 17 per cent.

      Person with dis­abil­ity benchmark's 9 per cent, and as of December 31st, you can see that that's at 5 per cent.

      So, it is some­thing that we value in this de­part­ment, that we track, and that we're proud of the progress we're making here.

Ms. Lathlin: Thank you for that infor­ma­tion.

      In regards to–I want to go back to vacancies: 5.4 full-time FTE weren't mentioned. Why is–vacancies weren't mentioned.

      Why is the de­part­ment not planning on filling those vacancies this year? On page 10, it states that the number of employees will not increase at all this year.

Mr. Khan: I will go back and reiterate my comment earlier, maybe there was some confusion over what was stated.

      The numbers were stated as of February 28th, 2023, that there was 28.4, so the chart that–or the–yes, the numbers that the member opposite's referring to is 136.6. That is the core staffing target of where we are–the de­part­ment is fully staffed.

      Out of that, 28.4 on February 28th were vacant. Out of those, 11 have been filled, five are at the inter­view or job-offer stage, and seven are being inter­viewed from priority.

      So, although the number has not increased from 2022-2023, we are working to fill those positions within the de­part­ment, so that, I think, adds some clarity to the question of what the member opposite is asking.

Ms. Lathlin: Arts groups in Manitoba are still struggling with the effects of COVID‑19 pandemic. Their attendance level still hasn't–still haven't rebounded and they're worried that without ad­di­tional funding, the status of their organi­zations are at risk.

* (15:30)

      Can the minister tell us what actions is he taking to prevent Manitoba's arts groups from going under?

Mr. Khan: I really want to thank the member oppo­site for bringing this great question forward.

      It's been one of the priorities of this gov­ern­ment to support art, culture, and sport organi­zations in this province, and we're well aware that they were hit especially hard during the pandemic. So, I'm going to take this time and really thank everyone in the arts, culture, and sport com­mu­nity for making it through the pandemic, which is one of the hardest times in history to get through.

      But we realized as a gov­ern­ment they needed a lot of help and a lot of support to get through that, so our gov­ern­ment stepped up and made many, many historical an­nounce­ments and, actually, supports for organi­zations that had been neglected for decades without funding like this.

      Our gov­ern­ment is proud that we are investing in our com­mu­nities, and not only are we helping them thrive–survive, we're helping them thrive. We're taking action, and in a historic move by this gov­ern­ment and our Premier (Mrs. Stefanson), we created the Arts, Culture, and Sport in Com­mu­nity Fund, a $100‑million invest­ment in exactly what the member opposite's question was relating to: supporting our arts, culture and sport organi­zations.

      On top of that, there were many, many other an­nounce­ments and programs that were created. The Com­mu­nity Celebrations Program, the eth­no­cul­tural program and supporting of the arts, where the member opposite–I think the question was mainly focused on the arts for that one.

      And our gov­ern­ment is committed to the econ­omic and social well-being of not only Manitoba residents but also Manitoba performing arts organi­zations. So, this included sig­ni­fi­cant invest­ment and support for this sector.

      You know, I'm proud to say that our–on top of the $100-million ACSC fund that was created, they–we provided an ad­di­tional $12.7 million to the Manitoba Arts Council, $11 million of which was invested in cultural organi­zations, projects and the creation of grants.

      We also invested over half a million dollars annually in the independent music sector through Manitoba Film & Music and provided $2.5 million annually to the Manitoba centennial concert centre, a critical piece of performing art infra­structure in Manitoba.

      And all of these were–Mr. Chair, I'll reiterate–were historic invest­ments that had never been done before by any gov­ern­ment. So, coming out of the pandemic, these were astronomical, I would say, from the feedback we've gotten from com­mu­nity and the organi­zations that benefited from these.

      The Manitoba gov­ern­ment–I mean, I can go on and on. I know I only have five minutes for this and only two minutes left, but I could talk for the whole two hours on the great work we've done. The Safe at Home program for non-profit organi­zations provided $2.7 million to cultural organi­zations. On top of that–oh, I mentioned the $12 million for the recovery of the sector.

      And, in summary, if I was to list these all off, we could go through the stay grant–stay-at-home grant pro­gram, which was $5.25 million; the centre–CCFM, $300,000; the Manitoba centennial concert cor­por­ation, $1 million and then an ad­di­tional $400,000; Manitoba Film and Sound and the Arts and Culture Sus­tain­ability Funds received $250,000 and an ad­di­tional $500,000; the Manitoba Arts Council; Arts and Culture Sus­tain­ability Funds, which I mentioned earlier–actually totalled, sorry, $11.25 million in two intakes.

      Folkaroma [phonetic]–Folklorama, not Folkaroma [phonetic]–Folklorama was provided a one-time ad­di­tional support to pavilions of $400,000. Sport Manitoba was provided an ad­di­tional $250,000 for their Safe Sport framework. And then, again, the arts, culture and sport com­mu­nity fund, which was $100 million. And the demand and the response we've had from com­mu­nity was so high; it was originally $34 million for the first year, 33 and 33, but the demand and the need was so high for these sectors that it was increased to $50 million because those organi­zations needed the money now.

      So, we're proud that we could flow that through. If I have an ad­di­tional follow-up question on this–so much good things, good an­nounce­ments that our gov­ern­ment did to talk about how we supported the arts coming out of the pandemic.

      Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Lathlin: Arts groups are saying that the PC gov­ern­ment funding is inadequate. Twenty arts organi­zations in Manitoba, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Opera and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and more, have said they're at risk of going under without ad­di­tional funding.

      Can the minister explain: Has he spoken to these organi­zations?

* (15:40)

Mr. Khan: Again, I want to thank the member oppo­site for that question.

      And, been in this de­part­ment now for, I think, just over two months, and when I came in it was–my top priority was to meet with–you know, almost every stake­holder I believe I've met with within this de­part­ment, or I've tried to, and I still have meetings going forward.

      I take a lot of pride in meeting with people in this de­part­ment, people that we're involved with, our stake­­­holders, our OREs, anybody that's involved in any sort of sector within our arts, sport and culture–Sport, Culture and Heritage De­part­ment. So, I have met with them.

      So, when the member opposite asks if I've met with them, yes, I have. And I've met with some of them numer­ous times and attended many of their events, gone to the actual facilities them­selves and had them into the de­part­ment.

      We had a roundtable discussion, as well, with many of the organi­zations that the member opposite lists off–so, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Manitoba centennial concert cor­por­ation, Manitoba Film & Sound Recording Dev­elop­ment, Manitoba Film & Music–referred to as–and the symphony–the, sorry, Winnipeg symphony, the ballet, Manitoba Museum, opera as well.

      So, I might be missing one or two in there, but I have taken a lot of pride in meeting with all those organi­zations. I got to hear what they're saying and what they're feeling.

      And, overall, you know, the sentiment is that coming out of the pandemic was very tough. It's been very tough for them. And I won't sit here and deny that it's been tough for them and that the recovery has been taking awhile. It's taken awhile in almost every sector across this world and within this province, as well. And we're here to help support them along that path to recovery.

      Some of the things I mentioned last time–and I think the member opposite's well aware of this and the arts organi­zations echoed this to us–was they were very grateful of the support we've given them thus far. And we will continue the dialogue going forward in how we can continue to support them in that.

      But some of the things I'd mentioned earlier was the $12.7 million to the Manitoba Arts Council, which $11 million of that was invested to these organi­zations. Over a half a million dollars to the Manitoba Film & Music. During the pandemic, $2.5 million of annual support to the Manitoba centennial concert cor­por­ation. These were just some of the invest­ments that our gov­ern­ment was working with these art sectors coming out of the pandemic.

      The creation of the historic, never done before in the history of this province–never been done before under any gov­ern­ment–was the Arts, Culture and Sport in Com­mu­nity Fund. So, as the member oppo­site says, you know, what ad­di­tional funding and support we did, well, let's take a look at that.

      Manitoba centennial concert cor­por­ation for an auditorium renewal for $249,908. And this is on top of the already–funding that they had received, on top of the historic 12.6 art–$12‑million Arts and Culture Sus­tain­ability Funds program. So, on top of that one that was created for this–during this gov­ern­ment's time, during the pandemic. This is ad­di­tional funding.

      The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre was to–production equip­ment upgrade was $297,250. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Inc. was $300,000 on top of funding, again. The Manitoba Museum: $138,688.82 for the innovation and modernization capital invest­ment. An ad­di­tional Manitoba Museum for innovation modernization priority was $83,355.

      The Manitoba Opera Association–this is a great one and I'm really proud of this one. I know within our de­part­ment and our staff really love this program. The opera will present the first Indigenous-led opera on a Canadian stage. It will feature singing in several Indigenous languages and English and French. The project will include panel discussions, lectures and class on Métis and Indigenous culture: $300,000.

      A total of $1.369 million on top of all the other funding we have done.

      There is more dialogue to happen. All of these stake­holders and all of these sectors know that I am a minister who loves to meet with them and talk with them, and I look forward to continuing this dialogue going forward, working with them to make sure that we have a healthy and fruitful recovery coming out of this last couple years.

      Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Lathlin: How much funding is set aside for libraries this year and how much was set aside over the past five years?

* (15:50)

Mr. Khan: Again, I want to thank the member oppo­site for, you know, allowing me the op­por­tun­ity to some of the–high­light some of the great things our gov­ern­ment is doing. And one of them is the funding for public libraries.

      So I believe the member–and I might be mistaken–maybe they can come back after I'm done my answer here–but I believe the member asked for the funding over the last five years previous to this year, so they wanted this year's, and then they want the previous five years going back. The member opposite's nodding, so I assume that's yes.

      So, we can take that under ad­vise­ment and bring that back. We don't have a table right now showing the previous five years, but I can comment on, like, last year and this year and what we are doing to support. So, we will go back and get that over the last five years.

      In 2022 and 2023, the rural public libraries received funding of $4,894,200, and the Winnipeg public libraries received $2,010,100. So that is reflected–so, total of over $6.8 million in 2022-2023.

      I'll also comment that there was a review process done and being done, and there was a $769,000 increase for public sector. This is going back to 2021-22. So there  was a $769,000 increase. Of that, $600,000 was distributed annually to rural public libraries and $169,000 of that was allocated to build sector capa­city and improve services to Manitobans with print disabil­ity.

      Along with that, I–you know, I'm proud to say that there was an ad­di­tional increase of $277,000 in prov­incial funding to rural public libraries. Again, this is above the six–769 I've already mentioned. So, $277,000 in prov­incial grant funding for rural public libraries in 2022-2023–sorry, '23-24, stabilization fund­ing for libraries that would have otherwise seen a decrease in prov­incial funding due to the impact of the 2021 census data. So, government realizing that there would have been an increase based on previous funding models, proud to say that our de­part­ment realized that, stepped up and increased the funding for that as well.

      Our gov­ern­ment is very proud of the work we're doing. And, again, another sector we realize more funding and more support is always needed. And I don't think you'd get an argument from anyone and anywhere that you can add more funding to support all–everywhere, let alone the De­part­ment of Sport, Culture and Heritage. I think you could say that everyone is needed for funding.

      So above and beyond that–again, gov­ern­ment realizing that these sectors were hit really hard during the pandemic. So, the Arts, Culture and Sport in Commu­nity Fund: $100 million–historic invest­ment in these sectors.

      And I'm going to go on and list–I have a minute forty-five, and, again, I need more time to talk about all the great things our gov­ern­ment is doing and this de­part­ment is doing. I could not be more proud of the work we're doing.

      The Flin Flon library board, critical renovations for safety and ac­ces­si­bility, $213,000; Comité culturel de Somerset, Somerset library bibliothèque renova­tions, $24,234; Victoria Munici­pal Library, tech­no­lo­gy and storage upgrades, $25,000; Lac du Bonnet Regional Library, library renovations, $25,000; South Central Regional Library, circulation desk re­place­ment, $25,000. I apologize–I'm going to get this next one wrong–Breidavik Nyja Island Historical Library & Resource Centre, $25,000; Sigloons [phonetic] district library–

An Honourable Member: Siglunes.

Mr. Khan: Siglunes, Siglunes, Sigloons [phonetic]. Sigloons [phonetic]. Siglunes. I apologize to the lovely folks of Siglunes–district library, $3,112.

      I can go on and on. I'm not going to have time. I only have 38 seconds. I've got two pages listed here.

      Thompson Public Library, library special initia­tive project, $35,000; bibliothèque régionale Joles  [phonetic] regional library, $25,000; Prairie Crocus Regional Library, $19,765; Library Allard's youth area modern­ization project, $24,500; Western Manitoba Regional Library, Shoppers facility en­hance­ment project, $16,348.

      And I'm not going to have time, I only got 10 seconds left. We are making sig­ni­fi­cant invest­ments in our library public funding and we are proud and will continue to do that.

      Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Lathlin: In regards to his–the minister's answer in regards to library funding, can the minister break out funding by library system as to which received an increase of funding this year? Which libraries received an increase–of libraries this year?

Mr. Khan: Again, I'm going to go back to the previous one and, just to clarify, so, we do want the five-year funding, right, for the previous five years? That was asked, right? So, I just want to make sure because we were having some discussion, so we'll get that–we'll take that under ad­vise­ment.

      As well as your specific question to this one, I–from what I understand, you're asking for the funding per library. So, we don't have that right now but we can take that under ad­vise­ment. We'd be more than happy to provide the funding.

      But what I can say is that no one was decreased funding. So, proud to again say–and I 'reitered' this in last point, that no one was decreased funding. Our gov­ern­ment increased funding in a reactive manner, under­standing that if we had stayed with the previous funding model due to the 2021 census data, library funding could have been decreased for some of these libraries.

* (16:00)

      So, in 2021-22 it was an increase of $769,000; $600,000 of that was distributed annually to rural public libraries and 169 was allocated to build central capacity. And, on top of that, there was an increase of up to $277,000 in prov­incial funding for rural public libraries for the '23-24 Estimates.

      So, the member opposite can see that there was no decrease in funding. It is an increase in funding to stabilization for library systems, which would have 'otherrise' seen a decrease in prov­incial funding supports.

      So, it's im­por­tant to note that, again, we will take it under ad­vise­ment; we will get the funding per library for you, but that our gov­ern­ment has increased funding.

      And also, you know, when we do some math and we add that up–because I think that's im­por­tant to do math and realize, because we're throwing around a lot of numbers and every­thing's kind of like, oh, millions and thousands and who's getting what–since 2021–2020-21, the library sector has seen an increase of $932,000 of ad­di­tional funding.

      That's im­por­tant to know that our gov­ern­ment realizes the importance and understands that libraries are essential com­mu­nity hubs, constantly evolving, con­necting com­mu­nities and forming–bringing people together, having a safe space for people to come.

      So, again, proud of the work our gov­ern­ment is doing to building stronger com­mu­nities, continuing to enhance library services for all Manitobans, which is critical. With the diverse growing popu­la­tion we have now a lot of people are going to libraries for resources and it's great that they have these safe spaces.

      That's an increase in funding, and again, more funding can be done. I'm not saying that this is the say-all, be‑all. But the reality is, is there was a sig­ni­fi­cant increase coming out of the pandemic as well.

      I don't want to go back to the list. I think there's probably another 20 I could lead–list off, but I don't think the member opposite really wants me here to list them all off, or anyone here or–I don't know–[interjection]–you want to, really? Seriously?

      Okay. Well, no; I'm not going to do that. But I am going to talk about that our gov­ern­ment has strengthened com­mu­nities through increased support, and it's evi­dent of the numbers that I'm presenting today and what we have done.

      I also want to em­pha­size that con­sul­ta­tion is ongoing. It's not we're sitting here saying that it is–we have all the answers and this is what it is. I'm proud to say that my colleague, the MLA from Brandon East–and I think this is really im­por­tant to note–that we have done survey focus groups with rural and northern libraries and they were just completed as of April 17th, 2023.

      So, we are having ongoing con­sul­ta­tion dialogue with libraries and this is im­por­tant to know that this was rural and northern libraries, that the MLA from Brandon East led these con­sul­ta­tions to hear what rural and northern libraries are saying so we can put together a plan moving forward on how we can support these key sectors.

      I also want to point out that there was another meeting–were completed on May 5th, and those meetings included meetings with the Manitoba Library Association, the Association of Manitoba Munici­palities, the Association of Manitoba Bilingual Munici­palities and the Public Library Advisory Board.

      Con­sul­ta­tion with stake­holders is im­por­tant. Listen­ing to people is im­por­tant. As gov­ern­ment we have to do that. As a minister my door is always open, welcoming for anyone to come in and talk to me about how we can help them and support them, and I'm proud of the steps that our gov­ern­ment is making in supporting libraries across this province.

Mr. Josh Guenter, Acting Speaker, in the Chair

      Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Lathlin: On page 19 of the Estimates book it states that the de­part­ment is con­sid­ering, quote, 'moderization' of the public library funding and policy structure. End quote.

      Can the minister explain what exactly this means?

Mr. Khan: I want to thank the member opposite for the question.

      And, again, I touched on this in the last minute and a half of my last question, so I'll just go back to what I had reiterated in the last question, and I'll add some more infor­ma­tion and clarity just to further em­pha­size how–the work our gov­ern­ment is doing.

      So, the–I believe the question was in related to public library modernization and what we're doing. So, again, as I had stated, we are consulting with library com­mu­nities to better understand their needs and consider how we might be more responsive to them.

      I had mentioned that the member from Brandon East had led these conversations, and I'm so proud of the great work he has done with them, selflessly serving, you know.

      In late evenings, meeting with these focus groups, early mornings with them, to really understand them and focus surveys with them–the rural and northern libraries, as well. So, those were completed on April 17th, 2023.

      So, we are meeting with these organi­zations and libraries to understand what is needed to help them as we modernize for the future.

      Whenever–so, further to that, under­standing that there are financial pressures on libraries. And accord­ing to the previous funding support, as a result of the 2021 census data, there would have been a potential decrease in funding to some libraries, and we don't want to see that happen.

      So, as a gov­ern­ment, we don't want to see that happen. This–it's been tough coming out of the pandemic. So, there was an ad­di­tional up to $277,000 in prov­incial grant funding for supports.

      This is what we're hearing from them: these libraries need support, they need financial supports to help them modernize, and that's what we're doing. We're listening to them.

      We have met with stake­holders–again, I men­tioned in the last question, Manitoba Library Association, Association of Manitoba Munici­palities, Association of Manitoba Bilingual Munici­palities, Public Library Advisory Board.

      Along with dialogue with the City of Winnipeg with MR through the munici­pal funding fiscal trans­par­ency and account­ability subcommittee table. Currently organizing meetings with Winnipeg's Commu­nity Services De­part­ment and Winnipeg Public Library manage­ment.

* (16:10)

      So, we are taking the steps to understand the needs and pressures and strains put on libraries and their funding.

      Responses to the public library sector and key sector stake­holders on the new funding model have been over­whelmingly positive. Parti­ci­pants recog­nize the issues with the existing regula­tions and have ap­pre­ciated the op­por­tun­ity to provide input for policy con­sid­era­tion. They have expressed their joy and support in the increase in funding when there could have been a decrease due to the funding models set up on the census, with the decrease in popu­la­tion from 2021.

      So, these are all things we're hearing from sectors and how we're helping them modernize.

      If the member, you know, goes on to read, on page 19, it clearly lays out some of the steps done through how the modernization will be done, through collecting public and sector con­sul­ta­tion, 'jurisdisinal'–juris­dic­tional scans, other research and analysis to consider modernization of public library funding and policy.

      I mean, I don't need to read the whole paragraph there, but the member can see it. Those are some of the steps we are taking to work with libraries on modernizing them and supporting them as we come, you know, a year now, or–pandemic, I think, was just officially declared over this week or last week.

      So, these are some of the steps we are doing as a gov­ern­ment to support them. Many, many more fund­ing here on these tables I could list off, but I think we get the idea of where our gov­ern­ment is at when it comes to funding and supporting libraries.

      Thank you very much for the question.

Ms. Lathlin: The de­part­ment has set a goal of doubling the number of Indigenous owned and operated busi­nesses within the tourism sector this year.

      How is the de­part­ment planning on doing this? Is there funding set aside to help Indigenous busi­nesses, and how much?

Mr. Khan: Again, I want to thank the member oppo­site for just another fantastic question to just high­light some of the work we're doing in this de­part­ment.

      So, the question was in regards to Indigenous tourism, and how we are supporting Indigenous tourism and the growth within the Indigenous tourism in this province. So, a little history to back up and I'll kind of bring home the point of where we're going and our support, and our–again, another historic invest­ment by our gov­ern­ment.

      So, in 2017 Travel Manitoba and ITAC, that is the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, esta­blished a three-year MOU to foster growth of the Indigenous tourism sector in the province. That was in 2017.

      In April of 2021, the MOU was renewed and will be in effect for three more years, ending on March 31st, 2024. The renewed MOU also includes the newly formed Indigenous Tourism Manitoba, ITM, as a strategic partner and signatory.

      An updated strategy was launched in 2021 which reflects the significant progress made since the 2019 strategy. So, we can see that there's been ongoing work being done with ITAC, being done with ITM, with Travel Manitoba, and our gov­ern­ment has been proud to walk alongside with them as this strategy has evolved.

      The industry need for COVID recovery in further alignment with updated Manitoba Tourism Strategy. So, the updated strategy was developed in part­ner­ship, again, with ITAC, and ITM and Travel Manitoba, where there was a commit­ment of $500,000 in funding in support of that strategy over a three-year period.

      But wait, it gets better, Mr. Chair. The target of the updated strategies–it goes through the targets of stabilizing recovery of Indigenous tourism busi­nesses in Manitoba, to return to 2019 em­ploy­ment and GDP levels by 2025–and I believe they are ahead of schedule when it comes to 2025–and align tourism train­ing programs to meet the specific needs of Indigenous busi­nesses on an annual basis.

      So, it's im­por­tant to high­light that these programs, and this invest­ment of $500,000, is spe­cific­ally targeted to the Indigenous tourism sector. Since that strategy launched, Travel Manitoba has provided $300,000 of the $500,000 in committed funding; in addition, in the 2021, '22-23 fiscal year, and then–sorry, this one here.

      And we fast-forward to now this year of '23. As the Minister, I was honoured. One of my first events was to attend the Inter­national Indigenous Tourism Conference here–held right here in Manitoba, where there was over 1,000 delegates; 1,000 delegates came from across Canada, and I believe I met some people from the states as well that were up here, Mr. Chair, to better understand, get involved, find out how they can support and grow the Indigenous tourism strategy and component of tourism, high­lighting that.

      And I was proud at that conference our gov­ern­ment was–announced an ad­di­tional $451,000 over two years to the–Indigenous Tourism Manitoba, to increase Indigenous tourism, products and experiences–market and promote tourism busi­nesses and foster increased col­lab­o­ration and leadership specific to the Indigenous tourism sector.

      It was great. As one of my, you know, earlier events, and a big an­nounce­ment as a minister, and the over­whelming joy we–I saw on people's faces when they heard that and they saw that our gov­ern­ment is proud to support this vibrant, growing sector of our province.

      Not only for economics, but also from an edu­ca­tion and under­standing and, you know, a truth and recon­ciliation component of that. So, it was really wonderful to be a part of that an­nounce­ment.

* (16:20)

      Travel Manitoba is also actively supporting the growth of Indigenous tourism through their Indigenous Tourism Strategy, which I high­lighted in the opening. So, the full circle of where it's come from, in 2017, through the pandemic, through the growth, through the ad­di­tional invest­ments and support by our gov­ern­ment to support Indigenous tourism.

      So, with all of these invest­ments, we do believe that this will significantly increase the Indigenous tourism sector, thus increasing jobs, training, awareness and all the other great things that come along with that.

      Due to the time, I will have to stop talking.

Ms. Lathlin: How is this gov­ern­ment looking at increasing tourism in northern Manitoba, such as–we had a Look North office at Otineka Mall on OCN. Every time I passed by there, the doors were shut and locked. Didn't see any employees in there, so I always figured it was just window dressing, and now it's no longer there.

      So, what happened to that strategy to increase tourism in northern Manitoba?

Mr. Khan: So, I missed the name of the place, sorry–maybe afterwards if you can write it down on a sticky note or some­thing and give it to me, I'd love to look into that and see what's going on there. I didn't even hear the town or the city you mentioned, so if I'll get that info from you, it'd be great.

      You know, to high­light the tourism strategy, the northern tourism strategy, so, Travel Manitoba, within their tourism strategy to promote northern lights as a third season for travel to Churchill.

      And I have had, as the minister, sig­ni­fi­cant dialogue in meetings with people and busi­nesses in Churchill and how we can help them promote their northern lights as a third season for travel to Churchill.

      There is a–develop a munici­pal advocacy toolkit to assist com­mu­nities in building a case for greater invest­ment in local tourism in the North; develop an inventory of tourism products and assess export readiness in key op­por­tun­ity areas such as Indigenous, francophone, water-based experiences, attractions; and winter–develop winter tourism.

      I think it's vital that we realize as a province, we're not Mexico, we're not Florida. We are Winnipeg, we are friendly Manitoba and we are proud of that.

      I spoke at the inter­national Winter Cities Conference in Winnipeg that was hosted in February 2023. Again, just a great honour to speak at these events, and people from all over Canada and in the States came here. And the theme was that we are proud of our winter. We are proud of our winter excursions and what the North has to offer here.

      So now, it's about developing those winter tourism plans for key op­por­tun­ities for people to go to the North and visit these areas. Key op­por­tun­ity areas including ice fishing, snowmobiling; again, we men­tion the northern lights, polar bears and whatnot. Partner with Indigenous Tourism Manitoba and Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to increase the number of Indigenous markets and export-ready busi­nesses in the North.

      Now, this is all a strategy. Strategies don't happen over­night. We just–as much as we would love to think that, hey, let's get this done and let's get going and let's get people, you know, here, and let's support this sector, they take time to develop their strategies.

      And that's why this has been strategies for years in the works and then the COVID happened. And then now we're coming out of COVID and our gov­ern­ment realized that another invest­ment was needed, and we proudly we did that with a $440,000 invest­ment in that sector.

      So, these are strategies. This is what's high­lighted in the strategy, and to the member's–opposite–ques­tion of what are we doing? Well, this is exactly what we're doing. 

      We are promoting the North. We are creating Indigenous tourism and Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to Indigenous markets, to export-ready busi­nesses in the North, to develop a plan for key op­por­tun­ities in the North.

      When we look at advancing winter tourism, that's what it is. We're Winnipeg. We love the snow. If you don't love the snow, Winnipeg's not for you. And mosquitoes, although mosquitoes have been good the last couple years.

      In 2022, more great infor­ma­tion coming out. Travel Manitoba supported 26 winter experiences, including skate trail dev­elop­ment, rental cabin winterization, over­night fishing experiences, ice bike rentals, winter light events, snow recreation activities and more.

      These are all initiatives, packages that are going to high­light the great work that Travel Manitoba is doing to high­light our northern strategy for tourism.

      When we look at the trappers'–Northern Manitoba Trappers' Festival, a grant that was from this de­part­ment–and I know it's come up here numer­ous times in the House. There were some questions or, I believe, statements on the Northern Manitoba Trappers' Festival–$25,000.

      Funding assures that Northern Manitoba Trappers' Festival continues as a major tourism event in Manitoba. I'm sure there are others in the hundreds of applications that came through the de­part­ment. Or approvals that came through the de­part­ment for the Arts, Culture and Sport in Com­mu­nity Fund; that's just another example where organi­zations can apply for funding, and our gov­ern­ment would support those if they went through the require­ments and went through the vetting and whatnot.

      We did see that program was oversubscribed because there was such a demand for it; some­thing that had never been done before in this province. I look forward, as we review the second intake now, to see more northern experiences come through, and support that growing, vibrant sector and com­mu­nities of the North here in Manitoba.

Ms. Lathlin: What happened to that Look North strategy office that used to be in the mall at OCN? Are there any offices in the North pertaining to the Look North strategy anymore?

* (16:30)

Mr. Khan: Ap­pre­ciate that acknowledgment.

      The looking north strategy–so that–from what I understand, that was not developed within this de­part­ment. That was another de­part­ment that had that strategy, so I can't comment on what that was or what the results are on that and where that went.

      So, we're not aware of that within here. I–as the new minister, sorry, I'm not aware of that here. [interjection] Yes, I mean, we can–I will take it under ad­vise­ment to see where that strategy is, and we can get back to you on where that is and what de­part­ment that sits in. It may have been EDIT or another de­part­ment, but it wasn't sports, culture, heritage.

Ms. Lathlin: It does pertain to tourism, so, yes, I would like to have that answer–I remember it was under economy, yes. So, I would like that answer because, you know, it just doesn't make any sense why that office was removed, like it was ever useful, you know.

      But, anyway, my next subject is, is the de­part­ment looking at drafting a framework to protect youth in sport from potential abuse?

Mr. Khan: Again, I want to thank the member oppo­site for bringing up a very, very im­por­tant area within this de­part­ment, and that's safe sports, the safety of kids.

      So, you know, I want to thank–start off by thank­ing all the coaches, all the volunteers, all the parents who have put so much time and effort in provi­ding a safe space for kids to play in, to grow, to nurture their not only athletic ability but also just their spirit, their leadership, their com­muni­cation, their teamwork.

      Sports–and it's no secret to anyone in here, I absolutely love sports. I love the arts. I won't get into my art story, that's for another day. As my deputy minister knows, I love sharing that story.

      But I think they have such an im­por­tant place to play. And I want to thank the coaches and the parents and the volunteers.

      And I also want to thank the survivors that have come forward to high­light–or, to sadly high­light in­cidences of maltreatment in sports and how we need to do better as a society. We need to protect these kids, and I'm proud of the work that our gov­ern­ment is doing to high­light that. Our gov­ern­ment understands that having a safe sport environ­ment is key to a positive and rewarding sporting ex­per­ience.

      Whether it be as a volunteer, an athlete, a coach, official, a spectator or athlete, sport contributes to the well-being of our com­mu­nities; there's no argument there. And a lot of these kids and athletes go on to be future leaders in our com­mu­nities in whatever sector they are.

      In May of 2022, our gov­ern­ment announced an ad­di­tional invest­ment of $250,000 towards Sport Manitoba Safe Sport strategy. And this is, again, another historic invest­ment. And I think I've used that word more than anything else today is historic, because that is what our gov­ern­ment has done.

      Whether it comes to library funding, whether it comes to the ACSC funding, whether it comes to the arts sector grant funding and now with maltreatment of athletes in sports.

      So, $250,000–never been done before in this province, to invest to support the Safe Sport hotline and other sport mechanisms, training and resources to facilitate better policies and understand how to prevent and address maltreatment, including public awareness campaign.

      And I can't wait to share some of the data with you. Again, I wish I had ten minutes to stalk, instead of just five, about all the great things we are doing to address the maltreatment in sports.

      So, when you look at that–the $250,000 con­tri­bu­tion, it's–break it down here a little bit. So, the Safe Sport media campaign was $100,000. The REES-Football Manitoba pilot project, which was the respect, edu­ca­tion, em­powering­ survivors; it was an online plat­form used to report incidences of maltreatment to the northern Indigenous com­mu­nity projects for $40,000.

      Rural com­mu­nity survey–you got to get infor­ma­tion; you have to have–get data. Safe Sport cham­pion­ship–Champions was $40,000. Sport Culture Index–$7,500 was the–athletes and coaches Sport Culture Index was $2,500. Training and resources–$26,500. All for $250,000 invest­ment to help protect our kids, our future leaders and, you know, athletes, when it comes to athletics.

      And I high­light this $250,000 an­nounce­ment because I had the pleasure of attending an FPT–my first FPT a couple weeks of being–as a minister in PEI. And we had our discussions, and maltreatment of athletes in sports was a big con­ver­sa­tion.

      And when Manitoba had the op­por­tun­ity–when I had the op­por­tun­ity to get up and stand and talk about the work we are doing, other ministers were blown away by the third-party mechanism that we're already developing. And that is a three-pronged approach, which plays in with this invest­ment by our gov­ern­ment, but it has a Safe Sport hotline, it has a Safe Sport law resource for them, counselling.

      So, we are developing a third-party mechanism. And we had committed–at that FPT, every province had committed to having a third-party mechanism by the end of this year.

      And it's great that, since then, I've had ongoing dialogue with ministers across Canada discussing the third-party mechanism, sharing how they're doing it, how we're doing it. And Manitoba is well ahead of the curve when it comes to developing that.

      I will also would, in 14 seconds, say that I've had numer­ous con­ver­sa­tions with them–federal minister on this as well, and Minister St-Onge is very impressed and happy with the progress we are making. And we will continue to work towards that third-party mechanism by December of this year.

      Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Lathlin: We know that the Archives of Manitoba building is pretty old. I spent sig­ni­fi­cant time in that building when I worked for Indian and northern affairs Canada on a major billion-dollar land claim. Beautiful space to be.

      And so, my question is: Why was funding for the Archives of Manitoba cut by $37,000 this year?

* (16:40)

Mr. Khan: I apologize for a little bit more delay on that. The question with the archive was literally dug deep into the archive of all these books and papers I have spread out, so it took me a while to dig it out.

      Great question by the member opposite. So, MIRA–I'd mentioned that in my opening remarks, and I'll talk a little bit about that. So, MIRA is the record modernization of our archives. It's some­thing that is much needed in this province and hasn't been done, but as we start to go to more of a digital world and future, the integrity of these records is deteriorating, so there is a 'digititaze'–'digidi'–you know what I mean–digitization. I got it. So, continues to work with Manitoba infor­ma­tion and records tech­no­lo­gy project.

      So, what does that all say? It's modernization of records.

      So, to the member's question, in 2022 and '23, there was $153,000 that was budgeted, but it was a non‑reoccurring expense for the MIRA project. So, that was a one-time, approximately $153,000 budgeted for a non-recurring scope for the MIRA project.

      So, once that scope was set in the scoping phase for the MIRA project, that funding was no longer needed because it was a non-recurring expense, scoping was done. MIRA project has now been commenced. So, that is why there shows a slight decrease within that non-recurring expense. Happens all the time on financial statements as you review them. And once the scoping was done, that is now over.

      So, the project has now moved into the imple­men­ta­tion phase of MIRA, so it's exciting to say that in March of 2023, that the contract was tendered for re­place­ment of the system, and it was awarded to OpenText Cor­por­ation in March, and happy to report that that imple­men­ta­tion will begin within this fiscal year.

      So, it's exciting to see that we are finally heading to the modern age of 'digiti'–you know what I mean–of our records. Another thing to point out for financial purposes is that imple­men­ta­tion will be capitalized. So it's im­por­tant to note that that expense will be capitalized for the MIRA project.

      I could go on and on about what the MIRA project is, how it's going to be implementated–but I think we understand where the financial–why there was a slight decrease in there for a non-reoccurring expense.

Ms. Lathlin: Thank you for your answer there, Minister.

      Now I have a very im­por­tant motion to bring forward. [interjection] No.

* (16:50)

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): The hon­our­able critic.

Ms. Lathlin: I'm done with my questions, and listening to our minister's five-minute answers.

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): Thank you.

      So, seeing no further questions, we will now turn to the reso­lu­tions, begin­ning with the second reso­lu­tion as we have deferred con­sid­era­tion of the first reso­lu­tion containing the minister's salary.

      For the infor­ma­tion of the committee, there are no monies allocated for the reso­lu­tion 14.4 this year, so there doesn't need to be a vote; the infor­ma­tion was included in the books to reflect change from last year.

      Reso­lu­tion 14.2: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $56,496,000 for Sport, Culture and Heritage, Culture and Sport Programs, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      Reso­lu­tion 14.3: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $2,811,000 for Sport, Culture and Heritage, Infor­ma­tion Resources, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      The last item to be considered for the Estimates of this de­part­ment is item 14.1(a), the minister's salary, contained in reso­lu­tion 14.1. At this point, we request that all min­is­terial and op­posi­tion staff leave the Chamber for the con­sid­era­tion of this last item.

      The floor is open for questions. [interjection] The floor is open for questions.

Ms. Lathlin: Okay.

      I move that line item 14.1(a) be amended so that the minister of port–sport, culture and 'heriches' 'salay' be–salary be reduced to $21,000.

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): It has been moved by the hon­our­able member for The Pas-Kameesak that line item 14.1(a) be amended so that the Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage salary be reduced to $21,000.

      The motion is in order.

      Are there any questions or comments on the motion?

      Seeing none, the question before the com­mit­tee is the motion moved. All those in favour of the motion, please say yea–[interjection]

      Shall the–is the com­mit­tee ready for the question?

Some Honourable Members: Question.

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): Shall the motion pass?

Some Honourable Members: Yes.

Some Honourable Members: No.

Voice Vote

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members: Yea.

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): All those opposed to the motion, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members: Nay.

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): In my opinion, the Nays have it.

      The motion is accordingly defeated.

* * *

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): The last reso­lu­tion for–before us is:

      Reso­lu­tion 14.1: RESOLVED that there be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding $22,234,000 for Sport, Culture and Heritage, Adminis­tra­tion and Finance, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2024.

Resolution agreed to.

      All right. This completes the Estimates of the Depart­ment of Sport, Culture and Heritage.

      What is the will of this com­mit­tee?

Hon. Derek Johnson (Minister of Agriculture): Com­mit­tee rise. [interjection] Recess.

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): All right. [interjection]

Mr. Johnson: Com­mit­tee recess.

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): Is there a will for the com­mit­tee to take a brief recess? [Agreed]

      All right. The com­mit­tee is in recess.

The committee recessed at 4:55 p.m.


The committee resumed at 5 p.m.

The Acting Chairperson (Josh Guenter): Will the Com­mit­tee of Supply please come to order.

      The hour being 5 o'clock, com­mit­tee rise.

      Call in the Speaker.


The Acting Speaker (Josh Guenter): The hour being 5 o'clock, this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 11:30 p.m. tomorrow–1:30 p.m. tomorrow.





Tuesday, May 9, 2023


Vol. 51b


Introduction of Bills

Bill 241–The Mandatory Training for Provincial Employees (Systemic Racism and Human Rights) Act

Moses 2119

Committee Reports

Standing Committee on Social and Economic Development

Fourth Report

Helwer 2119

Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs

Fifth Report

Isleifson  2120

Tabling of Reports

Goertzen  2121

Ministerial Statements

Community Foundation Day

A. Smith  2121

Naylor 2122

Lamoureux  2122

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

Gordon  2123

Asagwara  2123

Gerrard  2124

Members' Statements

Phil, Marilyn, Jack and Julia Snarr

Reyes 2124

Strathcona School

B. Smith  2125

Builders' Liens Amendment Act

Helwer 2125

Team Clam

Brar 2126

Non-Disclosure Agreements

Lamont 2126

Oral Questions

Management of Health-Care System

Kinew   2127

Stefanson  2127

Education Property Tax Credit

Kinew   2128

Stefanson  2128

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program

Asagwara  2129

Squires 2129

Project Nova Budget

Wiebe  2130

Goertzen  2131

Political Ad Campaign Funding

Sala  2131

Cullen  2132

Drug Overdose Death Reporting

B. Smith  2132

Morley-Lecomte  2132

Safe Consumption Site

B. Smith  2133

Morley-Lecomte  2133

The Link Youth and Family Supports Centre

Lamont 2133

Squires 2133

Funding Support for Hearing Aids

Gerrard  2134

Johnston  2134

Public Safety Initiatives

Isleifson  2134

Goertzen  2135

Thompson Aquatic Centre

Redhead  2135

Cullen  2135


Health-Care Coverage

Altomare  2135

Diagnostic Testing Accessibility

Maloway  2136

Foot-Care Services

Redhead  2136

Drug Overdose Reporting

B. Smith  2137




Committee of Supply

(Concurrent Sections)

Room 254

Mental Health and Community Wellness

B. Smith  2138

Morley-Lecomte  2138

Asagwara  2139

Room 255

Municipal Relations

Naylor 2148

A. Smith  2148

Gerrard  2157


Sport, Culture and Heritage

Khan  2159

Lathlin  2161