Manitoba Budget Analysis

Manitoba’s budget 2010-2011 fits into its five-year economic plan, a plan the Government says will continue to tackle the deficit while they continue to invest in services and to stimulate the economy. The deficit is projected to be $545-million dollars total but on March 23rd 2010, the government announced it believed its news plan would eliminate the deficit by 2014.

The budget includes initiatives to train more doctors and nurses and to limit the increases in pharmacare deductibles. Most of the new spending is in health care and education: more than 90 per cent of new spending in the budget will go to health care and education.

As is common during economic downturns, the government will invest a lot of spending in infrastructure ($1.8 billion increase over 2008). CARP has noted that although investing in infrastructure is necessary, this type of investment mostly creates jobs only for younger men. Given that as part of this infrastructure project the government will be building 1,500 new social housing units and upgrading existing units over the 5 years, CARP would recommend that they be guided by accessibility and a desire to facilitate aging at home.

As their largest spending increase from 2008 is in infrastructure, the department of finance would do well to also create an older workers initiative. To redirect some funds to these new priority areas, the Government will be cutting spending to many departments as well as institutionalizing a salary cut of 20% for cabinet ministers as well as a wage freeze for members of the assembly.

It’s disappointing to note that this budget contains nothing for seniors. The government has managed to articulate a five-year plan that has no vision for the fastest growing segment of the population and the issues that affect them particularly. To Manitoba’s credit they did launch a series of public consultations on pension reform in late March, the outcome of which is yet to be determined. Susan Eng met with the Manitoba Minister of Finance and presented CARP’s proposal for a Universal Pension Plan in person.

To browse the Government’s budget documents, please click Read more

Keywords: budget, labour