Four new programs to get Manitobans off welfare and into work under the Rewarding Work strategy were announced today by Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh and Competitiveness, Training and Trade Minister Jim Rondeau.
“The best anti-poverty measure is a job, especially with so many vacancies in our strong economy,” said Mackintosh. “Rewarding Work sends a strong message that we expect, support and reward work. We are striving to help Manitobans find meaningful employment and become independent of welfare.”
“Manitoba’s vibrant and robust economy needs more skilled workers,” said Rondeau. “Programs like Rewarding Work help bolster our skilled workforce and at the same time provide hope and a viable future for people participating.”
Beginning in November, new programs will be available to help persons with disabilities, single parents and others on welfare find employment:
·Get Ready! – By investing $1,400,000 to enhance training, up to 1,100 recipients will benefit from a new training and education policy to help Manitobans on welfare find permanent work. Based on individual assessments, recipients who have been unsuccessful in finding permanent jobs may be approved to go to school for up to two years (an increase from three months). Single parents and persons with disabilities will be eligible to attend education and training programs including university and other post secondary programs. Others will be eligible to attend employment skills training.
·JobConnections – By investing $850,000, up to 2,800 single parentsreceiving assistance will make use of specialized supports to help them find permanent work. By early in the new year, a 12-person JobConnections team of specialized staff will work with single parents in each region across Manitoba to get them into jobs and independent of welfare. Staff will provide comprehensive assessments, determine needs, develop service plans, monitor and evaluate the services provided to participants. Services will include supportive counselling, links to community resources, financial planning and crisis management. Individualized plans will focus on finding child care, gaining parenting skills, arranging transportation, securing housing and addressing health issues. Staff will work closely with Employment Manitoba and community-based agencies to assist single parents and other income assistance participants to prepare for and secure permanent employment.
·ManitobaWorks – Through Employment Manitoba,the province will initially provide up to $500,000 in wage subsidies to employers across the province. Municipalities and non-profit employers can receive a full minimum wage subsidy for up to a year to hire and train people receiving welfare. Other employers can receive up to 50 per cent of minimum wage to help cover the cost of providing on-the-job training. The goal of Manitoba Works is permanent work with the subsidized employer.
·Rewarding Work allowance – Funding of $2 million will benefit up to 2,500 people with disabilities who currently receive help for work-related costs, such as bus passes. This assistance will be extended to other recipients as an incentive to help them make the transition to work. Those who are employed full-time will receive $100 per month and part-time employees will receive $50 a month to help cover expenses.
“Although welfare rolls may be the lowest in over two decades and child poverty is down by 25 per cent since 1999, the biggest barrier to economic growth is a labour shortage. The time for Rewarding Work is now,” said Mackintosh.
Last April, the province announced Rewarding Work, a four-year, $27-million plan to bring down barriers to employment and help Manitobans on employment and income assistance find employment. The program complements other poverty-fighting measures announced in the last budget including tax changes that benefits 6,000 low-income Manitobans and an enhanced property credit of $125 a year for working low-income renters and homeowners. Other supports for low-income Manitobans include a minimum wage increase to $8 per hour last April and lower child-care costs. More information about Rewarding Work is available at www.gov.mb.ca/rewardingwork.