News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 1, 2022


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Group of Engineering Firms Secured for Retrofits and Upgrades to Improve Safety for Vulnerable Populations: Gordon and Johnston

The Manitoba government is making progress on a $280-million initiative to enhance fire and life safety at personal care homes, hospitals and health-care facilities, Health Minister Audrey Gordon and Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Scott Johnston announced today.

“These fire and life safety upgrades highlight our government’s commitment to doing all we can to keep all Manitobans and especially vulnerable populations safe from harm – even when undertakings require significant effort and resources,” Gordon said. “We are truly pleased to be making significant progress on this important project.”

As part of the fire and life-safety project led by Shared Health, all hospitals, personal care homes and health centres in Manitoba will have full or partial sprinkler systems installed over the next six to eight years with work prioritized to facilities that benefit most from upgrades. While the pandemic has impacted the timing of some upgrades, progress continues to be made on the initiative with full or partial sprinkler systems now installed in 74 per cent of all health-care and personal care home facilities.

“Vulnerable Manitobans and their loved ones rightfully want to know that we are providing them with the highest level of safety we can,” Johnston said. “While the measures already in place offer substantial protection, we are committed to moving forward with improvements that will enhance safety and minimize risk for residents, patients, staff and visitors across Manitoba.”

Projects currently underway include:

  • sprinkler installations or retrofits at Victoria General Hospital in Winnipeg and on the Health Sciences Centre (HSC) campus at 735 Notre Dame Ave., the site of the former Women’s Hospital;
  • sprinkler installations at facilities in Arborg, Whitemouth, Carman and Gladstone;
  • fire separations in the Minnedosa Health Centre and Ste. Rose General Hospital; and
  • alarm repairs and upgrades at facilities in Reston, Erickson, Souris, Elkhorn, Deloraine, Virden, Arborg, Fisher Branch, Oakbank, Flin Flon and Winkler, as well as HSC, St. Boniface Hospital, Seven Oaks Hospital and Holy Family Home in Winnipeg.

Shared Health signed a multi-year agreement in December 2021 with a group of engineering firms to help manage upgrades to ensure an appropriately high level of fire prevention and safety measures are in place at 193 health-care facilities across the province.

The group, collectively known as Project Engineering and Management Services (PEMS), includes SMS Engineering along with other sub-specialty consultants. PEMS is tasked with ensuring work is completed in compliance with provincial standards set by Shared Health and in order of priority following the recommendations of RJ Bartlett Engineering, an independent third-party fire and life safety engineering firm.

The hiring of PEMS follows initiatives that began in 2014, following a tragic fire at a seniors’ residence in L’Isle-Verte, Que.



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