News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 2, 2020


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Business Groups, Unions, Essential Services Select Program to Compensate Front-line Workers for Risks Taken during COVID-19 Pandemic: Pallister

Based on the consensus of a stakeholder consultation group, the Manitoba government will be distributing $120 million to recognize the risks taken by front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
“Manitoba was the first province to commit to collaborating with the federal government on a cost-sharing program to recognize front-line workers who put their own health at risk to keep others safe and provide crucial services during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pallister. “Our government wanted to hear from Manitobans who they thought was most in most need of this financial assistance, so we consulted the business community, trade and labour unions and essential services to shape the program and determine which positions should be eligible.”
In mid-May, the province announced the $120-million Manitoba Risk Recognition Program and formed a working group with 15 unions, business community leaders and critical service providers to submit feedback that informed five proposals and vote on the final program. Stakeholders selected a program that will provide a one-time, income-tested payment to eligible low-income front-line workers, with consideration given to the added risk due to COVID-19 and interaction with the public including clients, patients and inmates. Eligible public- and private-sector positions include the areas of health care, social services, justice, transportation and essential retail, food and beverage. 
“I want to thank these organizations, representing more than Manitoba 17,000 businesses and 110,000 workers, for providing valuable input and reaching a consensus on how best to administer risk recognition payments,” said Pallister. “Based on their feedback, we will implement a program to recognize and thank workers who played a key role in our provincial pandemic response efforts and made sacrifices in their professional and personal lives to protect all Manitobans, especially those most vulnerable.”
Eligible categories include store shelf stockers, retail salespersons, cashiers, cooks, security guards, light-duty cleaners in retail facilities, early childhood educators, licensed home-based child-care providers, family violence shelter workers, social workers, nurses and nurse practitioners, paramedics, health-care aides, community services workers (including personal care homes, home care, public health, mental health and addictions), direct service workers for adults and children with disabilities, law enforcement (including Winnipeg Police Service, Brandon Police Service and RCMP), correctional officers, long-distance truck drivers and bus drivers.
The payment is available to workers employed on a part-time or full-time basis from March 20 (the start of the provincial state of emergency) until May 29, who either worked a minimum 200 cumulative hours (or would have worked that amount but were required to self-isolate under public health orders). An employee’s total pre-tax employment income during the eligibility period must be less than $6,250 ($2,500 per month for 2.5 months) and they cannot be enrolled in the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
The full list of eligible positions and organizations is available at Online applications will be accepted starting Wednesday, June 3. The application deadline is June 18 and the province will issue payments via direct deposit once it verifies applications.
The province will fully distribute the $120-million fund, which will be equally divided between the successful applicants. Individual amounts will be determined by the total number of participants. 
“The $120 million is substantial and will have a meaningful impact on the lives of many Manitobans,” said John Graham of the Retail Council of Canada. “The process of including public and private-sector unions and other private-sector associations in these discussions should be recognized and we appreciate the government’s sincere efforts to facilitate consensus around the eligibility criteria for the risk recognition program.”  
“Manitoba’s child-care sector has been an essential part of our province’s response to this unprecedented public health crisis, providing necessary care to the children of workers on the frontline fighting this pandemic,” said Jodie Kehl, executive director, Manitoba Child Care Association. “We appreciate the province recognizing that our early childhood educators, child-care assistants and home-based providers have been exposed to greater risk during this time and providing them with this important payment.”
The province thanks the following groups for participating in the consultation and confidential voting process:
Abilities Manitoba,
Business Council of Manitoba,
Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers,
Canadian Federation of Independent Business,
Christian Labour Association of Canada,
Canadian Union of Public Employees,
Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals,
Manitoba Chamber of Commerce,
Manitoba Child Care Association Inc.,
Manitoba Nurses Union,
Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union,
Retail Council of Manitoba,
United Food and Commercial Workers, and
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.
A comprehensive list of Manitoba government COVID-19 measures can be found at:
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