News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

September 15, 2020


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Province Awards Tender for Development of Outdoor, All-Season Visitation Shelters: Friesen and Helwer

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The Manitoba government has awarded a construction tender to Manitoba-based PCL Constructors Canada Inc. for the development and construction of all-season shelters at personal care homes (PCH) to allow residents to safely visit with loved ones, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen and Central Services Minister Reg Helwer announced today.
“Our government recognized the suspension of visiting privileges at care homes due to COVID-19 put a tremendous strain on families,” said Friesen. “While we acted quickly to restore visits in the spring, it was clear that a more comprehensive strategy would be necessary to facilitate visits with the approaching influenza season and the potential for of a second wave of COVID-19.”
A total of $17.9 million is being invested in visitation shelters consisting of single-use shipping containers repurposed and fitted-out for a completely finished visiting facility. Each unit will have a visiting room with space for one resident and up to five visitors. Visitors will enter the visiting room from the outside of the personal care home, while an enclosed link will ensure residents have direct access from the personal care home. Electrical and mechanical systems have been designed to ensure each shelter is functional all year round. In keeping with public health guidelines, systems will be in place to provide required air changes and interior finishes will allow easy cleaning.   
“After a competitive procurement process and rigorous evaluation, we are very pleased with the results and PCL’s innovative design,” said Helwer. “We are working with PCL as a partner to help Manitobans safely visit loved ones in personal care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
All Canadians were devastated by the over 7,000 COVID-related deaths in long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario. Manitobans recently had a reminder of the risks of COVID in PCHs as cases were reported at certain facilities, Friesen said. Manitoba’s PCHs continue to have extensive precautions in place to protect vulnerable residents, including strict visitor restrictions, enhanced screening for staff and the implementation of a one-site staffing model at personal care homes, he added.
“While there was no choice but to close PCHs at the start of the pandemic, every effort is being made to maintain access between residents and loved ones,” said Friesen. “These all-season shelters will ensure these much-needed visits can continue uninterrupted, while keeping PCH residents and visitors safe.” 
Helwer noted the outdoor shelters are expected to be operational by November. In addition to the outdoor shelters, work continues to develop indoor visitation rooms at some sites where visitors can easily access the space from outside the personal care home and maintain the same public health requirements as the outdoor shelters. 
For more information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, including the most recent changes to the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System, visit
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