News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

September 8, 2021


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Partnership will Reduce Risk of Heart Disease among Women, Increase Physical Activity Levels: Gordon

The Manitoba government is launching a social impact bond dedicated to supporting women’s heart health, Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

“Women experience heart health differently from men and rates of heart disease in women come at a significant cost to society and the individuals involved,” said Gordon. “Women may not prioritize their own health above the health of others, and signs of heart disease often go unrecognized. Our government’s fourth social impact bond offers a much-needed tailored approach that aims to reduce the risk of heart disease among women in Manitoba and support post-pandemic efforts to increase physical activity levels.”

The goal of the bond is to reduce heart disease risk for women in Manitoba. The Manitoba government will partner with the Reh-Fit Centre and the Victoria General Hospital Foundation (VGHF) on a women’s heart-health social impact bond, beginning in January. Under this model, the VGHF will invest $600,000 over the next three years. This will enable the Reh-Fit Centre to deliver virtual health behavioural mentoring sessions to approximately 400 adult women at risk of heart disease.

Research shows that about 80 per cent of heart attacks can be prevented by being physically active, eating fruits and vegetables and avoiding smoking, noted the minister, and interventions that are evidence-based and target these key risk factors for heart disease can play a strong role in limiting the burden and cost of the disease. Gordon noted circulatory diseases are the leading cause of death and a leading cause of hospitalization in Manitoba, and approximately six per cent of Manitoban women have heart disease.

Success metrics will focus on the number of individuals who participate in an initial assessment to determine program eligibility, the number of individuals who reduce their systolic blood pressure and the number of individuals who increase their participation in physical activity. If all outcomes are met or exceeded, the total maximum payback from the province of Manitoba to VGHF will be $648,000.

“Preventing heart disease risk in women is incredibly important and we know that simple evidence-based interventions, such as increased physical activity and lifestyle coaching, are key to prevention,” said Sue Boreskie, CEO of the Reh-Fit Centre. “We are pleased to be a part of this exciting partnership to help Manitoban women have better heart health now and for years to come.”

Key partnerships have also been established with the Chronic Disease Collaborative at Shared Health and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, which will connect participants to the heart-health program through behavioral mentoring sessions.

“We are proud to partner with the Manitoba government and Reh-Fit Centre to support the heart health of women in our province,” said Nicole Chammartin, executive director, Victoria General Hospital Foundation. “Heart disease is one of the most significant health threats facing Manitoba women today and we are pleased to invest in this vital program designed to help reduce their risk and improve their health and well-being.”

A 2017 study commissioned by Manitoba Health and Seniors Care found the cost of treating individuals with heart disease is six times greater than individuals with general medical needs. A report recently released by Statistics Canada also indicates that in general, adults have decreased their physical activity levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A social impact bond is an innovative social policy tool that brings together government, the private sector, not-for-profits and other stakeholders to deliver effective solutions that are focused on prevention.  Private investment is initially used to fund the programs and is then repaid if social outcomes and cost savings are realized. These types of programs allow the government to explore more innovative solutions while reducing financial risk with the ultimate goal of delivering better outcomes for Manitobans.

This marks Manitoba’s fourth social impact bond. Learn more about social impact bonds at