News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 13, 2022


The Manitoba government is committing $450,000 to develop and deliver a Shelter Support Foundations micro-credential training program that will alleviate the chronic staff shortages at family violence and homeless shelters, Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, and Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.

“All Manitobans deserve access to a safe place to stay,” said Squires. “As noted in our November 2021 speech from the throne, our government recognizes the need for increased funding for family violence shelters and other key supports. We are also committed to developing a homelessness strategy.”

The Manitoba Status of Women Secretariat has entered into a one-year contribution agreement with the Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters (MAWS) to deliver this pilot program to up to 30 participants. The program will address the sector’s recruitment and retention challenges that have negatively impacted daily shelter operations and client service delivery, noted Squires.

“The Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters is pleased to be working on the Shelter Support Foundations micro-credential training pilot program with the government of Manitoba, provincial family violence (FV) shelters and Homeless Shelters,” said Deena Brook, provincial co-ordinator, Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters. “The FV shelters have struggled for years to attract and retain qualified long-term applicants. The micro-credential program will address this gap and help all shelters to provide consistent frontline services and support to Manitobans in need of refuge.”

MAWS will manage the program’s administration and provide full, wrap-around supports to students. Red River College Polytechnic will develop the curriculum for the five-unit program with the industry knowledge and guidance of MAWS and End Homelessness Winnipeg, and then deliver the training to participants, primarily in an asynchronous learning format.

“During the pandemic, Manitoba along with other Canadian jurisdictions experienced first-hand the efficacy of micro-credential programs in alleviating workforce shortages and addressing training needs amongst staff,” said Cullen. “Manitoba Economic Development, Investment and Trade is committed to supporting training and employment programs that encourage post-COVID economic growth. Funding for these programs is made possible through the Canada-Manitoba Workforce Development Agreement.”

According to agency statistics and anecdotal reports compiled by the Family Violence Prevention Program, family violence and homeless shelters have been facing unprecedented staffing challenges, Squires noted. These challenges further intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the pandemic fuelled an escalation of mental health issues, adverse life circumstances and family violence.

“This pilot program will offer training to up to 30 participants to gain valuable skills needed for employment in family violence and homeless shelters,” said Squires. “As we continue recovering from the pandemic, community supports and a safe place for Manitobans to stay are needed now more than ever.”

Sector staff also identified training needs amongst entry-level shelter staff, specifically the ability to communicate effectively in crisis situations, use conflict resolution skills to solve complex problems and prioritize client needs and facilitate resolutions in a respectful manner.

The Shelter Support Foundations micro-credential program has been developed with both of these considerations, staffing shortages and training needs in mind, with practical and theoretical concepts threaded throughout the curriculum.

- 30 -