News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 17, 2023

Manitoba Government Invests Over $123 Million in Nine Initiatives to Retain and Recruit Nurses

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Building Health Human Resource Capacity Strengthens Health-Care System: Gordon

The Manitoba government is investing over $123 million in nine initiatives to retain, recruit and support nurses building on its commitment to end mandated overtime and add 2,000 health-care professionals through the Health Human Resource Action Plan, Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

“Nurses are an incredibly valued member of the health-care workforce who provide critical services under sometimes extraordinary pressures,” said Gordon. “These incentives improve nurse staffing where there are high demands and needs in the health-care system such as weekend coverage. We are already beginning to see positive results from these strategic investments and I want to assure all of Manitoba’s health-care providers that more supports are on the way as the Health Human Resource Action Plan is rolled out.”

The minister noted incentives for nurses include:

  • a new hourly premium for nurses who work weekend hours;
  • a new annual payment for nurses who hold the equivalent of a full-time position, as this helps to build more stability in the workforce;
  • reimbursing the costs of nurses’ professional licensing fees;
  • an annual incentive for nurses who are eligible to retire but choose to remain in the workforce for up to an additional two years, to retain valued expertise and build capacity as new nurses are recruited into the workforce;
  • an incentive for nurses who have previously left the profession but choose to return to the workforce;
  • a new refer-a-nurse program for current nurses who refer a prospective nurse to a Manitoba employer;
  • a provincial float pool to support nurse staffing needs across the province;
  • a travel nurse incentive which will provide an additional hourly premium for nurses who travel to work in remote locations; and
  • a wellness incentive, which adds additional funds to the health spending accounts of full and part-time nurses to help to cover the costs of eligible expenses.

“The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is experiencing higher staff vacancies as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic as is the case across Canada,” said Mike Nader, president and chief executive officer, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. “We are beginning to see positive uptake on these new incentives. We thank the Manitoba government for this significant investment in support of the recruitment and retention of nurses in Winnipeg.

The minister noted that supporting the health and wellness of nurses who are providing care to others is a priority and the new wellness incentive is one of several projects underway to improve the work environment, safety and well-being of all nurses in Manitoba. The Manitoba government is consulting with stakeholders, including the Manitoba Nurses Union, to design additional programs to support the well-being of nurses, including mentorship and peer support, with more details to be provided when finalized.

“We view this announcement as a very necessary and positive step in addressing the significant recruitment and retention issues for Manitoba’s nurses,” said Darlene Jackson, president, Manitoba Nurses Union. “We will always work diligently and share our ideas and approaches to get our health-care system back to where it needs to be. Nurses are problem solvers and we are anxious to develop and see the implementation of further effective measures for all nurses to solve the many challenges of our nursing human resource crisis.”

These programs and incentives are part of the Health Human Resource Action Plan, which launched in November 2022 with a commitment to add 2,000 health-care providers, invest $200 million to retain, train and recruit health-care staff across the province, and eliminate mandated overtime. Since that time, more than 330 new health-care providers have been hired including nurses, health-care aides, physicians and other staff who provide bedside care.

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