News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

March 28, 2024

Manitoba Budget Will Implement Plastic Health Cards

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Government Clears Backlog, Cuts Wait Time for New Cards in Half: Premier

Budget 2024 will set aside funding to scope and implement a new plastic health card to replace existing paper health cards, Premier Wab Kinew announced today. 

“It’s 2024 – your health coverage shouldn’t rely on a torn, ripped-up health card,” said Kinew. “Our budget will bring Manitoba into the 21st century with a plastic card and a digital option. It just makes sense. Manitobans have been very vocal about the need to make improvements and we have heard them. Work is already underway and we will deliver the first cards by this time next year.” 

The Manitoba government is actively working to develop and launch a new, modernized card, including plastic and digital options, to replace the existing paper health card. The province expects to be able to deliver on these by next year, noted the premier. The work will be part of a broader investment to move the health-care system away from paper and fax machines and towards electronic patient records. 

After years of stories from Manitobans waiting months and months for a health card to arrive, in October 2023 the government more than doubled staffing capacity to speed-up processing times and eliminate a backlog of more than 24,000 applications, noted the premier. Applicants were waiting several months, despite a provincial service standard of four weeks. The government has committed to a two-week service standard for new health card applications. 

More detail on the material and design of the new plastic card will be shared in the coming months, the premier noted. Part of the development plan will include an option to digitize the card to make it easier for Manitobans to securely carry and use the card they need to access health-care services. 

As part of its effort to make it easier for Manitobans to get a health card, officials will be reviewing the application form to streamline it and make it easier for Manitobans to apply for their first card or make a change to an existing card. The department has opened a hotline and added support staff to help Manitobans work through incomplete applications or ones with errors, and urges anyone who may not have received a card to check for letters, emails or voicemails prompting them to provide a correction. 

Manitobans looking for information about their health card application can call 204-786-7101 or 1-800-392-1207 (toll-free). 

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