News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

July 9, 2024

Manitoba Government Announces Downtown Safety Action Plan

The Manitoba government is enhancing public safety and well-being in Winnipeg by implementing a downtown safety action plan, Premier Wab Kinew announced today.

“Our team is listening to people and businesses who’ve shared their ideas on how to make Winnipeg’s downtown safer and what approaches they feel are working,” said Kinew. “This action plan would not be possible without the work of our partners at the city and the groups on the ground who work to make our communities safer. When we work together, we can help ensure Winnipeg’s downtown is a place for everyone to enjoy.”

The Manitoba government is providing nearly $1.5 million in 2024-25 to support initiatives that together form a comprehensive downtown safety action plan. These initiatives include:

  • expanded support for the Downtown Community Safety Partnership (DCSP) this summer to increase the organization’s visibility downtown ($435, 672). This funding will be strengthened by partnerships with the Mayor of Winnipeg’s office (contributing $100,000) and Downtown Winnipeg BIZ (contributing $50,000);
  • increased support for mental health training for downtown partners who provide mental health and well-being services ($100,000); and
  • the establishment of a sobering centre in N’Dinawemak – Our Relatives’ Place at 190 Disraeli Fwy. (up to $1,063,000).

Funding for N’Dinawemak will support new health and mental health positions at the sobering centre, as well as associated capital improvements. The space is expected to immediately begin providing services. Services will include case management, health system navigation and paramedic services. As renovations are completed, services will be scaled up.

“N’Dinawemak is excited to continue to work with the Manitoba government to deliver services that directly respond to the needs of our relatives,” said Frank Parkes, executive director, N’Dinawemak. “Today’s announcement to continue to invest in much needed additional health and mental health resources and supports at N’dinawemak will undoubtably improve relative care and wellbeing at the shelter. We look forward to working with the province in the delivery and facilitation of these additional supports.”

“Ensuring downtown is a safe place for everyone demands the commitment of all levels of government and community partners working together,” said Mayor Scott Gillingham, City of Winnipeg. “The Downtown BIZ and DCSP have been strong leaders on this file, and I’m pleased to collaborate with the Manitoba government to provide additional patrol resources and support services for people in need. Together, we are taking decisive actions to make our downtown safer and more secure for everyone.”

In addition, the Downtown Community Safety Partnership, has introduced a new integrated system with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) that allows the two organizations to co-ordinate calls through shared radio systems and computer-aided dispatch. This allows enables the two organizations to communicate on the same radio frequency to dispatch the right response at the right time.

“We appreciate the important dialogue and collaborative efforts to create a safer and more welcoming downtown,” said Kate Fenske, CEO, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “We know the results of long-term efforts will take time and we are grateful for the immediate action taken to address the concerns of our downtown businesses community this summer.”

This is a first-of-its-kind partnership in Canada between an outreach organization and an emergency service provider.

In many circumstances, some community members do not require emergency assistance from the WFPS but should receive other supports.

“The DCSP is grateful for the support provided by the Province of Manitoba. This will allow our DCSP team members, working in collaboration with our community partners, to enhance our presence and visibility with our ongoing goal of a safer and healthier downtown for everyone,” said Greg Burnett, executive director, DCSP. “Our dispatch collaboration with the WFPS is already showing positive results. Building on this initiative allows us to further extend coordination and assist in getting the community the right resources at the right time.”

The downtown safety action plan builds on feedback received at the public safety summit hosted by the Manitoba government in April, which was attended by over 300 individuals representing youth advocates, the business community, law enforcement, mental health professions and more. The plan forms the basis of a comprehensive safety strategy, which is currently under development.

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