Manitoba to budget $1.2 billion to fight COVID-19 in 2021

Click to play video: 'Manitoba budget 2021: a preview' Manitoba budget 2021: a preview
The province say its 2021 budget will largely focus on the pandemic and recovery efforts, and has given some clues in recent days what to expect. As Global's Marney Blunt explains, experts aren't expecting too many surprises this year.

The Manitoba government says they will spend $1.2 billion to fight the novel coronavirus and its variant over the next fiscal year.

Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Health Minister Heather Stefanson made the announcement Tuesday at Cadham Provincial Laboratory.

“We have budgeted additional amounts for the anticipated costs of protecting Manitobans, such as procuring more personal protective equipment and continuing to deploy the vaccine across the province in the largest immunization campaign in Manitoba history,” said Stefanson.

Read more: Manitoba budget will include $50M to tackle pandemic-related surgery backlog: premier

The full provincial budget will come down Wednesday.

Most of the funding will go to the health care system, the vaccine program, education support and PPE, said Fielding, with $300 million set aside for contingency plans.

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Estimated amounts this fiscal year include:

  • $230 million for personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and vaccine site infrastructure, contact tracing and other preparations as part of the province’s overall public health response;
  • $350 million for additional health-care systems costs in preparation for a potential third COVID-19 wave;
  • $160 million to support school and education needs over this and next school year;
  • $100 million for the vaccine program; and
  • $40 million for Manitoba Restart Program capital initiatives at the municipal level.

So far, Manitoba has spent or committed $3.2 billion to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, said Fielding.

During the press conference, instead of donning a new pair of shoes, as is tradition for finance ministers, Fielding presented a pair of shoes to Chaturika Mesgun, who works at Cadham Provincial Laboratory.

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