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Manitoba 2021 budget includes rent, child-care freezes, rebate cheques while focusing on COVID-19

Click to play video: '2021 Manitoba budget breakdown' 2021 Manitoba budget breakdown
2021 Manitoba budget breakdown – Apr 7, 2021

Manitoba’s budget is focused primarily on mitigating the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic and includes things like rebate cheques and rent freezes for residential tenants.

Finance Minister Scott Fielding presented the 2021-22 budget to the Manitoba legislature Wednesday afternoon.

“COVID-19 has upended lives and caused hardship and tragedy for many Manitobans,” said Fielding.

“We recognize our province and people will continue to face profound health, social and economic impacts and uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic.”

The budget includes the first step in a plan to phase out education taxes on property and instead fund schools directly from provincial coffers.

Residential and farmland owners are to receive a 25 per cent rebate this year, while owners of commercial and other land are to get a 10 per cent rebate.

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Next year, residential property owners will see a 50 per cent rebate.

Below, we break down all the numbers.

Here’s what you’ll save on — or have to pay:

  • A cheque is coming to all residential property owners for 25 per cent of their education property taxes, and 50 per cent next year.
  • A cheque is also coming to those who own commercial land for 10 per cent of their education property taxes.
  • Rent increases will be frozen at 1.6 per cent for residential leases that begin in 2021 and zero per cent for leases that begin in 2022 and 2023.
  • PST will no longer be charged on haircuts over $50, manicures and pedicures, and tattoos, starting in December
  • PST will be charged on streaming services like Apple TV, Amazon, Spotify and Netflix, starting in December
  • PST will be charged on things bought on websites like Amazon, Etsy and other third-party sites. Things sold in private sales on sites like Facebook Marketplace will  be exempt
  • PST will  be charged on AirBnB listings
  • Fees will be frozen for child care for the next three years
  • Provincial Income Tax will be indexed to inflation
  • Vehicle registration fees will be decreased by 10 per cent

Health care and COVID-19

  • $1.2 billion for COVID-19 costs.
  • Heath-care funding increase of $156 million to a total of $6.9 billion.
  • $812 million to build health infrastructure in rural and northern Manitoba.
  • $50 million to help reduce wait times for surgeries that were delayed by the pandemic.
  • Another $23 million for cancer treatment.
  • Additional $2.7 million to expand blood dialysis.
  • Money for 120 personal care home beds.
  • Insulin pump coverage for those up to age 25.

Mental health and addictions

  • $342 million for a new department of mental health, wellness and recovery.
  • $1.7 million for the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.
  • $1.8 million for housing supports.

Infrastructure

  • $25 million set aside as a trust for the downtown Hudson Bay Building redevelopment.
  • $630 million for highway and road construction.
  • $292 for health-care facilities infrastructure, including the St. Boniface Hospital Emergency Department.
  • $415 million for new schools.

Justice

  • Establishing a new Manitoba Criminal Intelligence Centre, which will essentially centralize communications between policing departments and RCMP.
  • Nearly $3 million for the backlog to the court system.
  • $815,000 for victims support services for those dealing with family violence and the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).
  • Restorative justice initiatives for First Nations communities.

Education

  • A refundable tax credit for teachers and child-care workers of 15 per cent up to $1,000 for classroom supplies.
  • $680 million for post-secondary schools.
  • $4 million more for post-secondary education bursaries.
  • $5.5 million more for special needs funding.
  • $5 million to further the new school division strategy.
  • $4 million for a virtual learning strategy.
  • $2 million for three new training and support programs for EIA program clients.

Child care

  • Fees frozen for child care for the next three years.
  • $4 million more for daycares, including money for 150 new spaces and 50 new home-based licensed spaces.
  • $4 million more for operating grants.

Housing

  • Rent Assist and Employment Income Assistance (EIA) Rent Assist recipients will receive an increase to their benefits between 2.4 and 11 per cent.
  • $22 million to pay for the increase to Rent Assist.
  • Rent increases will be frozen at 1.6 per cent for residential leases that begin in 2021 and zero per cent for leases that begin in 2022 and 2023.
  • $2.56 million for the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association to help find housing for those experiencing homelessness.

Environment and climate change

  • A new $1-million Organics Green Impact Bond to help divert organic waste from landfills.
  • $4 million more for water treatment and dumps in northern Manitoba.
  • An increase of $600,000 for the Conservation and Climate Fund.

City of Winnipeg

The City of Winnipeg is getting about the same amount of funding it got last year, which was one of Mayor Brian Bowman’s hopes. That breakdown includes:

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  • $273 million in total.
  • $49 million for emergency services.
  • $28 million for public safety.
  • 121.2 million for operating expenditures.
  • $75.3 million in infrastructure.

Read the full budget document:

Click to play video: '2021 Manitoba budget reaction' 2021 Manitoba budget reaction
2021 Manitoba budget reaction – Apr 7, 2021

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