A cautious, stay-the-course budget with little substantial change from the previous years.
Winnipeg (11 Mar. 2014) -Manitoba’s Minister of Finance, Jennifer Howard, tabled the 2014 budget in the Legislature on March 7, 2014.
It was a cautious, stay-the-course budget with little substantial change from the previous years.
"Lean" was the theme
“Lean” was the word of the day on public services and a plan is in place to transform the administration to be more efficient rather than taking harsh austerity measures as seen in other provinces, while still maintaining the programs and services that Manitobans rely on.
“If ‘lean’ is code for cuts, we’re not interested. If it’s a genuine opportunity for Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) members to have a voice in how to improve services, we’re interested in having that conversation, says Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President.
“We are also concerned that nine departments will see little or no increase in their budgets when Manitobans are telling us for example that parks and natural areas are a priority for them.”
MGEU/NUPGE highlights items of importance to members
Several items in the budget may be especially important to MGEU/NUPGE members:
- No new announced cuts to the civil service
- $5.5 million will be added for new child-care spaces and employee wages
- Improved tax credit of $5,000 to encourage employees take on more apprentices
- There is also an additional two per cent increase in funding for colleges, and 2.5% per cent for universities
- A training program for Advanced Care Paramedics
- New infrastructure funding, including $5.5 billion over 5 years towards roads, bridges and water infrastructure
Encouraged by commitment to protect front-line services
“We are encouraged by the verbal commitment to protecting front-line services going forward, but we’ll have to take a look at the numbers to make sure front-line services are protected,” says Gawronsky.
“We’re pleased we didn’t see wholesale cuts in this budget, but let’s remember we have seen this in the recent past with last year’s announcement of 600 job cuts, and the privatization of the Property Registry.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE