CUPE, which represents 18,000 health care support workers in the WRHA, Shared Health, Northern Regional Health Authority, and Southern Health-Santé Sud is welcoming the new federal funding commitments for health care.

“Health care support workers are the pillars of the health care system, but are often left without much support,” said Gina McKay, president of CUPE Manitoba. “Funding that focuses on recruitment and retention for health care support workers and others in health care is critical to ensuring quality health services and staff who feel supported”.

The announcement included the Working Together agreement of $434 million over three years that includes adding more support staff, doctors, and nurses, and specifically mentions the importance of recruitment and retention of health care workers.

“18,000 health care support workers represented by CUPE in Manitoba are about to enter negotiations to ask for fair wages and stronger supports in the workplace,” said McKay. “The previous government in Manitoba did little to support health care workers, and even tried imposing a wage freeze on them, so we are relieved that the federal government and new NDP provincial governments recognize the importance of recruiting and retaining health care workers”.

CUPE Manitoba also applauds the new Aging with Dignity agreement of $199 million in funding over five years to expand home, community health, and long-term care, as well as dementia programming.

“Supporting public home care and public long-term care is critical to ensuring our seniors, older persons, and elders can live with dignity, and hiring 100 new public home care workers is welcome,” said McKay. “There has been a growing number of for-profit home care agencies and long-term care facilities in Manitoba, and we are pleased to hear Premier Kinew commit to funding universal public health care, and supporting the staff who work tirelessly for our community”.

CUPE Manitoba looks forward to working with the provincial government as a key stakeholder in the rollout of the new funding for health care.