On March 7, 2023 the Stefanson government announced Manitoba’s pre-election Budget, titled Historic Help for Manitobans. The budget included nearly $2 billion in new funding, and projected a $363 million deficit. This is the first budget since the PCs took office in 2016 to see a spending increase in every department.
Manitoba’s Pre-election Budget: Top 5 Highlights
1. Historic Help for Manitobans
- The government introduced Manitoba’s largest one-time increase to the basic personal exemption – from $10,145 to $15,000. Totaling $311-million in tax relief to Manitobans.
- This year, the Budget will also increase the School Tax Rebate to 50% on farm and residential properties.
- Increased individual tax bracket thresholds to $47,000 and $100,000, effective for the 2024 tax year (from $36,842 and $79,625 respectively in 2023). This change will be worth $160-million in savings for Manitobans in the 2024 tax year.
- Finally, government will increase the payroll tax thresholds; ensuring employers with payrolls of less than $2.25-million will no longer pay payroll tax.
2. Safer Streets
- One of the government’s key pre-budget announcements centered on a new $51-million homelessness strategy.
- In addition, the government committed $50 million over two years to address violent crime – with indications that this will go to support prosecutors and police. Further details are yet to come.
- $7.1-million in funding for enhancements to the Family Violence Prevention Program.
- An additional $9.4 million for 1,000 new addictions treatment spaces.
3. Healing Healthcare
- The government is investing a record total of $7.9 billion in healthcare, including $130-million to address diagnostic and surgical backlogs. This is $668-million more than last year.
- This investment will include expanding coverage for diabetes insulin pumps and glucose monitors, and creating a new hearing aid program for seniors.
- On the capital side, a $1.2-billion multi-year campaign will add capacity to nine health facilities, including hospitals across the province.
4. Stronger Communities
- An increase of $47-million in operating grants to municipalities and Northern Affairs communities based on a new funding formula.
- An additional $13.4-million for transit systems in Winnipeg, Brandon, Selkirk, Flin Flon, and Thompson.
- $268.5-million in capital expenditures to build more schools and support renovations and additional projects in existing schools.
- More than $81-million to the service providers of Community Living disABILITY Services and Children’s disABILITY Services to raise the average funded wage to $19/hour.
5. Opportunities Ahead
- More than $2.5-billion in trade-enabling highway infrastructure over the next five years.
- Adding an additional $50-million, for a total of $100-million Venture Capital Fund.
- $92.5-million in funding to support post-secondary, including $10-million to support the creation and expansion of programs to address labour market shortages.
- Commitment of $101-million for the Lake Manitoba Outlet Channels Project.
Other recent major announcements include:
- March 3 – Manitoba will achieve $10-a-day regulated child care on April 2 – three years ahead of the national target.
- March 3 – Government developing an in-person targeted hiring event to connect newcomers with employers.
- March 6 – Manitoba provides $1.7 million in funding for five projects supported through the Manitoba Mineral Development Fund (MMDF).
- March 8 – Manitoba invests $2 million as part of a new funding model for nine agencies providing family violence prevention programing across the province.
- March 8 – Manitoba Provides $100,000 to support a human trafficking awareness campaign.
- March 9 – Government provides more than $450,000 to Indigenous Tourism Manitoba through the Indigenous Reconciliation Initiatives Fund
- March 9 – Manitoba announces significant increase in allocation for the provincial nominee program for 2023 – total allocation will be 9,500 nominations.
- March 9– Manitoba introduces proposed legislation that would enable retail stores to sell liquor.
- March 10 – As a part of the $200-million Health Human Resource Action Plan, government introduces new amendments to enable internationally-educated doctors to work in Manitoba sooner.
- March 10 – Nearly $3 million is being invested to establish a new minor treatment centre at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg (HSC).
The next provincial election in Manitoba is scheduled for October 3, 2023.
If you have questions about what this budget means for your sector, business, or association, please reach out to the Counsel Public Affairs team: