Manitoba Budget Delivers on Healthcare but falls short on social deficit

April 2, 2024

April 2, 2024


For Immediate Release (Winnipeg, Treaty One Territory):


The Manitoba Budget released today makes progress on reversing previous cuts to healthcare however does not go far enough to addressing the costly social deficit, reversing regressive tax cuts and shoring up needed revenue in Manitoba.



The Budget rightly invests $980 million, or 6.1% more in health care over Budget 2023/24 particularly in the health care workforce. CCPA is pleased to see a commitment to the number of health care aids from 100 to 600 across the healthcare sector. It is promising that there is more investment to address surgical wait times.  


It is positive the government committed to increasing the number of hours per patient in long term care, although it did not specify how many hours. But It is disappointing there is not more investment in Long Term Care, where so many Manitobans died during the COVID 19 pandemic. It is particularly important Manitoba make public the privately-run centres where so many deaths took place, as recommended by CCPA research.


Fiscal policy and taxes

“The Manitoba government is stubbornly sticking to the neoliberal playbook on taxes by maintaining much of the education property tax cut, the cuts to the basic personal exemption and the gas tax cut. At least by reinstating education taxes on commercial properties this government acknowledges that landlords and business owners must pay their fair share for an educated population.” – Molly McCracken, CCPA Manitoba Director


Most of the increases in spending in this budget are due to $992 million additional equalization payments. Manitoba tax cuts and shrinking revenue make Manitoba vulnerable to potential cuts of federal transfers.


The Budget brings the deficit from $1,997 million in 2023/24 to $796 million in 2025/26. The debt to GDP ratio is notching up from 36.5% to 37.5%. This is a choice – the previous and current Manitoba government could address the fiscal and social deficits by reversing regressive tax cuts.


With the unstable global political environment, Manitoba cannot rely exclusively on future economic growth to bring the deficit down in the next four years. Any economic shock, or a change in federal government priorities would result in a growing deficit or severe cuts to services.


“The Manitoba government is addicted to tax cuts, as shown by the extension of the gas tax cut, which incentivizes the use of fossil fuels at a time of climate crisis. There is no additional support to help those who do not drive a vehicle in this budget, for example.” – Molly McCracken, CCPA Manitoba Director


CCPA Manitoba is pleased the Manitoba government responded to aspects of the CCPA open letter to the Premier and Minister of Finance regarding reversing the tax cuts of Budget 2023/24. This budget appears to respond to the pressure put on the government from CCPA’s open letter by introducing the $1,500 Homeowners Affordability Tax Credit, eliminating the education property tax rebate on commercial properties, and beginning to phase out the Basic Personal Exemption for earners grossing above $200,000 per year. CCPA encourages the Manitoba government to look at more progressive fiscal options in order to bring in needed revenue for Manitoba to address the social deficit in our province.


Social deficit

It is promising to see the province invest $116 million additional dollars in social and affordable housing and the commitment to create 350 new social and affordable housing units in 2024/25. This includes, for the first time, funding for non-profit housing providers to acquire existing housing.


However, the Budget does not address the social deficit and years of below-inflationary spending by the previous government and under-funds key departments. Total expenditures as a percentage of provincial GDP are projected to decline from 26.2% in 2023/24 to 25% in 2024/25. For example, Budget 2024/25 cuts funding to the Departments of Families by $40 million, Justice by $107 million and Labour by $2 million. CCPA Manitoba is looking for adequate funding for preventing child apprehensions and reuniting families; restorative justice and reducing high rates of incarceration and recidivism; and adequate enforcement of employment, health, and safety standards.


The Budget commitments on childcare are insufficient. Budget 2024/25 does not meet the demand to end child care deserts by creating a sufficient number of new licensed, public child care spaces and fails to acknowledge child care as key to economic development in Manitoba. The increase in Budget 2024/25 to the base funding to child care centres by only 5% falls far short of the recommended increase of 21%, which is what is needed to reverse years of frozen funding to child care under the previous government.


The communications in this Budget on social assistance and Rent Assist are misleading – the increases announced are regarding increases to caseloads in social assistance, as confirmed by Manitoba Finance staff in the Budget lock-up. Social assistance continues to fall far behind the cost of living, trapping people in poverty and driving the demand at over-burdened food banks.


Watch for more CCPA MB analysis of Budget 2024/25 in the upcoming weeks, from our coalition partners analysis as well.