WINNIPEG — One day before the release of the 2021 budget, the Manitoba government has committed $1.2 billion to fight COVID-19 within the next fiscal year.
The announcement was made Tuesday by Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Health Minister Heather Stefanson at Cadham Provincial Laboratory.
“We have budgeted additional amounts for the anticipated costs of protecting Manitobans, such as procuring more personal protective equipment and continuing to deploy the vaccine across the province in the largest immunization campaign in Manitoba history,” said Stefanson.
The province says the majority of the funding will go towards the health-care system, the full-year cost of the vaccine program, support that may be required for the kindergarten to Grade 12 education system to respond to the pandemic, and additional personal protective equipment and related supplies.
Fielding says while actual costs are evolving, the estimated amounts this fiscal year include:
- $230 million for personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and vaccine site infrastructure, contact tracing and other preparations as part of the province’s overall public health response
- $350 million for additional health-care systems costs in preparation for a potential third COVID-19 wave
- $160 million to support school and education needs over this and next school year
- $100 million for the vaccine program
- $40 million for Manitoba Restart Program capital initiatives at the municipal level
The remaining $300 million will be set aside as a contingency for currently unbudgeted expenses, Fielding added.
Manitoba has so far spent $3.2 billion to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.