Since coming into office, our PC government has continued to support the people of Manitoba with a specific focus on seniors to further commit to them and their caregivers.
Premier Heather Stefanson created the Department of Seniors and Long-Term Care, of which I was honoured to be the first Minister. She designated a special mandate for this portfolio, that being the implementation of all 17 recommendations of the Stevenson Review, as well as bringing forth the seniors strategy.
On Feb. 22, I was pleased to announce and release “Manitoba, A Great Place to Age: Provincial Seniors Strategy.” The Manitoba government is committed to moving the senior strategy forward to ensure that older adults may remain in their homes as they wish.
In the strategy, we committed to supporting communities to become more accessible, safe, and tailored to the needs of Manitobans as we age, and in less than two months since launching the strategy, we have already invested over $34 million in multiple key initiatives that will help us to realize this vision.
Most recently, I was at the Brooklands Active Living Centre in Winnipeg, to announce $3 million in funding for two housing programs that will allow more Manitoba seniors to safely age in their homes and communities as long as they choose.
$1.5 million will go towards a new home modification grant program to provide financial assistance to seniors over the age of 65 and/or family members who have seniors over the age of 65 living with them with a household income under $60,000. The provincewide grant will operate annually and allow for home modifications that enhance safety during daily living activities.
A further $1.5-million investment will stabilize and strengthen the Manitoba government’s supportive housing program, which has over 750 units including 528 in Winnipeg and 236 in rural areas. This investment will increase the per diem rate by 19 per cent to ensure residents receive high-quality services. The housing-with-care model provides residents in community-based congregate settings with access to comprehensive support services including meals, laundry, light housekeeping and personal support services.
The senior strategy is a living document with a vision that older Manitobans are valued and empowered to live healthy and productive lives in our communities. It is the actions that our PC Government will create real tangible change, and we are proud to be taking action on behalf of seniors as we continue to make Manitoba a great place to grow old.
The Hon. Scott Johnston is the Minister of Seniors and Long Term Care.