On Thursday in Portage la Prairie, the Manitoba government made a funding splash, announcing the investment of more than $5.2 million in two programs to help address the overall staffing shortage in the province.

Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen, Health Minister Audrey Gordon, and Portage MLA Ian Wishart made the announcement at Lions Prairie Manor.

One of the two initiatives mentioned to receive funding was the "Skills Development Program," which is intended to provide career counselling and financial support to eligible Manitobans seeking post-secondary training in programs up to two years in length.  
Funding for the Skills Development Program is available for students pursuing training in healthcare fields, including:


  • healthcare aide; 
  • health unit clerk; 
  • medical office assistant; 
  • pharmacy technician; 
  • and practical nursing. 

The other initiative to receive funding was the "Indigenous Adult Health Internship Program," which offers pre-employment training, job-shadowing opportunities and a paid work practicum. The Manitoba government adds that this holistic project offers Indigenous community members the opportunity to explore high-demand healthcare occupations and areas, including: 

  • cook; 
  • dietary aide; 
  • healthcare aide; 
  • health records; 
  • housekeeping; 
  • maintenance; 
  • materials management; 
  • and recreation or activities assistant. 

MLA Wishart shares that the provincial government is always excited to invest in health care across the province.


"The funding for today's announcement will go a long way to help address the challenges in health care as we come out of the pandemic," says Wishart. 

Health Minister Audrey Gordon welcomed and thanked everyone for coming to the announcement, noting that she usually comes to Portage for strawberry picking. However, she hadn't yet picked any this year.

She touched on this funding allocated to strengthening the health care system.

"The Manitoba government recognizes the critical need to increase workforce recruitment and retention in the healthcare sector as part of the province's post-COVID economic recovery," says Gordon. "These investments will ensure that Manitoba's healthcare system is amply staffed with a skilled, engaged workforce that is reflective of the province's population."


Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen also touched on the funding.

"The Skills Development Program and the Indigenous Adult Health Internship Program will help provide the training and resources needed to address immediate and emerging workforce needs in a sector stretched thin from the pandemic," says Cullen. "This is key to addressing the significant labour market needs of the healthcare sector."

The government notes that the Indigenous Adult Health Internship Program is a collaborative initiative between Indigenous communities and Southern Health-Santé Sud, the health authority, which serves a population of over 216,000 residents.