The Manitoba government on Wednesday announced the Family Affordability Package, a program to support families amid rising costs and inflation.
Finance Minister and Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen shared why.
“Right now, Manitobans are really feeling the pressure of rising costs. Transportation, food, lodging, recreation, home furnishings, everything is going up in price and we know that’s because various reasons including rising interest rates, the ongoing war in Ukraine, supply chain issues, changes in the labor market that have occurred. Our government has been there, but clearly more was needed and so on Wednesday we launched our affordability package.”
Friesen explained that the timing of the announcement was based on what the government has heard from the people of Manitoba.
“People are hearing that this pinch of everything costs more, but right now, it’s back to school time. So we have an itemized payment for any family with a child, $250 to any family with one child under 18 and $200 for each additional child. , a one-time payment because people feel that sting. This goes to any family with a net income of less than $175,000. That means we’ll be sending those checks to almost 150,000 families”.
Friesen was asked about those who feel affected but don’t qualify for this particular package, such as single people, people without dependents or people with disabilities.
“We know that a family with two or three children has more financial pressure on a moderate or modest income than, say, two incomes or one income without dependents. I’m not saying there are challenges for these people, but we are trying to get as broad and fair a benefit as we can. Remember that these measures that we announced also included other measures, such as increasing the basic needs benefit for anyone on the AIE who does not have children. This increase in the benefit it applies to people who have a disability.”
Lately, a series of announcements, including the Manitoba government’s $87 million family affordability package, have had some people asking where the money is coming from.
Friesen responded that the province presents a budget each year to identify new programs and expenditures, but the process has stalled.
“The opposition parties have not yet allowed our budget to pass, and that means we need interim authority to be able to activate these measures. So we will bring this interim authority and there are special measures that a legislature must be able to take . do it, and so we will bring this measure now. Why do we do it now? Because now is when relief is needed.”
He waits when the Legislature comes back into session, in a few weeks, and the work his party will do to pass the budget for the 2022/23 financial year.