Premier Heather Stefanson is poised Thursday morning to announce more financial assistance for Manitobans.
Stefanson has called a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the Food Fare grocery store in western Winnipeg’s St. Charles neighbourhood to announce what her office calls “affordability measures” to help residents handle the increasing cost of living.
This will be the second round of help to address inflation. In 2022, Manitoba targeted families with children, low-income seniors and people receiving income assistance.
More Manitobans will receive help from this new round of cheques, a spokesperson for the premier’s office said Wednesday.
These new cheques also will be subject to an income test, with a threshold determining who will benefit, the spokesperson said.
In 2022, Manitoba offered families with children and a household income of less than $175,000 in 2021 a benefit cheque of $250 for the first child and $200 for each additional child.
Seniors with a family income of less than $40,000 who rent or own a home and claimed the education property tax credit on their 2021 income tax return received a $300 cheque.
Also in 2022, Manitoban adults on employment and income assistance and don’t have kids started receiving an extra $50 per month, while income disability clients started receiving another $25 per household each month.
The premier said earlier this week the affordability crisis has only deepened since the first round of aid went out.
“We’ve heard from Manitobans that everybody is struggling to make ends meet these days. I think it’s important that we look at everyone overall,” Stefanson said on Monday.
“We need to make sure that we’re trying to make ends meet for Manitobans in the best way we can, particularly those that are suffering the most right now.”
Philippe Cyrenne, an economics professor at the University of Winnipeg, said assistance cheques are a form of tax cuts that can be issued more quickly than embedding them within the provincial budget process.
He said the main concern for governments trying to combat inflation is reducing both consumer and public spending.
The opposition NDP characterized the assistance as an election-year gambit.
“Manitobans are smart enough to know when the premier is trying to buy their vote,” NDP finance critic Mark Wasyliw said in a statement.
“Families are in a cost-of-living crisis. They need a real plan to lower their monthly costs so they can get ahead.”