Disability services, child-care, and child welfare sectors could be eligible for the new pandemic response benefit.

Families Minister Heather Stefanson is announcing a $10 million fund for a new Pandemic Staffing Support Benefit. This benefit is to be used to address urgent staffing needs in family-focussed sectors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is creating new staffing challenges, which are creating additional costs for agencies and facilities," Stefanson says. "Thousands of children, vulnerable Manitobans and their families rely on the caring and dedicated staff in our disability services, child-care and child welfare sectors."

StefansonFamilies Minister Heather Stefanson. (Heather Stefanson/Facebook)

She says the new benefit will allow for not-for-profits providing care to address financial issues such as overtime costs, replacement staff, or sick time.

Sectors elligable include: 

  • Child and Family Services – Community Care Provider
  • Child and Family Services – Group Home
  • Community Living disABILITY Services – Shift-Staffed Residential Service Provider
  • Early Learning and Child Care

The province says licensed and funded home-based child care providers are also eligible for the benefit.

“There are dozens of agencies across our province that have been dedicated to providing care, support and opportunities to Manitobans with disabilities throughout this pandemic, and they have been doing incredible work,” Stefanson says. “However, the spread of the virus means we must also step up our response, to help ensure agencies and the people they care for can be assured that we will be there when they need us."

Child-care centres, non-profit Community Living disABILITY Services residential home providers, and child and family services group home providers can apply. 

“Quality of life for adults with disabilities depends entirely on the quality of support available to them,” Margo Powell, executive director of Abilities Manitoba, says.

She says they appreciate having access to much-needed provincial resources. 

Approximately $6 million will be allocated to the disability sector, $3 million to child care and $1 million to child and family services would be available until March 2021. Those wishing to apply can do so starting Tuesday. These funds will not need to be repaid to the province. 

Those who wish to receive funding must reapply monthly. The province says this is due to varying levels of need.