Province unveils $200-million plan to hire 2,000 health professionals


The Manitoba government is implementing a health human resource action plan moving to end mandating overtime by adding 2,000 health-care professionals with an investment of $200 million to retain, train and recruit health-care staff across the province, Premier Heather Stefanson and Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

“Manitobans, and all Canadians, expect their leaders to come together to solve issues that matter most to them. We are listening and we are taking action,” said Stefanson. “While all jurisdictions are facing significant human health resources challenges, and while we continue to wait for the federal government to come to the table to increase its share of health funding, we are taking the necessary action here in Manitoba to strengthen our health system now and well into the future.”

The premier and minister stressed respect for Manitoba doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals and support staff has always been pivotal and will continue to be at the core of this action plan.

“Our government has met with all levels of the health-care system and our message is clear — we hear you and we are here for you,” said Gordon. “We will continue to work with all levels of health care from leadership to front-line workers to gather feedback and ideas to improve the health-care system for those employed within it and for all Manitobans.”

The health human resource action plan is made up of three pillars: retain, train and recruit.


  • This pillar will ensure those working in the system are supported and continue to provide safe, reliable and accessible services Manitobans have come to rely on including:
  • weekend premium: an additional hourly premium for weekend hours worked as well as a new ‘weekend worker’ position for individuals who work straight weekends;
  • wellness incentive: additional support for mental-health counselling;
  • full-time incentive: additional compensation for nurses who occupy a full-time equivalent position;
  • reimbursing licencing fees: reimbursement for health-care professionals employed within the Manitoba public system for their annual professional licensing fees;
  • activate a joint nursing council with a focus on working conditions, work life, and recruitment and retention of nurses;
  • provincial float pool: creation of a provincial float pool, which was agreed to under the 2021 Manitoba Nurses Union collective agreement;
  • institutional safety officers: increasing the number of peace officers for large emergency departments across Manitoba;
  • establishing a centralized service, called Virtual Emergency Care and Transfer Resource Service (VECTRS), to support rural and northern physicians and other health-care providers to obtain specialist consultative advice, locate the most appropriate bed available in another hospital when needed, and co-ordinate inter-facility medical transportation to the most appropriate facility when required;
  • practice stabilization support: financial support for increased personal protective equipment costs due to the pandemic;
  • primary care hours: incentive for doctor’s offices to extend hours so patients can access primary care when more appropriate than an emergency department visit;
  • community health clinic incentive: incentives for community clinics to extend hours;
  • physician collaboration tool expansion: to improve patient care by allowing better rapid consultation with specialists and streamlining consultations;
  • psychotherapy virtual care: expanding virtual care to group psychotherapy visits;
  • reduce physician administration: establishing a joint task force to reduce administrative burden for physicians;
  • remote location incentive: working to incentivize extremely remote sites;
  • mental health supports: working with health-care professions, their associations and representatives to provide mental health and burnout supports for physicians, nurses and allied health professionals;
  • enhanced security for emergency departments: working to implement actions to promote staff safety;
  • emergency department incentives: working to provide incentives for emergency departments.


This pillar will provide training for health-care staff at all levels as well as those entering the system including:

  • Undergraduate Nurse Employee (UNE) program expansion: expanding current program to include returning nurses from retirement and internationally educated nurses;
  • psychiatry career program: creating a resident retention program for psychiatry;
  • psychology positions: increasing the number of publicly funded psychology positions;
  • psychiatry positions: increasing the number of publicly funded psychiatry positions;
  • increasing intake for nurse education: added an additional class intake at University of Manitoba college of nursing and added 400 seats across multiple training institutions; and
  • increasing intake for doctor education: working to increase class intake positions for doctors.


This pillar will recruit those who are currently qualified and wish to practise in Manitoba by reducing barriers and making it easier to do so through:

  • nurse referral program: financial incentive for publicly funded nurses who refer a returning agency nurse;
  • returning nurse program: financial incentive for returning nurses;
  • tuition rebate: tuition incentive for nurses holding full-time positions;
  • eligible retiree program: financial incentive for retired nurses to return in a coaching, mentoring or support role for newer nurses;
  • modernizing MOU with the Philippines: enabling recruitment from Philippines; and
  • professional testing: addressing testing costs and remedial training for returning, retired and international nurses.

These initiatives will be rolled out as they are finalized and are in addition to many initiatives and incentives that are already in effect to increase health human resource capacity across the province and therefore reducing the requirement to mandate overtime, the premier noted.

“We are encouraged to see the Manitoba government adopting several of the recommendations we have submitted to recruit and retain more doctors,” said Dr. Candace Bradshaw, president, Doctors Manitoba. “Our team is ready to work together with provincial officials to support the rapid implementation of these actions. This will mean physicians get more support and resources and, in turn, more patients can access the care they need.”

“We view this announcement as a very necessary and positive first step in addressing the significant recruitment and retention issues for Manitoba’s nurses,” said Darlene Jackson, president, Manitoba Nurses Union. “We will always work diligently and share our ideas and approaches to get our health-care system back to where it needs to be. Nurses are problem solvers and we are anxious to develop and see the implementation of further effective measures to solve the many challenges of our nursing human resource crisis.”

The Manitoba government recognizes the significant contributions of allied health and support workers and that conversations related to recruitment and retention in these important areas of the health system will occur in the near future, the premier added.

The minister noted that this is only the beginning and collaboration with all levels of the health-care system and stakeholders will continue including ongoing work with Doctors Manitoba, Manitoba Nurses Union, health-care leadership and front-line workers.

(Province of MB Release)