Highlights from Manitoba Budget 2018
March 12, 2018
Cameron Friesen, Minister of Finance, today tabled the 2018 Manitoba budget.
The budget included reductions to salaries and employee benefits at the Public Library Services but increases for the Archives of Manitoba and the Legislative Library:
|Sport, Culture and Heritage Programs|
|Public Library Services|
|Salaries and Employee Benefits||961,00||964,000||-3,000|
|Archives of Manitoba|
|Salaries and Employee Benefits||2,915,000||2,594,000||+321,000|
|Less: Recoverable from other appropriations||(793,000)||(793,000)||0|
|Salaries and Employee Benefits||664,000||641,000||+23,000|
Focus on Outcomes
In the past, funding was provided to many of our most critical partners with limited or no reporting on outcomes – failure was not addressed and success was not rewarded.
We have talked about “bending the cost curve”, but this is about transforming our culture and rethinking how we do things. Focusing on outcomes is the only way to drive costs out of the system while preventing adverse impacts on the services Manitobans expect and deserve. Examples of our new approach to spending include:
- a new value for money assessment tool to guide our investments in cultural capital, including the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, Winnipeg Art Gallery, and Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada;
- block funding arrangements to reduce red tape and allow agencies to deliver the right services to the right people in the right way without relying on complex funding formulas or unintended incentives to drive costs and limit innovation. We have already introduced block funding for municipalities and some family services agencies and are continuing to explore other opportunities in this area;
- a greater focus on competitive procurement processes as well as social impact procurement, including leveraging social enterprises and pay for performance models such as Social Impact Bonds; and
- working toward consolidation of common functions, such as finance and administration.
All of these tools require common approaches to public procurement processes that are transparent, comprehensive and drive value across the public sector. We are engaging support to develop better procurement practices that will harness savings across government in areas that range from information technology, to equipment purchases to maintenance and repair contracts.
We are also continuing to explore alternative service delivery opportunities, not only to improve service, but also to reduce costs. This year, we are reviewing options to improve the cost-effectiveness of aircraft services within government and will be issuing a Request for Proposals to explore better ways to achieve value in this program.
All of these innovative efforts will be carefully monitored for success. We are focusing on outcomes by deploying Balanced Scorecards throughout core government and, in the coming year, will also be reporting publicly on how we are doing – both our successes and where we find a need for improvement or a different approach.
Transforming the Public Service
In addition to the economic circumstances we face, rapid advances in technology and changes in Manitobans’ expectations also present significant challenges. To face these complex issues successfully, we must learn from proven good practices and leverage the talent and ideas of public servants, and create space for innovation to grow.
In February of this year, we shared Manitoba’s Transformation Strategy, setting out a bold vision for the future and providing a framework for public servants to take action to transform both their work and their culture. This strategy provides an opportunity to build a modern public service culture that will attract and retain diverse, skilled and innovative employees into the future. Introducing Balanced Scorecards and external reporting of outcomes is a key pillar in this initiative.
We are also advancing our commitment to Open Government. This spring, we will streamline Manitoba’s process for consulting with citizens. We will launch an online portal to centralize and simplify the mechanism through which citizens provide input into government programs and services. With improved information from citizens, the public service will be better equipped to focus its efforts on priorities that will advance outcomes for Manitobans.
Early Learning and Child Care
Manitoba families recognize the importance of having licensed early learning and child care available to allow them to go to work or improve their education while ensuring that their children have a real chance to succeed in life. Following the signing of a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework in June, 2017, the governments of Canada and Manitoba announced that they are investing nearly $47 million over three years to create up to 1,400 new and newly-funded early learning and child care spaces in Manitoba. This investment will improve licensed services in underserved communities and for vulnerable populations using innovative approaches, targeting families and children most in need of child care services.
Manitoba’s agreement focuses on increased quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity in early learning and child care, in order to foster children’s social, cognitive and emotional development. These initiatives will compliment and reinforce Manitoba’s new, long-term Early Learning and Child Care strategy to be released this year.
Literacy and Numeracy Strategy
The role of education in reducing poverty is clear. However, the literacy and numeracy skills required to succeed in the knowledge economy are complex and evolving. There is a need for overall improvement in literacy and numeracy levels in Manitoba. The Manitoba Government and stakeholder partners are co-creating a long-term provincial literacy and numeracy strategy called Learning for Life: Charting the Future through Literacy and Numeracy.
This process began with a January 2017 Literacy and Numeracy Summit, an open invitation to stakeholders interested in improving learning from “cradle to careers”. Participants included organizations and individuals representing early childhood learning, K-12 education, adult education, community organizations, post-secondary education, government, business, community, and parents, caregivers and families. Their perspectives and ideas form the basis of a comprehensive and sustainable strategy being developed to improve achievement across age levels, population groups and regions.
Supporting Community Foundations
Manitoba’s vibrant network of community foundations are uniquely positioned to support causes and service providers within their regions and help our local communities flourish. With 54 community foundations, our province is home to approximately one quarter of all such organizations in the country.
The Manitoba Government is partnering with The Winnipeg Foundation to enhance the ability of community foundations across Manitoba in attracting public and private support for local projects. The province’s pilot participation in the 2017 Endow Manitoba 24-hour Giving Challenge resulted in a 46% increase in the number of private gifts received, and a 67% increase in value. In addition to continued participation in “stretching” donations received through the 24 Hour Giving Challenge, the Manitoba Government is further supporting community foundations by providing matching funds in support of a new Manitoba Heritage Trust Incentive Program.
Broadband in the North
Manitoba is partnering with Clear Sky Connections, a Manitoba First Nations owned and operated Internet service provider, and the Government of Canada, to support a $63 million project to bring high-speed internet to rural and remote communities. This service is key to unlocking the economic potential of the North, providing Manitoba communities the tools to maximize opportunities and generate economic growth.
Manitoba’s contribution, up to $20 million, includes Manitoba Hydro’s in-kind support. Manitoba Hydro will allow Clear Sky Connections to use existing fibre-optic cable network and related assets. Once completed, the broadband project will include 10-gigabit ethernet fibre connections that will provide 72 communities and 88 institutions with access to high-speed Internet services on par with southern urban areas. 37 of these communities are First Nations; 18 are located in remote regions of northern Manitoba.