Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba

DMV2016 asked each leader after the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Debate, "What is your message to DMV2016 supporters before Election Day?"

Priority Issue: A Fully Accessible Manitoba 

Is your party committed to the full and timely implementation of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) that was passed with all party support in December 2013? 

Answer: Yes. 

Will your party commit to establishing standards in the following areas during the next term in office: employment, transportation, information and communication, and built environment?

Answer: Yes. 

What will your party do to ensure that organizations follow the standards that are developed?

Answer: The Accessibility for Manitobans Act includes provisions for the inspection and enforcement of accessibility standards, including the ability to impose penalties when appropriate; the Progressive Conservative Party is supportive of these measures.

Priority Issue: Fair Wages for those Serving Manitobans with Intellectual Disabilities 

What will your party do to ensure a stable, fairly paid and qualified work force providing service to Manitobans with intellectual disabilities?

Answer: Fair and equitable pay for work performed by those providing services to Manitobans with intellectual disabilities is an issue the Progressive Conservative party takes very seriously. Those who support Manitobans with intellectual disabilities will be able to keep more of their income under a Progressive Conservative government. By reducing the sales tax from eight to seven percent, and providing income tax relief by indexing tax brackets to the rate of inflation, individuals who support Manitobans with intellectual disabilities will have more money in their pockets. This province faces serious fiscal challenges because of NDP waste and mismanagement that has meant less for frontline workers, including those that work with people with disabilities. The realities of Manitoba’s fiscal situation demand a full value for money review of government spending. The outcome of this review will result in more effective services with improved outcomes, including for those that work with Manitobans with intellectual disabilities. By reducing government waste, duplication, and overlap, more resources can be dedicated to frontline services and the workers who provide them. This means longer-term job security and stability for workers.

Will your party commit to eliminating the wage disparities currently in place for Disability Support Workers?

Answer: As Progressive Conservatives, we recognize the inherent value in the work that disability support workers do, and acknowledge that there is inequality of opportunity for those that support Manitobans with disabilities. The waste and mismanagement under the NDP the last 17 years has resulted in less for disability support workers and the frontline services that Manitobans depend on. As mentioned above, a Progressive Conservative government will undertake a comprehensive review that will result in more effective services and improved outcomes, including for those who provide support for Manitobans with disabilities. 

Will your party commit to implementing standards and equitable wages for all Disability Support Workers comparable to other caring professions in Manitoba? 

Answer: Wage equity for disability support workers is an essential part of ensuring continuity of care for Manitobans with disabilities. Part of our plan to review spending includes a commitment to examine specific areas and programs to identify opportunities to reduce wasteful spending and allow us to allocate resources to priority areas, such as implementing equitable wages for disability support workers.

Priority Issue: Timely Access to Services for Manitobans with Disabilities and their Families 

What will your party do to ensure the comprehensive reduction of wait times for disability services? 

Answer: Wait times for public services are at abysmal levels in Manitoba, our province has the longest wait times for a visit to an emergency room in Canada and Manitoba also has the highest ambulance fees in Canada. Addressing this issue starts with a focus on the fundamental barriers to care. Our plan will focus on a client-first approach to smarter and more coordinated care with measurable performance standards, accountability and continuous improvement measures. Reducing wait times in a meaningful way means governments have to make a sustained commitment to disability services and have to make choices about where they prioritize resources. During the last election the NDP committed to eliminate the wait-list for applied behavioural analysis therapy. They broke that commitment and the wait-list is now at its highest level ever with nearly 100 families waiting for treatment. Unlike the NDP, we are prepared to make the sustained commitment needed to make a real difference for Manitobans waiting for access to disability services. 

Will your party commit to a transparent and accountable system of measuring and publicly reporting on progress towards reductions in wait times for disability services? 

Answer: Yes, we are committed to transparency and accountability and will develop a framework for assessing program performance that includes metrics to measure effectiveness, efficiency and overlaps. In addition, we have committed to a comprehensive Open Government initiative, which includes the creation of an open data portal. This will require both legislative change and a cultural shift toward openness in government. The result will be more accessible information. 

Priority Issue: Unleashing the Employment Potential of Persons with Disabilities 

What will your party do to ensure equity in employment for Manitobans with disabilities within the Government of Manitoba?

Answer: As Progressive Conservatives we recognize that diversity within the civil service creates an atmosphere where public servants can better serve the citizens of Manitoba. We supported the passage of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. We are committed to ensuring that the civil service maintains its current policy with respect to employment equity to ensure Manitoba’s civil service reflects the makeup of Manitoba’s citizenry. That policy currently includes a provision concerning persons with disabilities, which we support. 

What will your party do realize the employment potential of persons with disabilities within the broader provincial economy?

Answer: As Progressive Conservatives it is our view that the Government of Manitoba has a role to play in promoting the participation of Manitobans with disabilities in the labour market. One of the ways we will promote the full employment potential of Manitobans with disabilities is to lead by example. By ensuring equitable representation of people with disabilities in the civil service and the broader public sector, a Progressive Conservative government would serve as an example to all other employers and, in so doing, would clearly demonstrate the valuable contributions Manitobans with disabilities can make. 

What will your party do to ensure that Manitobans with disabilities are promoted to the business community as valuable and viable contributors to the workforce? 

Answer: As Progressive Conservatives we recognize that hiring qualified Manitobans with disabilities is both the right thing to do and, good for our economy. People with disabilities bring valuable insights that can advance business objectives. A Progressive Conservative government would work to actively educate businesses about the many benefits of employing Manitobans with disabilities. 

Priority Issue: Dignified Incomes for Persons with Disabilities Facing the Most Profound Barriers to Workforce Participation 

What income level does your party see as being socially acceptable for Manitobans with severe and prolonged disabilities who face profound barriers to labour market success?

Answer: We believe very strongly in providing meaningful support for Manitobans with severe and prolonged disability. Our plan includes a commitment to assess the performance of existing programs, including income supports for Manitobans with severe and prolonged disabilities. By doing this, we will be able to gain an understanding of the effectiveness of existing support programs, and to learn how they could be improved and delivered more effectively for those Manitobans that most need and rely on them. 

Will your party commit to introducing an alternative income program for Manitobans with severe and prolonged disabilities during the next term in office?

Answer: We are committed to identifying key programs and best practices from other jurisdictions as we undertake a comprehensive review of all government expenditures. This review will include income supplement programming for Manitobans with severe and prolonged disabilities, and will result in better prioritization of resources and services for those receiving income supports.