On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, the Government of Manitoba presented the Speech from the Throne for the Third Session of the 41st Manitoba Legislature. This speech sets the stage for what Manitobans can expect the government to focus on during its next legislative session. While Throne Speeches do not necessarily mean concrete action, or define what specific activities the government will undertake, they at least indicate what policy priorities are on the government’s radar.
This year, there are multiple CCEDNet Manitoba member priorities mentioned in the speech.
Early Learning & Child Care
Our members have long acknowledged and advocated the importance of accessible child care for the healthy development of local communities and economies. The throne speech made a commitment to “launching a new Early Learning and Childcare Strategy with initiatives to create new childcare spaces, reduce wait times, and foster better outcomes for families with young children.” Part of this was outlined in the speech, including:
- New incentives for private investment in childcare;
- Legislation to reduce red tape for Early Childhood Educators;
- An Early Years education strategy focused on achieving better education outcomes by supporting enhanced Early Childcare Educator training and securing greater alignment with a ‘cradles to careers approach.
CCEDNet Manitoba continues to call upon the government to develop not-for-profit early learning and child care spaces, and to set target and timelines for addressing the childcare backlog facing our communities.
Safe and affordable housing is essential for participating in local communities and the economy. This is why CCEDNet Manitoba members such as the Right to Housing Coalition have been advocating for policy that supports the development of affordable housing. The speech included the following:
- Introduce a new provincial housing strategy for affordable and social housing, working in partnership with non-profit groups, the private sector and government to deliver affordable housing solutions for Manitobans.
CCEDNet Manitoba’s membership includes community-led organizations tackling complex community challenges such as unemployment, urban and rural decline, poverty, social exclusion and environmental degradation. The speech included the following:
- Integrating existing resources to support the growth of innovative, community-driven prevention and early intervention.
- Empowering individuals, grassroots organizations, communities, businesses and social entrepreneurs who wish to contribute their time and resources to help tackle persistent social problems through new models for delivering services, including social enterprise, impact investing, and pay-for-performance.
Streamlined and stable multi-year funding greatly increases an organization’s efficiency and effectiveness by improving long-term planning and acting, attracting and retaining quality staff, and overall organizational capacity. It would appear that “integrating existing resources” means there will not be increased investments into the challenges facing our communities, CCEDNet Manitoba will continue to advocate to government the value of stable multi-year funding in community development.
Social Enterprise & Social Procurement
Non-profits engaging in market activity to further their organizational goal is a practice that CCEDNet Manitoba has promoted to its members for year. Since 2015, CCEDNet Manitoba has been partnered with the Province of Manitoba to co-develop and co-implement the Manitoba Social Enterprise Strategy. One key piece of this strategy is the promotion of social procurement, which is when governments target their existing and ongoing spending to create job and training opportunities for individuals facing barriers to employment or other community impacts. The throne speech touches says the following:
- The Healthy Child Strategy, Social Enterprise Strategy, the Non-Profit Strategy, and the Social Impact Procurement Strategy will be streamlined to make better use of research, promote best practices, engage community ownership and planning, fund outcomes and get better results for our children.
We are pleased to see these strategies noted, as they all work towards healthier and more resilient communities. CCEDNet-Manitoba will continue to communicate the valuable results these strategies create and urge subsequent initiatives to continue that progress.
There are some noticeable absences from the speech, including a poverty reduction plan with target and timelines. According to the 2011 Poverty Reduction Strategy Act, a new and revised strategy was required to be released in 2017. Consultations for developing the plan have been announced, however it is not clear if there will be a commitment to targets and timelines for addressing poverty in Manitoba.