Our government has made key investments in Manitoba’s health-care system to provide better care sooner. The Canadian Institute for Health Information recently released data showing Manitoba has improved wait times in several areas including radiation therapy, hip fracture repair, CT scans and MRI scans. To accommodate our growing elderly population, we announced last November that we are investing over $5.3 million for at least an additional 1,000 hip and knee replacement surgeries and at least 2,000 more cataract surgeries this year. These numbers show that what we are doing is working. We will continue investing to ensure better health care is available sooner for northern residents and for all Manitobans.
Also this week, Cathy Cox, Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage, approved an arts development project support grant of $1,980 for the Thompson Festival of the Arts. Minister Cox also officially proclaimed April as Sikh Heritage Month, recognizing the Sikh community for its contributions to Manitoba culturally and economically. April is a significant month in Sikh culture and with this proclamation, Manitoba joins several other provinces in recognizing April as Sikh Heritage Month.
In other news, our Manitoba government has launched the Building Sustainable Communities Program, which will streamline grant support to non-profit organizations. We recognize the importance of community development initiatives and the role of the non-profit and volunteer sector. This new program will support our mandate to renew community development programs that promote capacity and sustainability, focus on results and improve partnerships. This program will be more responsive to community needs while reducing red tape and duplication for applicants. The overall funding will provide up to $75,000 per eligible project, and the program will be available to non-profit organizations, charitable groups, municipalities and Northern Affairs Community Councils. The first intake for applications runs until May 22. For information or to submit an application, visit www.manitobago.ca.