MLA Report - May 26, 2020

Impact of Hydro cuts to Northern Manitoba

On Monday, May 4, phase one of the reopening of Manitoba’s economy began. Retailers, museums, golf courses, restaurant patios, therapeutic/ medical services, and campgrounds were reopened. However, public health guidelines and travel restrictions still remain in place. 

One would think that amidst the reopening of the economy, individuals across sectors will have more opportunity to work and continue to earn more money. However, at the direction of the provincial government, Manitoba Hydro is about to commence lay offs of 700 employees. 

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Currently, there is so much uncertainty as no one knows who will be laid off. It is even more frustrating for Hydro employees who have not been an exception to the stresses that have come about as a result of COVID-19. 

Also, northerners have raised some concerns. I have received numerous emails from community members about Hydro’s ability to respond to Hydro-related issues in the North in light of ongoing layoffs. Many are worried that there might be delayed responses to power outages in remote areas. The impact of the layoffs on northerners may go beyond the four months as well.  

This is a time in which Manitobans need jobs and not more cuts. northerners need quick and dependable service and not delays to Hydro issues being resolved in our communities. We urge the province to consider the vast impact of the Hydro layoffs to individuals in Northern Manitoba and reverse them. 

In the event that demand for Hydro services rises, be it for repairs, or power-related issues, northerners need to be confident that the response to these demands will be timely. More cuts present the perfect environment for increased and heightened uncertainty. The government has a responsibility to foster the confidence of northerners in Hydro service delivery. Right now, they are failing us. The NDP is against these job cuts and the possible reductions in Hydro services to northern communities.

If you have any questions, please email me or call 204-677-2744. For any concerns  about COVID-19, call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or 1 -888-315-9257.

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