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I had a wonderful time participating in this year’s I Love to Read Month festivities. I had the opportunity to visit many schools and read to many different classes throughout the Dawson Trail constituency. I always enjoy interacting with the students, answering their unique and curious questions, and sharing with them the value and joy of reading.

I’d like to highlight two recent announcements from our provincial government. Firstly, the RM of Taché will be receiving an additional 74 child care spots as part of our government’s Ready-to-move child care program. This is great news for our community. Our PC Team has continued to push for more affordable, accessible child care, and we are delivering on it.

Secondly, our government is investing over $123 million in nine initiatives to retain, recruit and support nurses, which builds on our commitment to end mandated overtime and add 2,000 health-care professionals through the Health Human Resource Action Plan. Since the launch of the Health Human Resource Action Plan in November of last year, more than 330 new health-care providers have been hired, including nurses, health-care aides, physicians, and other staff who provide bedside care.

As we have already started to see, these programs and incentives will improve nurse staffing where there are high demands and needs in the health-care system. The incentives for nurses include, a new hourly premium for nurses who work weekend hours; a new annual payment for nurses who hold the equivalent of a full-time position, as this helps to build more stability in the workforce; reimbursing the costs of nurses’ professional licensing fees; an annual incentive for nurses who are eligible to retire but choose to remain in the workforce for up to an additional two years, to retain valued expertise and build capacity as new nurses are recruited into the workforce; an incentive for nurses who have previously left the profession but choose to return to the workforce; a new refer-a-nurse program for current nurses who refer a prospective nurse to a Manitoba employer; a provincial float pool to support nurse staffing needs across the province; a travel nurse incentive which will provide an additional hourly premium for nurses who travel to work in remote locations; and a wellness incentive, which adds additional funds to the health spending accounts of full and part-time nurses to help to cover the costs of eligible expenses.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my constituency office.

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