Green Party of Manitoba
DMV2016 asked each leader after the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Debate on April 14, "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?
Yes, the Green Party of Manitoba is committed to the full and timely implementation of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA). The current government has been too slow to implement the standards, and at this rate AMA will not be implemented by 2023 as the government has promised.
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?
The Green Party of Manitoba will commit to establishing standards for employment, transportation, information and communication, and built environments. We will in consultation with all stakeholders work to implement these standards as soon as possible.
What will your party do to ensure that organizations follow the standards that are developed?
In terms of implementation the Green Party of Manitoba will take a three pronged approach:
- we will focus on better public education about the standards;
- we will work to establish a third party agency that can investigate complaints on behalf of people; and
- we will utilize fines and other penalties when necessary.
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?
Will your party commit to eliminating the wage disparities currently in place for Disability Support Workers?
Will your party commit to implementing standards and equitable wages for all Disability Support Workers comparable to other caring professions in Manitoba?
Many disability support workers would benefit from the Green Party of Manitoba’s guaranteed annual income (GAI) proposal. We encourage you to read our proposal at: http://greenparty.mb.ca/greens-launch-election-campaign-plan-reduce-poverty-half/. Our proposal would nearly cut poverty rates in half, for those on EIA it would result in a roughly 25% increase in income. Our GAI proposal therefore would have positive impacts for both people living with a disability and in many cases for people caring for people with a disability.
The fact that many disability support workers would benefit from our GAI is however simply a reflection of the fact that disability support workers are among the lowest paid human service staff in Manitoba. This is shameful. This results in disabled people very often not having the benefit of the care of consistent staff over their lifetime due to high turnover rate of disability support staff. This is costly because by having more consistent disability staff we can help to improve outcomes, including capturing the human capital potential of disabled people through paid employment or volunteer work, and this will save money and increase tax revenues long-term.
The Green Party of Manitoba would review the funding grants and other support given to the non-profit agencies responsible for hiring disability support staff in comparison to other caring professions, with the objective of eliminating the current wage disparities currently in place for disability support workers, as well as looking at implementing other strategies that would increase disability support staff retention rates.
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?
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?
Current wait times are simply unacceptable, and we must do more because early intervention is critical in many cases, and delays in providing services at an earlier period ends up costing us more long-term.
Greens would expand medicare to include mental health services. We need to recognize that mental health is just like any other health condition. We feel by expanding medicare that we could help to reduce wait times for access to psychologists for people requiring mental health treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, suicide intervention including after care, post-natal depression, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and many other mental health conditions. Early intervention for children with autism in critical because it is often much more effective for socialization skills to be learned at an earlier age. Wait times for residential services for families with adult children with intellectual disabilities of up to 10 years is simply appalling, and could impact the child’s prospects of independent living later in life. Greens will do better to address these many needs. Greens will place a higher emphasis on dealing with these wait times, including increase funding when necessary, to address the wait times because by addressing these needs we will better be able to capture the human potential of all of our citizens. When we include everyone, when more people are working and included in meaningful ways, then we all prosper.
The Greens are fully committed to a transparent and accountable system of measuring and publicly reporting on wait times. Without proper numbers we have no way of tracking or being accountable for progress, or lack thereof.
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?
What will your party do to realize the employment potential of persons with disabilities with the broader provincial economy?
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?
Unleashing the employment potential for Manitobans with disabilities starts with greater public awareness. There are unjustified stereotypes and stigmas regarding employing people with disabilities. Studies show that employing people with disabilities is not just the right thing to do, it is also good for the bottom line. As politicians we have the ability to use our public profile to bring light to these facts. The Green Party of Manitoba is prepared to be that leader today. If we form Government we would also consider expanded and/or improved public awareness campaigns to promote the hiring of people with disabilities. The Green Party of Manitoba would also investigate using regulations under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, or similar statute, to incentivize the greater hiring of people with disabilities. Our guaranteed annual income proposal (GAI) also offers people greater economic freedom making it easier for disabled and non-disabled people alike to start a business, or go back to school to upgrade their training.
We would also increase the target for government hiring of people with disabilities to be reflective of the percentage of Manitoba’s population who are living with a disability. Currently the governments target is 9%, we would raise that target to 16%. In order for the public awareness campaigns described above to work effectively, then government needs to lead by example. The Green Party of Manitoba is prepared to be that leader today.
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?
Will your party commit to introducing an alternative income program for Manitobans with severe and prolonged disabilities during the next term in office?
The Green Party of Manitoba is proposing to implement a guaranteed annual income (GAI) for all Manitobans. Our proposal would nearly cut poverty rates in half, increase the disposable incomes of poor families by 22%, and for those on Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) it would result in a roughly 25% increase in income.
A GAI will be provided to adult (18+) Manitobans in the form of a refundable tax credit delivered through the income tax system. It will feature a guarantee based on family size, which will then be reduced at a fixed benefit reduction rate against total family income (market income + pensions + federal transfer payments) until the net benefit reaches $0. For a single individual the guarantee starts at $6,300 and a person continues to receive a portion of this benefit until their income exceeds $39,375. For a two-person family or a four-person family, the guarantee respectively starts at $8,910 and $12,600 with the net benefit reaching $0 at when combined family income exceeds $55,687 and $78.750 respectively.
For those claiming the federal disability tax credit or infirm dependants tax credit, the guarantee will be increased by a fixed amount of $1000.
We encourage you to read further about our GAI proposal at: http://greenparty.mb.ca/greens-launch-election-campaign-plan-reduce-poverty-half/.
On a longer term basis, the green party of Manitoba would the Greens would create a community led anti-poverty task force comprised of representatives from both the community and government that will prepare an anti-poverty plan that will identify key gaps in existing programs and identify the measures needed to fill them, and propose methods for evaluating the effectiveness of existing of existing and new programs. The document will then be shared with the public for further feedback. Part of the focus of the anti-poverty task force will be reviewing EIA programs, so that programs are more streamlined, less bureaucratic, and more targeted at particular needs, such as the specific needs of the disability community.