April 3, 2024

For Immediate Release


Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB Grand Chief Garrison Settee attended the Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew’s first budget announcement after taking office six months ago.

“We are pleased to see health-care improvements at the forefront of Budget 2024, with the pledge of 1,000 new health-care workers, including 100 doctors, 210 nurses, 90 paramedics and 600 health care aides. With persistent understaffing and excessive workloads affecting current health-care workers in the north, we urge the government to look towards increasing opportunities to train and retain health-care staff in First Nations. Promoting training prospects closer to home can lead to longevity and stabilization.”

With investments in medical transportation, including a helicopter medivac in northern Manitoba, a mobile MRI and a second permanent MRI in Thompson, dialysis services in Norway House Cree Nation and Pimicikamak Cree Nation, and the return of births to First Nations communities, is a step in the right direction. We look forward to working with the province to ensure these targets are addressed and met. Facilitating increased access to health-care resources can lead to the preservation and improvement of overall health outcomes.

As the national tragedy of MMIWG2S+ continues and our women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ folks and their loved ones continue to be impacted by the issue, we welcome the support from the Provincial Government. The trauma endured by families impacted by the issue of MMIWG2S+ require wholesome wraparound supports and services to assist them on their healing journeys. We require support from all levels of government to continue providing culturally relevant and trauma informed support services to impacted families. We are optimistic and hopeful to see funds being allocated for the search at Prairie Landfill. This is one step closer to bringing loved one’s home.

Addressing the continued overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care in Manitoba remains a priority for the MKO leadership. The primary reason Indigenous children come into care is neglect, and the underlying causes of neglect include poverty, poor housing, mental health, domestic violence, and the historical impacts of colonialism. While MKO is encouraged that Budget 2024 includes some investments in prevention to address these issues, there is a lack of investment in income and other supports needed to reduce poverty and keep families together.

MKO applauds the investment by Manitoba into the Wellbriety Centre in Thompson that provides a wholistic Indigenous approach in providing services and supports for people facing homelessness and addictions. MKO will receive a portion of the $500,000 dollars announced.

Other highlights from budget 2024 include:

Under the MMIWG strategy the development of 24/7 safe spaces and data collection between law enforcement, provincial and federal agencies will help to catch predators in our communities.

New funding in the amount of $1 million to offset inflation will go to winter roads in remote and northern communities.

$1.1 million increase on the cost share with Indigenous Services Canada to reinstate the winter road connecting St. Theresa Point and Beren’s River.

$30 million is allocated to repair and upgrade the rail line to Churchill as well as some planning dollars for the Port of Churchill.

$16.1 million on emergency ground transportation for two 24/7 ambulances in Thompson and Brandon with the paramedics to service them.

$8 million for Wildfire protection which includes 5 new initial attack trucks and repairing the weather station network.

$4 million for Indigenous Economic Development Fund to help entrepreneurs and organizations.

Funding for First Nations and Inuit Policing program as a direct response to Calls for Justice #5.4 ”…to transform policing into an exercise in self-governance and self-determination….”

First Nations Crisis response teams and support for an Indigenous court worker program.

$11 million for various mental health and addictions programs including a supervised consumption site with wraparound services.

$1.1 million for integrated youth services including mental health supports, addictions, preliminary care, cultural/spiritual care, social services, housing for ages 12 – 29 years in rural and northern Manitoba.

Seal River Watershed district will receive $500,000 for an Aquatic Invasive Species program.

$4.5 million in new funding for arts/culture/sports.


For more information:

Naomi Clarke, MKO Communications

Phone: 204-612-1284

Email: [email protected]

Web: https://mkonation.com/


Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is a non-profit, political advocacy organization that has represented 26 First Nation communities in Manitoba’s North since 1981. The MKO represents more than 72,000 First Nations people.