City briefs

Manitoba Public Insurance fights against backlog

Following a 10-week strike to increase employee wages, Manitoba Public Insurance workers face a new challenge of clearing their backlog. As 1,700 employees returned to work Friday, Nov. 3, the MPI board asked the public for their patience. There are approximately 15,000 road tests needing to be rescheduled, excluding the number of people recently eligible to book, and 16,000 reported claims to process.

Students rally for free and accessible education

The Canadian Federation of Students Manitoba organized a National Day of Action Rally calling on the provincial and federal governments to increase funding for post-secondary education and eliminate tuition fees and student debt. The students’ union rallied at the Manitoba Legislature on Wednesday, Nov. 8, demanding free and accessible university and college education, including more support for Indigenous, international and graduate students and students with disabilities.

Sending medical supplies to DRC

Winnipeg-based organization International Hope Canada has been distributing repurposed non-pharmaceutical medical supplies to countries in need since 1997. The organization located in the North End loaded a shipping container full of birthing beds, gurneys, wheelchairs, knee braces, syringes, walkers, canes, hospital gowns and more on Tuesday, Nov. 7. The medical gear will arrive in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo in six to eight weeks, supplying hospitals and clinics in need of equipment.

Plans to transform hotel into Indigenous wellness centre

By the end of 2024, the Balmoral Hotel at 621 Balmoral St. and the beer vendor near the property will become a newly developed medical clinic, pharmacy, daycare and bus depot known as Pimicikamak Wellness Centre. Three investors plan to transform the 44-room hotel to include Indigenous-focused programming and a new home for 1JustCity, a West End community drop-in centre, which will provide free meals and services in the basement.

Province funds five Winnipeg-based shelters

Provincial funding for a new pilot program from October 2023 to March 2024 will help five shelters in Manitoba operate as 24/7 service hubs. The shelters will be able to expand their hours to accommodate daytime operations, so people experiencing homelessness and those in need of drop-in services can access meals, employment programs, medical care, counselling support and more. Siloam Mission and Main Street Project received $600,000 each as a part of the $2.6 million grant.

Inquest into five deaths in WPS custody begins

After a delay of more than four years, the inquest into the deaths of five men under the custody of the Winnipeg Police Service began Tuesday, Nov. 7. The inquest will examine the deaths of Patrick Gagnon, Michael Bagot, Randy Cochrane, Matthew Fosseneuve and Sean Thompson, which took place over a 12-month period starting in July 2018, and provide recommendations to prevent similar deaths. The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba found that although police restrained each man face-down, they did not cause or contribute to the mens’ deaths.

Published in Volume 78, Number 09 of The Uniter (November 9, 2023)

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