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Downtown Winnipeg BIZ: Memo - The latest information for BIZ Members

Dear Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Member,

The re-opening news Wednesday felt like relief to so many and finally felt like a move towards a post-pandemic life for us here in downtown Winnipeg. In addition to that, there’s more good news from the Province yesterday in the form of support for re-hiring employees. At the same time, we know our community is hurting. The news of hundreds more unmarked graves found at the site of a residential school in Saskatchewan is heartbreaking. We stand with First Nations during this tragic and emotional time.

Over 30 nationalities are represented in our downtown, and Indigenous people make up 15% of our population. At the BIZ, we are committed to reconciliation and making downtown a place where everyone feels welcome.

We know there is more than one way to develop the knowledge, skills, understanding, and changed behaviour required on the journey to truth and reconciliation. For businesses looking for somewhere to start, I encourage you to take a look at The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s Truth and Reconciliation Roadmap (TRR) PDF.

Earlier this month, we planted the Indigenous Garden with support from APTN. While we know there’s so much more to be done, our hope is that the garden can be a small healing space in the heart of our city and we invite you to visit and enjoy the garden at Air Canada Park.

If you or someone you know is in need of support during this time, A 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to former residential school students and those affected, and can be accessed by calling 1-866-925-4419.

Province announces new Healthy Hire Manitoba Program

On June 24th, the Province announced a new wage subsidy program to support businesses (as well as non-profits, charitable organizations and community groups) while encouraging employees to get vaccinated and return to work.

Manitoba businesses can apply for up to $50,000, $5,000 per employee.

Under the Healthy Hire Manitoba Program, local employers can apply for provincial support to help cover 50% of wages for up to 10 new employees who can attest they have been vaccinated or will be vaccinated. The Manitoba Government says this rule will include employees who commit to getting vaccinated once vaccines are available to them. The wage support program is available for newly-hired employees who started working no earlier than June 10 or a rehired employee who worked for that employer in a previous year or who was laid off as a result of the public health restrictions.

According to the June 24 news release, employers will be eligible for this grant even if they are receiving funding from other programs.

The Province says more details, including eligibility, will be available early next week. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

As always, please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions:

Thank you,

Kate Fenske, CEO
Downtown Winnipeg BIZ