Manitoba

Manitoba commits $830K to add nursing school spots at Red River College Polytechnic

The Manitoba government is spending $830,000 to create 30 more nurse training spaces at Red River College Polytechnic to addressing staffing shortages in the province.

Money expected to create 30 new seats

Red River College Polytechnic will admit 30 more students to its nurse training program in the upcoming school year. (Mikaela MacKenzie/Winnipeg Free Press/The Canadian Press)

The Manitoba government is spending $830,000 to create 30 more nurse training spaces at Red River College Polytechnic to addressing staffing shortages in the province. 

The money will go toward renovating classrooms, adding laboratory equipment and paying for new staff, supplies and other needs to make space for the extra students in the upcoming school year, Health Minister Audrey Gordon and Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes said at a news conference Wednesday.

"The investment helps us build for the future by increasing the number of nurses trained to work in Manitoba and address challenges caused by the COVID pandemic," Gordon said. 

The government promised in 2021 to create 400 nurse training seats at post-secondary education institutions in Manitoba over multiple years. 

As of December 2021, there were about 800 nursing training seats in the province. 

Asked when the province expects to meet the training target, Reyes could not provide a specific date, but said his department is constantly talking with the province's colleges and universities about ways to increase the number of nurses trained in Manitoba. 

"It is a priority of our government," he said. 

Red River College Polytechnic slashed 75 seats from its nursing program in 2019 after the college was forced to cut programs, lay off staff and reduced enrolment to cope with rising operating costs and a reduced operating grant from the province.

The province's 2022 budget included $11 million for strategies to increase the number of nursing students in Manitoba.

At the time, the head of the Manitoba Nurses Union said more money for education is good, but what nurses need is respite from chronic understaffing now. 

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