Manitoba Reopens: Phase 1

We have posted many updates on this site and the pandemic has progressed. Like you, we are following news from around the world to monitor the situation and to provide advice to our clients. We have given interviews with the Winnipeg Free Press. We are concerned, for example, for our clients in Ecuador and Nigeria. Each jurisdiction has been handling this crisis differently, to various levels of success. Here in Canada, I am Manitobaextremely proud of how our government has handled this extreme situation. By all accounts, Canada has been faring much better than the USA, even on a per capita basis.

In Canada, Manitoba has done very well. We have very few cases and testing is easy. One of my staff was tested at a drive-through centre (negative) and results are available quickly. There is a screening tool and the province announced today they have a new website where anyone who is tested can access their results online. Easy and quick.

In a 34 page report, Manitoba has outlined 5 factors to determine when to reopen the province:

  1. LAB POSITIVITY RATE
  2. ACTIVE COVID-19 CASES
  3. HOSPITAL BEDS IN USE
  4. COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION
  5. PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

I am no medical expert, of course; however, I fully support the Manitoba government and we can be extremely proud of their work.

We get calls every day from folks who want to come to Manitoba for a better life. With good governance, it is understandable that many people took to Canada as the best place on earth.

It is a given that the future is uncertain. My staff will tell you that I often say, “hope for the best, plan for the worst”. In this case, it is not clear we will have a vaccine in 2020. It is more likely the vaccine will not come until 2021 or possibly 2022. We need to plan for the worst.

We remain open and we continue to work on behalf of our clients. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Health Care for Int’l Students

The Manitoba government recently announced that they are planning to repeal Health Care benefits for international students. Here at Clarke Immigration Law, we fundamentally disagree with this decision and urge Premier Pallister and his cabinet to reconsider this decision.

International Students Benefit Everyone

Our former Minister of Immigration and former profession at the University of Manitoba, John McCallum gave the keynote speech at the national CBA conference for immigration lawyers across Canada in 2016. During that speech, he highlighted the importance of supporting international students. These are highly skilled individuals who have been vetted by our learning institutions and they pay more in tuition for the privilege of studying in Canadian schools. These students, some of the brightest minds in the world, then seek to establish themselves and, possibly, their families in Canada.

Health Care

The Canadian health care system is arguably the best in the world. Doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, health care aides and many other professionals ensure that we receive the best services available. US media just had a field day when Canadian doctors protested that they are being paid too much. Presumably, this would be very unlikely south of the border.

International students are savvy. They look at schools in Manitoba and compare them with schools elsewhere. One of the benefits of coming to our province is the health care benefits. To attract these students, we need to ensure that they know they will be taken care of during their studies.

Long Term Policies

I fundamentally believe that maintaining health care benefits for international students is in the long-term interest of Manitoba. These students spend their summers working and their winters studying. They become settled in the province and they become connected to their communities. With the time that they spend developing their relationships, both personal and professional, they deepen their ties to this province. Keeping talent is in the best interest for the future.

Small Savings for Big Sacrifice

Let’s be honest. Cutting health care for international students is going to save very little on the bottom line. For the most part, these are young individuals with minor health issues. They have already been vetted before coming to Canada. This type of cost-cutting shows a short term perspective. The sacrifice to the province will be significant if international students decide to go elsewhere with their tuition dollars.

We urge the Manitoba government to reconsider this decision. This change in policy is not in the best interests of Manitoba.