November 28th, 2022

The Manitoba Provincial Government opened the 5th Session of the 42nd Legislature with a Throne Speech on November 15 2022. This speech serves to outline what exactly the provincial government will be working on throughout the duration of each legislative session.

The government stressed the importance of “continu[ing] to listen to and work with Manitobans to accomplish shared goals”. Students are an incredibly important part of our province and community; therefore, UMSU strongly believes that one of these shared goals should be strengthening student supports. Ensuring that student needs are taken into account is vital to our province’s success.

Correspondingly, UMSU was eager to hear about the government’s plan for healthcare for international students. In the speech, Premier Stefanson said that “To make us more competitive, our government has and will continue to make strategic investments in venture capital and infrastructure.” We agree that making our province more competitive should be a top priority and feel that one such way to do this is to invest in international student healthcare. We will continue to advocate for this issue, but we were saddened that the throne speech did not bring forward a solution to the international student healthcare crisis currently happening in Manitoba.

Moreover, UMSU has been very clear on our perspective that performance-based funding (PBF) is problematic. UMSU, as well as many other important PSE stakeholders from across the province and nation, have expressed to governments that PBF is a damaging model that will harm our students’ and our institutions, and one that we are strongly opposed to. While we wish that Premier Stefanson addressed these concerns in the Throne Speech, we will note that, in an interview after the speech she stated, “I’m always in favour of performance measures, but I think … as we’ve come through COVID, there’s been some challenges”. While this metric falls under the jurisdiction the Honorable Minister of Advanced Education, Jon Reyes, it is interesting to hear Premier Stefanson’s viewpoint.

Another section of the speech states that the Government of Manitoba understands the “essential” need for collaboration with post-secondary institutions, and that the provincial government is ‘on track’ with supports for post-secondary students. While we appreciate the willingness of the Manitoba government to collaborate with PSE stakeholders, we must ensure that these collaborations are fruitful, and not just an attempt to pacify concerned citizens at the surface level. 

UMSU will always advocate for the rights of students. There are a variety of serious issues facing students and our province at large that must be addressed, and we will continue to push our government policymakers to take action. UMSU will be steadfast in our participating in meaningful conversations with the government about what students need.


Victoria Romero, UMSU Vice President of Advocacy
Jaron Rykiss, UMSU President