Lay-offs, program cuts at Winnipeg community group amid funding shortage
Published Friday, April 21, 2017 4:04PM CST
Last Updated Friday, April 21, 2017 5:44PM CST
A Winnipeg community group said it had to lay-off staff and scale back programming because of a pause in funding from the provincial government.
Daniel McIntyre-St. Matthews Community Association Executive Director Kemlin Nembhard said the six employees have been given pink slips.
The association runs a slew of programming and operates a community resource centre.
Nembhard blames the funding shortfall on the Pallister government’s decision to put a pause on the Neighbourhoods Alive! program pending a review.
The initiative funds community organizations in an effort to help revitalize neighbourhoods.
While almost $6 million was set aside in the provincial budget for the initiative, Nembhard said the cash hasn't fully come through on two long-term agreements.
“The government hasn’t been communicating very well, or at all,” Nembhard said. “One of the funding agreements, we’ve gotten a quarter payment of that and the other one, we’ve gotten no details of whether it’s going to come, if it’s going to come.”
Now, Nembhard said they’ve had to scale back a number of programs.
“It's really disheartening for me, and it also really worries me about what the impact is going to be for people in our community who count on us,” she said.
Nembhard said a number of other neighbourhood renewal groups have had the same funding issues.
“Across the province, so not just in Winnipeg, organizations are really being forced into this same position,” she said.
Meanwhile, the province said Neighbourhoods Alive! agencies already received first quarter payments. It maintains funding will continue throughout the year.
“We wrote to these organizations to confirm our commitment to the program. We will continue to engage and work with community organizations to improve these programs in the coming months, including direct consultations on how changes should be implemented,” the province said in a statement.
“In the meantime, funding will continue to flow. The Minister has directed staff to reach out to each NGO to clarify any misunderstanding with respect to funding.”