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Here's when Manitobans might be getting new plastic health cards

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Plastic health cards will be coming to Manitobans.

The provincial government announced Thursday that funding for new plastic health cards will be allocated in the budget that is set to be released next week.

“It’s 2024 – your health coverage shouldn’t rely on a torn, ripped-up health card,” said Premier Wab Kinew in a news release.

He added there will also be a digital option along with the plastic card.

Kinew said his government anticipates being able to roll out the new cards by next year.

The government said this step is part of a bigger plan to move the health-care system away from paper and toward electronic records.

Design plans for the new cards are expected to be shared in the months ahead, according to Kinew, and the government is also working to make it easier for people to apply for or make changes to health cards.

Manitoba has been an outlier in Canada with its paper cards.

CTV News reached out to each province and territory and asked if they use paper or plastic cards – most have been using plastic for decades.

PEI, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nunavut and the North West Territories all have plastic cards. Quebec for example has had plastic cards since 1970, according to a provincial spokesperson.

B.C. said plastic cards were introduced in 1989 and then in 2013 the government combined health cards with resident's driver's licenses.

Alberta residents have paper health cards, however, a provincial spokesperson told CTV News the province is exploring potential options for a more durable and secure health card.

The remaining provinces and territories have yet to respond.

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