Budget also proposes new nursing facility

By: Nathan Richison

Some students are feeling optimistic after the Manitoba government announced a cap on tuition increases earlier this month during the unveiling of the 2023 provincial budget.

“Things will always have to cost more money. So, it’s good to hear that it is capped off,” said Paolo Siapno, a Digital Media Design student. “An increase [in tuition] is always a negative thing for us students.”

This year’s provincial budget included two main points that will impact Red River College Polytechnic students. First, a 2.75 per cent cap on tuition increases for post-secondary institutions. Second, funds for a new facility to support additional seats in the nursing program.

Paolo Siapno looks out the window on the second floor of Manitou a bi Bii daziigae on Mar. 14, 2023. (Nathan Richison)

Manpreet Kaur, president of the students’ association said the tuition increase is a step in the right direction.

“A cap on tuition is very helpful for students… it allows students and the school to plan and prepare [including budgeting and work hours]” said Kaur.

For other students, the cap on this year’s tuition increase isn’t an issue, since they don’t pay for their own education.

“I’m lucky enough that my parents are able to pay for the schooling. That’s a good change for those who aren’t as fortunate as I am,” said Jake Matwiy, an IT Operations student.

As for the new nursing facility, Siapno said it will make a positive impact for those looking to go into healthcare.

“With the culture of the people here in Winnipeg, they aim their children to be in the healthcare. With more seats for nursing… It leaves more opportunity… and, you know, our healthcare system could definitely do with that,” said Siapno.

The province put out a news release on March 7, promising $7.5 million for a new facility that provides simulated workplace experience for healthcare programs and to, “support up to an additional 115 nursing seats.”

The province also announced new incentives for nurse recruitment and retention to help strengthen the healthcare system in a earlier release in February. The incentives include “new hourly premium for nurses who work weekend hours” and “reimbursing the costs of nurses’ professional licensing fees.”

The provincial budget for 2023-24 will be approved in the coming weeks.