In today’s message you will find: 

PM and Premier Announce Major Health Funding Deal

Actions Respond to Our Recommendations

Today, the provincial and federal governments announced $633 million in new funding to improve health care in Manitoba, and the priorities listed are responsive to several of the recommendations from Doctors Manitoba and our members to improve health care in our province. 

The funding comes as the provincial and federal governments sign a formal bilateral agreement on health care funding, called the Working Together agreement. This includes $434 million for a three-year action plan to improve health care and $199 million for a five-year plan focused on care for seniors. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Wab Kinew both identified their top priority is addressing the shortage of doctors and other health professionals, which is also the top priority identified by Manitoba’s physicians. Specifically, Manitoba has committed to use this funding to add 400 more doctors, 300 more nurses, 200 more paramedics and 100 more home care workers. 

Our Past President, Dr. Candace Bradshaw, was at the announcement today with the PM and Premier and other dignitaries. She spoke to media after, saying physicians will be encouraged by today’s announcement because it responds to what doctors have recommended to improve our health care system.” She noted that while Doctors Manitoba is encouraged by the news today and has offered our support and advice on how to best implement the funding, we will be watching closely” to ensure full transparency and accountability on how this new increased funding is spent. 

In anticipation of the announcement, our President Dr. Michael Boroditsky emphasized the importance of prioritizing recruitment and retention. Whether it’s trouble finding a family physician, difficulty seeing a specialist or getting a procedure, or facing long wait times or closures in ERs, the common cause is the significant shortage of physicians, nurses and other health-care providers,” Dr. Boroditsky explained in a news story posted before today’s Agreement was unveiled. 

Doctors Manitoba is carefully analyzing the final text of the Agreement. Our initial review finds Manitoba has also agreed to:

  • Expand hospital capacity with more inpatient beds, beyond what the provincial government had initially agreed to during last year’s election, and surgical capacity.
  • Expand mental health and addictions care, including adding psychiatrist and psychologist positions and other mental health professionals as well as expanding other services such ECHO in primary care, suicide prevention, and peer support.
  • Improvements for care of the elderly, including everything from elder abuse services, dementia support, home care, and personal care homes. 

These actions align with several recommendations made in our Prescription for Improving Health Care released last summer. 

We will continue to monitor how these funds are implemented, to ensure they are delivering the help physicians and patients have been waiting for. 

COVID Isolation Benefit Ending

We have been informed by Manitoba Health that it is discontinuing the COVID-19 Isolation Support Benefit for physicians, effective March 31, 2024. This means isolation claims can still be submitted, assuming the first day of isolation occurs on or before this date. All claims must be submitted to Doctors Manitoba by April 30, 2024. You can review eligibility for this benefit and submit applications on our website.

We are disappointed with the province’s decision to terminate the benefit, though it appears other provinces that had similar benefits have already ended their programs. Doctors Manitoba negotiated this benefit early in the pandemic, when rules were put in place requiring health care workers to isolate under specific conditions, meaning they were unable to work. Those rules were relaxed last October (see here).

Since the benefit has been in place, 1,412 physicians have qualified for the benefit, supporting them through 6,646 missed days of work due to COVID-19 isolation or illness. More recently, the volume of applications has slowed significantly. 

While most COVID-related absences from work are short-term, some can turn in to longer term absences. Doctors Manitoba offers not-for-profit insurance for physicians to help cover overhead costs and income starting after a two-to-four-week absence from work. You can request a free insurance consultation from our in-house insurance advisor, Mark Venton, by contacting him in confidence at mventon@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca or at 2049855846.

Growing Team Offering Practice Advice

A few months ago, we told you about how we are building a bigger team with broader skills to better meet your needs. Our former negotiations teams is growing into our new Practice Advice and Compensation team. 

A few weeks ago, Michelle McKay joined the team in a new role called Practice Advisor, creating a new pattern for helping physicians with the practical parts of managing the business side of a medical practice. This can include questions about billing and remuneration, as well as other aspects of a physician’s practice, operations, and professional obligations. She will also be our lead on collective agreements. 

Delivering these resources are another way Doctors Manitoba is finding ways to support physicians’ economic and professional well-being.

Michelle joined the team at Doctors Manitoba last month, moving from a 25-year career with Prairie Mountain Health in the southwest part of the province. This role provides an opportunity to continue to advocate for rural and northern doctors, while also supporting those in Winnipeg too,” said Michelle, adding that her experience and perspective is something she will continue to draw on in her new position.

I’m a rural person at heart,” said Michelle, adding that she is someone who loves to be outside running, skiing and hiking. A mom to two grown children, Michelle is also an avid quilter and more recently is teaching herself how to crochet. 

In her first few weeks on the job, Michelle has been focused on learning more about the Physician Services Agreement and other agreements with Regional Health Authorities. Ongoing, she will be looking to identify what support physicians need and want, and together with Doctors Manitoba team members, develop the resources and services to meet those needs. Michelle is looking forward to travelling across the province to meet with physicians and talk to clinic staff.

Michelle joins existing team members Ian Foster, Roger Jamieson, Braden Kalichuk, Aiyana Crolly and Cheryl Bezte. We also have another new position posted, called New to Practice Advisor, which you can learn more about here. We will soon post another role focused on data analysis that will help support the ongoing economic analysis that is vital to our work in ensuring Manitoba’s physicians are competitively remunerated. 

If you would like to request advice from Michelle or help from the broader Practice Advice and Compensation Team, please contact them at practiceadvice@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.

Every No” is a Stepping Stone to Success

Aisha Haji Hussein’s Journey Towards Equitable Medicine — Black History Month Feature

Aisha Haji Hussein connected to her community well before she connected with her chosen career. I was indecisive. I thought I would be a journalist or CEO.” When she was studying business administration and neuroscience at the University of Winnipeg, medicine sparked her interest.

That spark became a flame as a volunteer with Women’s Health Clinic.

It was there that I saw myself enjoying a career in medicine, one where I could make an impact,” said Aisha, now a medical student at the University of Manitoba, where she advocates for equity and inclusion initiatives as part of the Black Medical Students Association in addition to other leadership roles on and off campus.

Becoming a Black medical learner arrives with a weightiness that others don’t find themselves having to carry, referred to as the minority tax. There are extra responsibilities and unpaid labour that minorities do to increase diversity in academia. Because there are so few Black medical learners, I often feel compelled to complete tasks and commit to roles so there is a Black perspective.

This is a role I proudly embrace, but it can become draining. I often have multiple people to mentor, multiple events to organize and multiple committees I’m on in addition to my obligations as a student. If I don’t do it, who will?”

Her commitment to diversity is one of the reasons Aisha was named one of Doctors Manitoba’s Top 40 Under 40. Diversity is necessary in order to have an equitable and just health care system. Studies have shown that having a doctor with the same race and ethnicity improves patient outcomes. It’s imperative that the composition of physicians mirrors the diversity of the population across all levels.”

As she continues to grow her skills, she looks to build the qualities she identifies as those of a good leader in medicine, including vision, bravery and compassion. 

Medicine is ever-evolving. Innovation and strategic thinking are necessary to drive meaningful changes.” Bravery is needed to challenge the status quo and prioritize what is right over the opinions of peers, she said.

Compassion is crucial in order to understand patients and empathize with issues that people navigating the healthcare system feel, even if you have not experienced those challenges yourself. Recognize the human impact of your decisions and let that guide the choices that you make.”

While she identifies time management skills as an additional quality of a leader, she notes one of the most complex challenges women in medicine face is balancing personal and professional life. The workplace culture and expectations within medicine are not conducive to having a fruitful personal life, with family commitments of children and a partner.” 

In the future, she sees herself working in a clinic that prioritizes immigrant and refugee health. I would like to continue participating in mentorship roles within the Black Medical Students Association. I also hope to pursue opportunities to address healthcare disparities both nationally and abroad. I dream of contributing to international medicine initiatives in the future.”

In looking forward, Aisha also reflects on the advice she would give her younger self. One quote that resonates with me is a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.’ If you do not ask or apply yourself, you will never get it. Apply for the scholarship, apply for the job, ask for the opportunity. 

The worst thing that someone can tell you is no, and once you get comfortable with the idea of being rejected, you will lose the apprehension to work towards the things you want. Every no” is a stepping stone towards success. Act with integrity and trust yourself to make choices that align with your moral standards, and everything will fall into place, personally and professionally.”

Her advice specifically for Black learners interested in pursuing medicine includes finding a mentor in another Black medical leaner, by asking around or discovering them online in places like @uofm.bmsa on Instagram. She also emphasized doing the things you enjoy in your spare time that aren’t tied to an identity as a pre-med student, from community involvement, clubs, and sports. For Aisha, that means traveling, like her recent trip to Peru and a seeing Machu Picchhu., and exercise as a self-described pilates princess.

Finally,she advises doing all you can to keep up academically and achieve good grades.

You know what they say, sleep is temporary, but GPA is forever.’ At some points in your educational journey you may have to sacrifice sleep, or your social life to reach your educational aspirations. But if your goal is medicine, it is imperative that you thug it out even when school gets tough.”

Support Following Tragic Incidents in Southern Manitoba

This past Sunday the town of Carman lost 5 of it’s community members — 1 woman and 4 children- in abhorrent acts of violence by one individual at multiple crime scenes in Southern Manitoba. Physicians mourn with all Manitobans after this devastating and senseless loss of life and offer our support and sympathy to the families and community impacted by this tragic incident. We encourage Manitobans to explore Shared Health’s mental health and wellness resource finder.

Help for Doctors

A tragic event like this can affect physicians too. In small towns and rural communities, physicians are part of the heart of the community. Doctors Manitoba has special resources available to help you or your colleagues through Doc360. Please reach out for help and support at any time. It may be useful to review the signs and responses to traumatic events. We have pulled two short resource sheets from our Doc360 Physician and Family Support Program:

The Doc360 Physicians at Risk Program is available to support medical students, residents, practicing physicians, their spouses and adult children with a variety of issues, including trauma, anxiety, loss and bereavement. 

Free Secure Physician Messaging

All physicians now have free access to secure provider messaging through Manitoba Telehealth’s MyMBT Messaging (Cortext).

You can sign up by completing this intake form, and emailing it to servicedesk@​sharedhealthmb.​ca using the subject line: New MyMBT. This form can be used for individual or bulk registrations. Quick Reference Guides are available on the MBTelehealth website under the MyMBT section.

Last week, we profiled another free Doctors Manitoba member benefit – complimentary subscriptions to UpToDate. This is an online, continuously updated clinical decision support resource for medical knowledge at the point of care. We have heard from a few community-based physicians who have had challenges registering with for this service and we are following up on this. 

Health System Updates

COVID Vaccine Update

Public Health issued an update today about COVID vaccine eligibility and uptake on the flu vaccine.

Public Health is updating vaccine eligibility so that the following individuals may receive another dose of XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccine, provided it has been at least three months from the most recent dose:

  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Indigenous people 45 years of age and older, regardless of place of residence
  • Adult residents of long-term care homes and other congregate living settings for seniors
  • Individuals six months of age and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised

Starting May 1, except for circumstances to be considered on a case-by-case basis, COVID-19 immunizations will not be available until the fall 2024 COVID-19 immunization program begins.This is to minimize the impact of getting a late COVID-19 vaccine dose on a client’s eligibility for a fall vaccine.

Public Health also encouraged physicians to continue recommending the influenza and COVID vaccines to patients who have not yet received them. The health system continues to experience increased strain with respiratory virus-related admissions. 

This information is being updated on theprovincial COVID-19 vaccine eligibility page. Health care providers may also direct any questions to vaccines@​gov.​mb.​ca.

Shared Health Shakeup

Earlier this week, the Minister of Health announced changes to the Board of Directors for Shared Health. Dr. Brian Postl, a former Dean of Medicine and past CEO of the WRHA, will now be the Chair of the Board of Directors. Dr. Postl received the Doctors Manitoba Distinguished Service Award in 2022. You can see the mandate assigned to Dr. Postl and the Board in this letter from the Minister here.

Shared Health is responsible for the provincial planning of health services. This includes responsibility for some direct operations including for Manitoba’s largest hospital HSC as well as diagnostic services and emergency medical response. Shared Health has a direct impact on physicians as it is responsible for coordinating all hospital privileges and has provincial medical specialty leads who help to plan and coordinate services across all health regions. They play an important role in recruitment and retention as well. 

Shared Health’s current Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Perry Gray, will be retiring in a few months and recruitment is underway for his replacement. 

PMH has a New but Familiar CEO

Prairie Mountain Health announced its new CEO earlier this week. Treena Slate will take over as CEO from Brian Schoonbaert, who will retire April 5, 2024. Slate has held many roles during her years in healthcare, including a staff nurse, educator, public health nurse, manager, director and most recently, Regional Lead – Acute Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer for Prairie Mountain Health. See the PMH announcement here for more details.

In Case You Missed It

Here’s our most popular recent posts, in case you missed them:


Black Physician & Medical Learner Connection Event — February 23, 2024 6 – 9pm

Black Manitobans are a diverse and rich group in the province with origins in Africa, the Caribbean and the United States. Doctors, at all stages of training, reflect the Black population that we serve, and provide exceptional care to our communities. Despite our many achievements, Black doctors and medical learners often feel isolated and underrepresented in medicine. Black History Month provides an opportunity to highlight Black doctors’ contributions in Manitoba and for us to meet, establish connections with each other, provide mentorship and share our stories.

Join us as Black Doctors and medical learners on February 23 as we celebrate Black excellence. Register now.

Elevating Patient Voices in Medicine — February 17, 2024 from 8:30am-4pm

Join us at the University of Manitoba’s second annual EDI Medical Conference. Discover the power of patient advocacy in medicine through diverse insights from both healthcare professionals and patients. Register now.

Hippocratic High Notes

Come and join the Hippocratic High Notes a brand new choir for female physicians, active and retired, residents and medical learners! where we embrace our inner rock stars and turn our stethoscopes into microphones. A musical escapade that is a fun, bucket-filling activity also aimed at building bridges and making connections! 

All are welcome! No auditions! No experience needed! Just bring enthusiasm, a desire to sing and to have fun!!

Practice is on Tuesday evenings in Winnipeg with space to accommodate kids if needed! 

Register ASAP here!

Transplant Manitoba Quiz Night!

Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life is hosting a fun and entertaining evening of trivia with our friends at Quizmasters this spring and we are inviting you and your organization to join the action.

This fundraising event is an early kick-off to National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (NOTDAW 2024 runs from April 2127) and proceeds will support our continued efforts to raise organ and tissue donation awareness within the community.

For just $10 a ticket (that’s $60 — $80 a table) this signup​for​life​.ca Quiz Night fundraiser offers participants an interactive event alongside our Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life teams, fantastic volunteers and partners to compete over the course of eight rounds of questions about current events, general knowledge, music, visual, speed and of course, organ and tissue donation. At the end of the night, the team with the highest score wins. There will be snacks and prizes!


  • When: Wednesday, April 17, 2024 from 6:309:30 pm
  • Where: Garden City Community Centre, 725 Kingsbury Ave. Plenty of free parking in the surrounding lots!
  • How: Pull together a team of six-eight, select a team name and a captain, and have them confirm your table and cash payment before March 1 with Roberta Koscielny, 2047871897 or rkoscielny2@​hsc.​mb.​ca. Space is limited, so don’t delay!

It is going to be a fun night and this relaxed evening offers you the opportunity to meet some of our staff and learn more about Leave Well, the latest national awareness campaign launched in partnership with Canadian Blood Services and meet the Orgamites, a CBS resource developed for early learning. Hope to see you there!

Tired but Wired: Tools for Insomnia Relief — February 29, 2024 Time: 7:00 — 8:30 pm

Join us for a virtual interactive workshop focused on practical strategies to help support healthy sleep for Doctors Manitoba members in every career stage. Register here.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review principles and core components of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT‑I)
  2. Understand factors that might predispose medical learners and physicians to insomnia
  3. Identify available resources related to CBT‑I
  4. Explore additional strategies to support healthy sleep

Navigating Your First Home Purchase in Canada- February 21, 2024 — 6 – 7pmCST

A home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime – and it’s a personal one. This early career physician focused discussion with MD Financial Management will equip you with the knowledge to support your home buying decisions and will help ensure the process is as seamless and exciting as possible. Register here.

During this webinar with MD Financial Management we will dicuss:

  • a brief market update 
  • financial considerations for homeownership
  • renting vs. buying
  • investments as a source of financing
  • mortgage considerations
  • what to expect during the pre-approval process
  • choosing an interest rate that’s right for you

DRMB Book Club — March 7, 2024 — 7 — 8pm

A memoir about intergenerational trauma, healing, and connection. Facing up to a story nearly erased by the designs of history, father and son journey together back to the trapline at Black Water and through the past to create a new future. Join us for our fourth virtual book meeting on Thursday, March 7, 2024, from 7:00pm – 8:30pm as we read the Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the year,​“Blackwater” by David A Robertson. We are thrilled to announce that the author will be joining our virtual book club for a Q+A. There will also be a chance for the group to discuss the book and share thoughts. Register Here!

The Doctors Manitoba Physician Health and Wellness committee is committed to providing opportunities for building connection and community in medicine.

Rehabilitation Centre for Children Open House

The Specialized Services for Children and Youth (SSCY) Rehabilitation Centre for Children is hosting an open house for primary care providers and pediatricians on Wednesday, March 13 from noon to 5:30 p.m.

Attend for tours and information about clinics at the centre, located at 1155 Notre Dame Ave. Refreshments provided. For more information, contact Pam Becker at 047972660 or email pamb@​rccinc.​ca.