COVID-19: Immediately increase the EIA budget by $300 per person, per month for the duration of the pandemic

Make Poverty History Manitoba is calling on the province of Manitoba to provide emergency financial help to individuals on Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What We Need Immediately

We call for the province to immediately increase the EIA budget by $300 per person per month for the duration of the pandemic.

Manitoba can follow the example of BC, which just announced a COVID19 supplement for three months for those on disability and income assistance.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, community resource centres that provide free phones, computers, meals, and other resources have shut down. School meal programs that fed thousands of children each day are not no longer operating. Community organizations are scrambling to respond but the need is massive. Winnipeg Harvest is struggling to meet demand. For people who usually stretch their EIA budget monthly, options for shopping are limited. Employment options have dried up, and looking for work is impossible given the public health order to stay home. 

“This is a public health and harm reduction issue – you can’t call Healthlinks without a phone. COVID-19 has made life more challenging for everyone, especially vulnerable Manitobans.”

-Desiree McIvor, MPHM Steering Committee member

There are over 73,000 individual Manitobans on EIA according to the last Department of Families annual report (2018/19). EIA rates are so low, many cannot afford to have a telephone or cell phone. Emergency funding is needed for food and communication needs like wifi or cellphones. The only option to get referred to a COVID-19 testing site is through calling HealthLinks, which is impossible for people who cannot afford a cell phone with current EIA rates, let alone a chance to communicate with loved ones during a period of social distancing.

“We need to get money into the hands of people who need it most –  the province of Manitoba has a responsibility to help those who rely on provincial social assistance to get through this crisis.”

-Michael Barkman, MPHM Chair

What We Need in the Long Term

Make Poverty History Manitoba has been calling on the province to transform EIA into a Livable Basic Needs Benefit to raise those on assistance above the poverty line. This would be an important transformation in the future to make sure every Manitoban has their basic needs met.

The amount of welfare single individuals receive is barely enough to survive upon. Currently the province provides a single individual on EIA $195 for basic needs, $576 from Rent Assist and they receive a GST credit of $24 per month for a total of $784 per month. A single person on disability receives just over $1,000 per month. The benefits for single individuals and people with disabilities are extremely low, almost half of the poverty line. EIA rates should be increased immediately so that people are not in survivalist mode and are able to meet their basic needs and, if they are able, return to work as soon as possible.

take action now

Click on this link to send an email to the Premier (or use:, Families Minister Heather Stefanson (or use and your MLA (see the list below to find their contact information) and tell them you expect your provincial government to:

“Provide immediate emergency support of $300 a month to all EIA recipients per month until the pandemic is over.”

Alphabetical List by Members’ Name:

Member Constituency Party
ADAMS, Danielle Thompson NDP
ALTOMARE, Nello Transcona NDP
ASAGWARA, Uzoma Union Station NDP
BRAR, Diljeet Burrows NDP
BUSHIE, Ian Keewatinook NDP
CLARKE, Hon. Eileen Agassiz PC
COX, Hon. Cathy Kildonan-River East PC
CULLEN, Hon. Cliff Spruce Woods PC
DRIEDGER, Hon. Myrna Roblin PC
EICHLER, Hon. Ralph Lakeside PC
EWASKO, Wayne Lac du Bonnet PC
FIELDING, Hon. Scott Kirkfield Park PC
FONTAINE, Nahanni St. Johns NDP
FRIESEN, Hon. Cameron Morden-Winkler PC
GERRARD, Hon. Jon River Heights IND LIB
GOERTZEN, Hon. Kelvin Steinbach PC
GORDON, Audrey Southdale PC
GUENTER, Josh Borderland PC
GUILLEMARD, Hon. Sarah Fort Richmond PC
HELWER, Hon. Reg Brandon West PC
ISLEIFSON, Len Brandon East PC
JOHNSON, Derek Interlake-Gimli PC
JOHNSTON, Scott Assiniboia PC
KINEW, Wab Fort Rouge NDP
LAGASSÉ, Bob Dawson Trail PC
LAMONT, Dougald St. Boniface IND LIB
LAMOUREUX, Cindy Tyndall Park IND LIB
LATHLIN, Amanda The Pas-Kameesak NDP
LINDSEY, Tom Flin Flon NDP
MALOWAY, Jim Elmwood NDP
MARCELINO, Malaya Notre Dame NDP
MARTIN, Shannon McPhillips PC
MICKLEFIELD, Andrew Rossmere PC
MORLEY-LECOMTE, Janice Seine River PC
MOSES, Jamie St. Vital NDP
NAYLOR, Lisa Wolseley NDP
NESBITT, Greg Riding Mountain PC
PALLISTER, Hon. Brian Fort Whyte PC
PEDERSEN, Hon. Blaine Midland PC
PIWNIUK, Doyle Turtle Mountain PC
REYES, Jon Waverley PC
SALA, Adrien St. James NDP
SANDHU, Mintu The Maples NDP
SCHULER, Hon. Ron Springfield-Ritchot PC
SMITH, Andrew Lagimodière PC
SMITH, Bernadette Point Douglas NDP
SMOOK, Dennis La Vérendrye PC
SQUIRES, Hon. Rochelle Riel PC
STEFANSON, Hon. Heather Tuxedo PC
TEITSMA, James Radisson PC
WASYLIW, Mark Fort Garry NDP
WHARTON, Hon. Jeff Red River North PC
WIEBE, Matt Concordia NDP
WISHART, Ian Portage la Prairie PC
WOWCHUK, Rick Swan River PC