COVID-19 Daily updates - Monday, April 6


1:07 p.m. One new case of COVID-19 in Manitoba

Public health officials for the Province of Manitoba has noted that one additional case of COVID-19 has been identified as of 9:30 a.m., bringing the total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive cases in Manitoba to 204. 

The data also shows:
•    11 individuals are currently hospitalized including seven in intensive care,
•    17 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and
•    the total number of deaths reported in Manitoba is two.

Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 458 tests Sunday.  As of April 6, a total of 13,476 tests have been performed.

12:09 p.m. Pallister proposes new borrowing initative 

Manitoba premier Brian Pallister has pitched a new proposal to the federal government as a means of lessening the financial impact COVID-19 will have on the provinces and territories. The Manitoba government’s recently proposed that the federal government borrow on behalf of provinces and loan that money to them as part of a collective financial response to COVID-19.

In a media announcement, held on Apr. 6, Pallister said that the idea has received a lot of support from all premiers in his letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“I am gratified that all my colleagues support this Provincial Borrowing Initiative being placed immediately before the federal government,” said Pallister.  “All provinces are going to be on the hook for billions and billions of dollars in new debt to pay for health care and economic recovery programs.  This is a sensible and available way Ottawa can make it cheaper for all of us to do so now.”

Pallister has proposed the federal government create a standing credit mechanism on an urgent basis that would borrow on provinces’ behalf and then lend the money back to provinces on the same terms.  Through the Bank of Canada, Ottawa can borrow in international financial markets at a lower interest rate than individual provinces can, saving hundreds of millions of dollars that can be redirected to health care and economic recovery actions.  Section 18(c) of The Bank of Canada Act states: “The Bank may buy and sell securities issued or guaranteed by Canada or any province.”

The Business Council of Manitoba has also written the prime minister expressing its support for the premier’s initiative. 

Manitoba and other provinces are going to hit a financial wall requiring borrowing well beyond anything in the past, the premier said.  With every government competing for the same dollars, federal borrowing on behalf of provinces can give us access to greater financial liquidity in the bond markets at a cheaper cost than provinces doing it solely on their own, he added.

This year alone, Manitoba expects borrowing needs of up to $10 billion, Pallister said.  This is necessary to support front-line COVID health-care and family expenses, fill the holes created by revenue and bill deferrals with the current fall in economic activity, and pay for ongoing expenses of government, he added.  If Manitoba could save 1.5 per cent on these borrowing costs, that translates to $150 million a year that could be redirected to health care.  Over the 30-year term of those bonds, that translates to over $4 billion of savings for Manitobans for this year’s borrowings alone, the premier stated.  Across all Canadian provinces and territories, this could easily translate into over $100 billion of savings.