Narwhal: ‘Crisis’: Manitoba Environment staff cut 70% since Progressive Conservatives took power
Twenty years ago, Manitoba’s conservation department, now the Environment and Climate Department, was operating with more than 1,300 staff. Since the Progressive Conservatives took office in 2016, that number has dropped by 70 per cent, to just 331 full-time positions — 20 per cent of which are currently vacant.
In addition to severe staffing cuts, government branches geared at conserving and protecting the province’s natural assets have seen their funding stagnate, according to The Narwhal/Free Press’ analysis of environment budgets since 1999. Those staff and funding cuts have only intensified since the Progressive Conservatives took office in 2016.
The austerity measures have left department staff “at the end of their rope” and put critical environmental services in jeopardy, said Mark Hudson, a sociology professor at the University of Manitoba.