Manitoba will have highest prenatal benefit in Canada, minister says

The provincial government says it hopes to reduce child mortality in Manitoba by doubling the prenatal benefit.

Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine said Wednesday that once the change — first announced in the provincial budget — is made, Manitoba will have Canada’s highest prenatal benefit.

Fontaine says the budget set aside $800,000 for the cost of increasing the benefit — which is used to help low-income Manitobans during pregnancy. The government hopes to implement the change as soon as possible.

“Evidence shows early and ongoing prenatal care is key to ensuring the best possible outcomes for Manitobans and their babies,” Fontaine said.

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The current maximum benefit is $81.41 each month, which is payable from the 14th week of pregnancy until a child is born. The new plan intends to double that maximum benefit to $162.82.

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Healthy Start executive director Davorka Monti said the increase is a ‘win-win’ for Manitobans.

“The prenatal benefit gives a boost for in pregnancy and especially now at a time when with rising food costs, it will help ensure that people are as healthy as possible during their pregnancy,” Monti said.

“Doubling the prenatal benefit will help ensure babies are born healthy.”

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