MGEU members working in provincial parks have once again been left out. 

Yesterday, the Manitoba Government announced millions of dollars to add campsites, improve washrooms, and make other upgrades at provincial parks. Yet their press release failed to mention one of the most important investments necessary to improve the experience in our parks: more PEOPLE to provide services.

“More campsites and yurts are a good start, but we also need the staff to maintain our parks, welcome campers, and make sure they have a positive experience,” said Ross. “I was recently in Swan River talking to members who said the new McDonald’s is hiring at $17 per hour, while the starting wage for a Park Attendant is $15.80 for seasonal work. How do you attract folks at that rate of pay?”

He said that recruitment and retention of staff is one of the biggest problems facing Manitoba’s parks because the government hasn’t made the necessary investments in hiring employees, while the demand for these services in recent years continues to increase.

“In the past, when you entered a provincial campground, you were greeted by parks staff who would check you in, give you the details of your site, and answer your questions. Now, far too often, those offices are empty because of a lack of staff.”

Provincial park infrastructure and staffing have been neglected for many years through budget cuts, while this government has continued to talk about privatizing more services in parks. And though it’s good to finally see an intention to invest in infrastructure, he questioned the timing.

“With a provincial election approaching this fall, now the government is trying to convince Manitobans that they care about our parks.”