NDP house leader Jennifer Howard says the government plans to introduce legislation that would protect people when they buy homes and vehicles — two of the biggest purchases made in a lifetime.
"We know that those are big purchases for people. We want to make sure that ... they're well-protected because they're huge investments," Howard said in an interview.
Other legislation will encourage parents to be involved in their children's school.
"We know that where parents are involved in kids' education, there tends to be better results for children."
Howard wouldn't reveal details ahead of the government's throne speech Monday, which will outline the NDP's plans for the coming year. The speech will begin a fall sitting that is to last three weeks before the holiday break.
The government is also expected to tighten a key privacy law to prevent health-care workers from snooping on personal information.
The recommendation was made in September by Manitoba’s acting ombudsman, Mel Holley, after he investigated a case at Cancercare Manitoba. A worker at the facility read through a patient's file because of a personal gripe.
Under the current Personal Health Information Act, there is no penalty unless the information is divulged. Holley said there should be penalties for any unauthorized access to private information. The government agreed to implement the idea.
There will be a new dynamic in the legislature as Brian Pallister takes over the role of Opposition leader. Pallister was unopposed when he sought the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives last summer to replace Hugh McFadyen and will lead off question period for the first time this week.
"I want to make sure that we focus on building a stronger economy here and I want to make sure that our government is better managed than it has been," Pallister said.
Pallister was a Tory cabinet minister in the 1990s and served as a member of Parliament after that. He is expected to press the government on its growing debt.
The NDP is in the midst of five years of consecutive deficits and is hoping to keep this year's red ink to $448 million. To meet that target, the government has planned to sell off $80 million in government assets and find $128 million in day-to-day spending reductions.
By the end of September, halfway through the fiscal year, Finance Minister Stan Struthers had not sold off any assets and had found $66 million in cuts by reducing some advertising, pushing back construction projects and other measures.
The government is taking steps to keep costs under control. The province recently announced mergers of several agencies, boards and commissions. There is also a review underway to see whether the Family Services and Labour Department can provide programs in a more-cost-effective manner.
Howard, the minister responsible for the department, said Protegra, a private business technology company, has been hired and will be paid $700,000 to improve and streamline services.
"Maybe something doesn't need to go through 10, 20 people before a family gets what they need. Maybe we can do that in a much more efficient way."
The aim is not to cut spending in the department, Howard said, but to offer more services.Suggest a correction