Allied Health Week – No Cause for Celebration

By Jason Linklater, MAHCP President

Published by the Winnipeg Free Press on May 16th, 2023.

Allied Health Care Professionals Recognition Week is May 14 to May 20th, but allied health professionals across Manitoba are not celebrating.

The current staffing shortage across allied health professions is now a full-blown crisis with vacancy rates at some sites up to 75 per cent, like the Thompson lab which is on the verge of closure with only three out of 12 positions medical lab technologist positions filled.

Rural paramedics, respiratory therapists and lab technologists are among over 40 specialized allied health professions that provide Manitobans with the timely, critical care they need.

But there are not enough of them, and many of them are leaving for other jurisdictions, early retirement or are changing careers altogether.

Manitoba can’t afford to lose any more of them. These highly educated professionals perform specialized and essential health care roles and can’t be easily replaced.

For example, perfusionists are not health care professionals you hear of often, but they see some of the sickest patients in Manitoba. Perfusionists keep blood oxygenated and circulating so patients stay alive during cardiac surgeries when the heart is stopped, but fewer than 10 of them remain. Earlier this year, they were pulled from treating trauma patients at HSC.

If more of them leave and can’t be replaced, what other essential health services will be cut?

Unfortunately, perfusionists aren’t alone. Last week, Health Minister Audrey Gordon claimed that Manitoba hired 82 allied health professionals since November 2022, but what she didn’t say is that at least 151 of them have left over that same period, resulting in a net loss to the frontline.

That ongoing staffing crisis in allied health is contributing to rising wait times for tests, cancelled surgeries, closed emergency rooms and ambulances that are taking up to an hour or more to reach patients in rural Manitoba.

That’s unacceptable.

It’s clear that the government’s so-called “health human resource action plan” announced last fall isn’t working. Why not? One reason is that only two of the 12 retention incentives, which were supposed to be a core part of that plan, have reached allied health professionals. More empty promises, which have unfortunately become routine.

However, the main reason Manitoba can’t keep staff is that the wages of more than 6,500 allied health professionals across the province have been frozen for more than five years, while inflation has skyrocketed.

Getting a new contract for allied health just hasn’t been a priority for this government.

We are the only health-care sector in all of Canada that has gone this long without a raise or a new contract. The frontline is beyond burnt out. They have given up hope. It’s no wonder we’re losing them.

Allied health professionals deserve better, and so do Manitobans who rely on the essential health services we provide.

Instead of recognizing Allied Health Week with words this year, the premier and health minister need to finally step up and give these professionals a real, tangible sign that they haven’t been forgotten by prioritizing a new, competitive contract for allied health. Now that would be something to celebrate.

Jason Linklater is president of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals.

Media Release: Thompson Lab at Risk of Closure


Only Three Lab Technologists Left, 75% Vacancy Rate
Download PDF version here.

April 25, 2023 Winnipeg MB – Critical laboratory staffing shortages at Thompson General Hospital threaten to shut down emergency room services altogether, according to the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals (MAHCP) that represents diagnostic technologists in Manitoba. Access to laboratory services, performed by specialized allied health professionals, is necessary for rapid diagnosis and treatment of patients in car accidents, heart attacks, pregnancy complications and other medical emergencies. Emergency rooms in Roblin (2020) and Eriksdale (2022) have previously been closed due to lack of available lab services.

“Government and Shared Health have had years to address retention and recruitment for rural and northern diagnostics,” said Jason Linklater, President of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals. “Between working conditions and mandated overtime, a contract that is over five years old, and up to $40,000 in hiring incentives in competing jurisdictions like Saskatchewan, Shared Health cannot expect to keep the highly specialized staff we have, let alone recruit new people.”

The staffing situation at the Thompson lab has steadily worsened in recent years. Since 2020, six medical laboratory technologists have left positions in Thompson. Currently there are only three technologists out of 12 total positions, a 75% vacancy rate.

Technologists who perform CT scans, X-ray and ultrasound testing in Thompson are also in increasingly short supply, with a vacancy rate of approximately 40%. Additionally, recent government data shows that the province-wide vacancy rate in diagnostics, which includes laboratory and diagnostic imaging, has nearly doubled in the past year, from 8.7% in March 2022 to 16.2% March 2023.

Workload assessment data obtained by MAHCP show that laboratory technologists in Thompson have been forced to work up to 47 hours straight, including full shifts and on-call, to keep necessary lab services available for physicians and patients.

“Lab staff are doing everything they can to keep the hospital running, but they need help and they’re not getting it,” said Linklater. “We are very concerned that the few technologists who are left won’t be able to hold out much longer.”

The Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals is a union representing over 7000 allied health professionals working in more than 40+ disciplines across Manitoba. After a 99% strike vote in April 2023, MAHCP members have been info picketing at a number of locations. A full list is available on www,

Allied Health Votes 99% In Favour of Strike Mandate


PDF Version


99% Vote in Favour – Over Five Years Without a Contract

April 14, 2023 | Winnipeg, MB – Allied health professionals represented by the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals (MAHCP) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike mandate after more than five years without a new collective agreement. MAHCP members work as rural paramedics and emergency dispatch; diagnostic imaging and laboratory technologists; mental health and addictions counsellors, respiratory therapists, midwives and over 40 other specialized professions that are essential to delivering health care for Manitobans. 

“Allied health professionals have been waiting more than five years for a contract, through a pandemic and a worsening staffing crisis,” said MAHCP President Jason Linklater. “This strike vote result clearly shows they are done waiting.”

MAHCP’s Bargaining Committee called for a strike vote last month after more than a year of negotiations. The strike vote was held earlier this week, with 99% voting in favour of a strike mandate. 

The wages of 6,500 health care professionals have been frozen since 2017 while the cost of living has risen over 20%. During that period other provinces, including neighbouring Saskatchewan, have provided raises and other significant hiring and retention incentives for many skilled allied health professions. 

MAHCP has expressed growing concern in recent years due to escalating vacancy rates and critical understaffing in many areas including rural emergency medical services, diagnostics, and mental health. The unprecedented length of time since MAHCP’s last contract – the longest in Canada – continues to cause increasing challenges for staff retention and recruitment.

“It takes years to train these highly skilled professionals, they can’t be replaced and they are essential to health care delivery,” said Linklater. “Manitoba must compete if we want to keep them, and that has to start with a new contract without further delay.”

The Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals is a union representing over 7000 allied health professionals working in more than 40+ professions across Manitoba. For more information on MAHCP visit


For media/interview requests contact:
Amy Tuckett-McGimpsey (she/her)
MAHCP Communications Officer | 431-337-3440

MAHCP is hiring!

View/Download Full Position Description 

Full-Time | Out of Scope

Reporting to the Executive Director and working closely with the Treasurer of the Board, The Finance and Administration Director is responsible for managing the overall financial position and plays a critical role in developing and implementing the financial strategy of MAHCP.

As a member of the senior leadership team, the Finance and Administration Director is responsible for advising, evaluating, education and assisting the MAHCP with financial plans, costing collective agreements, and all fiscal and fiduciary responsibilities in conjunction with the governance, finance, corporate, audit, and investment for the operations.

Please submit your resume by e-mail by Wednesday, April 10th, 2023 to:

Keely Richmond, Executive Director
Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals

Campaign: Fix The Staffing Crisis

This week MAHCP launched our new campaign – Fix the Staffing Crisis.

We are urging allied health professionals, family and friends, and concerned people across this province to tell the government they need to fix the staffing crisis.

Rural EMS, diagnostic and lab technologists, respiratory therapists, social workers, alongside many other highly specialized health professionals are a critical part of Manitoba’s health care system.  With unsustainable workloads over the past few years combined with wages that are still frozen after over five years without a contract – the longest to-date of any health care contract in Canada – allied health professionals are burnt out and leaving for other provinces and jurisdictions offering hiring incentives, higher wages and better working conditions or leaving their professions altogether.

This cannot continue. You can now add your voice to the growing number of concerned Manitobans and tell the government to fix the staffing crisis by visiting crisis.

Introducing new MAHCP President – Jason Linklater

Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals welcomes Jason Linklater as the new President for the 2022-2024 term. MAHCP represents over 7000 allied health professionals from 190 different disciplines across Manitoba.

“I’m honoured to be representing allied health professionals and the dedicated, skilled work our members do every day,” said Linklater. “Our association has experienced a huge amount of growth over the last few years and I am excited to help lead MAHCP through this time of transition and solidarity-building.”

MAHCP’s Central Table Bargaining, a group that represents over 6000 allied health professionals, is currently in negotiations. Members in this bargaining group have been without a contract for over four years, and with some members going even longer.

“One of my most urgent goals, alongside our bargaining committee, is fighting to get allied health a fair deal. The services our members provide are critical to the health care system in Manitoba,” said Linklater. “I am committed to strongly advocating for increased allied health investments in retaining, recruitment and retention in throughout the health care system.”

Jason Linklater comes to MAHCP as an Orthopedic Technologist Educator at Health Sciences Centre where he has been employed for 28 years. He has over 20 years of experience with MAHCP Executive Council, in addition to being on the current Bargaining Committee.

The newly elected Executive Council includes:

Table Officers

President Jason Linklater
Vice-President Tanya Burnside
Treasurer Matt Hollingshead
Secretary Wayne Chacun


District 1 | Northern – East Kevin Chalus
District 2 | Northern – West Lesa Nordick
District 3 | Prairie Mountain Health – North Leann Oakley
District 4 | Prairie Mountain Health – South Wayne Chacun
District 6 | Interlake-Eastern Matt Hollingshead
District 8 | Winnipeg – North Karen Roth
District 9 | Winnipeg – Notre Dame Margret Thomas
District 10 | Winnipeg – West Shayleen Goretzki
District 12 | Winnipeg – South Shelagh Parken
District 14 | Winnipeg – Central 2 Arlene Boychuk
District 15 | Winnipeg – Central 3 Jana-Leigh Povey
District 16 | Winnipeg – Central 4 Shelley Kowalchuk



Budget Commitment to Hire 35 Additional Paramedics Impossible Task 

Download PDF here | Shared Health Response to FIPPA Request


May 27, 2022 Winnipeg, MB – During Paramedic Services Week which is from May 22 to 28, the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals (MAHCP) is calling attention to the mounting paramedic staffing crisis affecting emergency medical services in rural Manitoba. Despite an as-yet unfulfilled 2019 commitment by the Manitoba Government to hire 80 additional paramedics – a commitment renewed in Budget 2022 – all available evidence points to increasing staffing vacancies, out-of-service hours and response times for rural ambulances.

“Frontline paramedics are reporting around 50 vacancies in the Prairie Mountain Health operational area alone, and there are three other regions that are desperately short-staffed,” said MACHP President Bob Moroz. “With the busy summer season bearing down, the situation is only going to get worse. Our already burnt-out paramedics are bracing for chaos in the coming months.”

Shared Health has reportedly struggled to fill paramedic vacancies in recent years. Manitoba’s flagship Primary Care Paramedic program at Red River College Polytechnic recently extended training from a one year to a two-year program and is therefore not turning out any graduates this year, making hiring even more challenging. Shared Health is also competing for paramedics with the City of Winnipeg, where wages are up to 25% higher and recruitment efforts have intensified, as well as other municipalities (Brandon and Thompson), and a small number of private providers (e.g., STARS, Fisher EMS) that hire paramedics.

“The health minister is telling Manitobans not to worry, that the recent budget has money to hire 35 additional paramedics,” said Moroz. “That commitment is part of a 2019 pledge they haven’t met, and it’s going to be impossible because there are no paramedics to hire. Shared Health can’t fill the vacancies they have now, let alone adding staff, and meanwhile ambulances are taking longer to respond to medical emergencies in rural Manitoba.”

Shared Health has not released information on paramedic staffing levels to show the status of the government’s 2019 hiring commitment of 80 additional equivalent full time (EFT) positions. An MAHCP freedom of information request for detailed data on the number of frontline positions and vacancies was denied, with Shared Health claiming that “records do not exist” and stating that it is “working on a process to have vacancy and position information readily available.” Information previously obtained by MAHCP showed out-of-service hours due to staffing shortages for rural ambulances spiking, reaching 19,000 hours in December 2021.

MAHCP wrote a letter to Health Minister Audrey Gordon in January demanding an urgent plan for paramedic training, recruitment and retention but has not received a response to date. The union is calling on the Manitoba Government to take immediate steps to build more training opportunities for rural paramedics, including working with partners in Brandon and restoring rotating programs at rural and Northern sites that were previously cut. Shared Health must also work with frontline paramedics to alleviate understaffing, burnout and fatigue in the short term and retain as many paramedics as possible.

The Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals is the union representing over 7000 members from all over Manitoba, including over 800 rural paramedics. MAHCP represents 85% of Allied Health Care Professionals in Manitoba, working in more than 190 disciplines in health care settings across the province.


For more information or interview requests contact:
Tim Smith, Manager of Outreach and Communications
Phone: 431-337-7787 | Email: