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Manitoba Finance Minister Scott Fielding speaks to media at a press conference in Winnipeg, on March 11, 2020.

JOHN WOODS/The Canadian Press

The Manitoba government says its plan to temporarily cut non-essential jobs in some areas by up to one-third will work out to a much smaller number – 2.2 per cent – overall.

Last month, the government said it wanted public-sector workers who were not on the front lines of health care and other services to accept reduced work weeks, job-sharing or temporary layoffs to free up money for the fight against COVID-19.

The Progressive Conservative government asked universities, Crown corporations and some other agencies to map out three scenarios for temporary job cuts – 10, 20 and 30 per cent.

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Finance Minister Scott Fielding says the province has identified an average of 2.2 per cent of work force spending it can temporarily cut, although the amount in each government department and agency varies.

He says the job reductions will help the government redirect $860 million to health care, although Manitoba is still looking at a $5-billion deficit because of the pandemic.

Mr. Fielding says the government is hoping to minimize temporary layoffs, but many have already occurred in areas such as casinos.

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