News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

March 25, 2024

Manitoba Government Settles with Children in Care for $530 Million in Historic Class Action Lawsuits

The Manitoba government has agreed in principle to pay $530 million to children in care over the province’s actions and policies relating to the administration of Children's Special Allowances (CSA) from Child and Family Services (CFS) agencies between 2005 and 2019. 

“Our government believes that every child matters and this agreement is an important step forward. This money was supposed to be used for the advancement for some of the most vulnerable children in our society, and it was taken from them. This settlement is an example of how our government is prioritizing reconciliation through action,” said Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine. 

Three certified class action lawsuits sought damages for Manitoba’s breach of the Charter rights of vulnerable children. The settlement aims to compensate the affected children, cover legal fees and administer funds to class members. 

Subject to court approval, this historic settlement is a significant step forward in rectifying the discrimination endured by vulnerable children in care. This settlement will compensate every child affected by the CSA policy including interest and additional monies for other damages and costs through the creation of a resolution fund. 

According to federal legislation, CSA payments are made to CFS Agencies as an equivalent to the Canada Child Benefit received by parents in Manitoba. CSA benefits are to be used exclusively for care, education, training and advancement of children in care. 

Instead, over the course of 14 years, Manitoba required CFS agencies to remit over $335 million of the federal CSA payments back to Manitoba’s general revenue. 

In response to legal challenges, the Manitoba government passed legislation in 2020, exempting the province from any legal responsibility. This legislation prompted a constitutional legal challenge, leading to a 2022 decision by the Court of the King’s Bench, which found that Manitoba’s CSA policy and related legislation exacerbated the already-significant disadvantages experienced by children in care and was a breach of their Charter rights to be free from discrimination. 

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The Province of Manitoba is distributing this release on behalf of the Manitoba government, the Manitoba Métis Federation and Cochrane Saxberg LLP.