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Money for children: Manitoba to pay $530 million

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar25,2024

Money for children: Manitoba will pay $530 million

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In 2020, a child walks in front of signs condemning the provincial government for withholding hundreds of millions of dollars that critics say should have been redirected to Child and Family Services agencies and authorities. The provincial government reached a settlement in 2024 to end three class action lawsuits.

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Manitoba has agreed to pay $530 million to settle a class action over federal money intended for children that the provincial government kept.

This tentative agreement, which still requires Court approval, follows a decision issued in 2022 and is the result of three certified class actions.

A Court of King's Bench judge ruled that the Manitoba government had misappropriated federal funding intended for children in the province's care. The decision also ruled in favor of the plaintiffs who claimed that Manitoba's policies discriminated against Indigenous children since they constitute nearly 90% of children in care.

The recent settlement is an important victory for First Nations and Métis children in Manitoba, said former senator and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Murray Sinclair.

This settlement makes the province accountable for its unfair treatment of vulnerable children, added the Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Cathy Merrick.

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The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by a group of Indigenous child welfare agencies.

Between 2006 and 2019, the Manitoba government asked child service agencies to transfer Child Special Allowance (CSA) money to it, claiming that the money was due to it because the province was funding child care. of the children she supported.

This policy was implemented by the New Democratic Party (NDP) government in 2006, then abolished by the Progressive Conservative government in 2019.

Before 2006, some agencies put a portion of federal funds in a trust so that children could access them once they exited the system.

This money was supposed to go towards the advancement of some of the most vulnerable children in our society, and it was taken away from them. This regulation is an example of how our government prioritizes reconciliation through action, said provincial Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine in a press release on Monday.

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Manitoba Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine

In 2021 , the plaintiffs' lawyer, Kris Saxberg, claimed in court that the province orchestrated a theft of money when it forced child welfare agencies to hand over hundreds of millions of federal dollars for vulnerable indigenous children in care.

This settlement will compensate all children affected by the ESA policy, including interest and additional sums for other damages and costs through the creation of a fund. resolution, says Mr. Saxberg’s office. He adds that this settlement is a significant step towards redressing the discrimination suffered by children in care.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in Saskatchewan and in Alberta.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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