Manitoba decides not to appeal court ruling on child benefit payments

By The Canadian Press

The Manitoba government has decided not to appeal a court ruling over hundreds of millions of dollars in child benefit payments.

In May, a Court of Queen’s Bench justice ruled the province violated the rights of Indigenous children in care by clawing back federal payments called the Children’s Special Allowance.

The money goes to agencies responsible for children in care and mirrors the Canada Child Benefit given to parents who are raising their kids.

The former NDP government started the clawback in 2006, and Indigenous leaders said the province collected more than $300 million over 13 years.


The Progressive Conservative government ended the clawback in 2019 but also passed a law to try to ban any legal action over it.

In a news release, the government does not say whether it will repay the money but promises a new group that will allow for Indigenous input on policies and legislation affecting Indigenous people.

“Our government is committed to working collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit and Metis leadership and communities to address past wrongs and support Indigenous-led solutions in the spirit of reconciliation,” Families Minister Rochelle Squires said in the news release.

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) said the initial decision from the province was “unconstitutional and discriminated against children in care in Manitoba.”

Following the province’s announcement Thursday, Grand Chief Garrison Settee stated, “Given the overrepresentation of First Nations children in care in Manitoba, it is essential that the Province of Manitoba work closely and collaboratively with First Nations leadership.

“On behalf of MKO, I applaud the government for its decision to not appeal the court ruling,” shared Grand Chief Settee. “The recent court decision made regarding the CSA has significant implications for First Nations children and youth who have been impacted by the child welfare system and denied financial supports and services by the Government of Manitoba.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published August 4, 2022

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