‘A clear victory for our kids’: Manitoba to settle with children in care

Proposal to pay $530 million still requires court approval

The MMF was one of three Indigenous organizations to sue the Manitoba government over child allowance payments. Photo: APTN File

The Manitoba government has agreed to settle lawsuits alleging it wrongly took money from children in its care between 2005 and 2019.

The proposed $530-million settlement, which still requires court approval, was announced Monday in statements issued by the province and Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF).

Indigenous organizations had sued the government on behalf of the nearly 10,000 children in Manitoba’s child welfare system who are overwhelmingly First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

The payments were supposed to be used for care, education, training and advancement of children in care, said the MMF. Instead, Manitoba deposited the funds – more than $335 million – into its general revenue account, it added.

“There can be no question that this is an historic moment, and a clear victory for our kids,” said David Chartrand, president of the MMF, in a statement.

“…The MMF will do what it takes to ensure that every child who is eligible for this settlement receives every penny they are owed.”

The province said it had agreed in principle to pay $530 million after keeping Children’s Special Allowance payments over a 14-year period.

“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,” said Manitoba Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine in a statement.

“This settlement is an example of how our government is prioritizing reconciliation through action,” she noted.

More to come.

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