MMF takes another step toward restoring dollars to kids in care

December 14, 2023

Winnipeg, MB, in the National Homeland of the Red River Métis - Yesterday, the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), the National Government of the Red River Métis, saw the class action lawsuits regarding Children's Special Allowance (CSA) certified by consent. This step makes clear that the MMF is pursuing its own path to restoring the CSA that the province withheld from kids in care from 2006 to 2019.

"The MMF has committed to absorbing the cost of the lawsuit ourselves, ensuring every penny of the money goes back to the people it belongs to - our kids in care and former kids in care," said Mona Buors, Minister for Métis Child and Family Services. "That's why we've remained engaged with our kids who were impacted by the province's actions, letting them lead the way. It was always their money, and today's certification by consent means that we can proceed the way we always intended."

The CSA provides payments to federal and provincial agencies and institutions (such as children's aid societies) that care for children and are the equivalent to Canada Child Benefit given to parents who are raising their children - the payments range from $530-$800 per child monthly. The funding is intended to be spent directly on children in care with medicine, clothing, school supplies or extracurricular activities.

In 2006, the Manitoba began forcing agencies to give the CSA to the province, which was put into general revenues. It led to a 2021 lawsuit against the province for misuse of the CSA taken from kids in the care of 15 Indigenous CFS agencies. In May of 2022, Justice Edmond ruled in favour of kids in care, affirming that the province misappropriated $250 million in CSA funds. The funds, plus the interest it accrued, will go directly to the kids.

With the certification, the case is now drawing closer to completion. The courtroom was packed with the young adults who are or were in care with the Métis agencies along with staff to support them as they witnessed the judge's decision. The next steps are determining the total amount of funds to be returned, and how they will be distributed and administered, as well as reaching out to ensure all eligible kids in care or former kids in care know about the case and how to access their funds.

"It's been a long wait for some of our kids currently or formerly in care," said Minister Buors. "We hope that once the funds have been returned to them, they can be used to achieve a dream, fulfill a wish or improve their quality of life. As much as our kids will benefit from the funds, they will also benefit from seeing this injustice finally come to an end, knowing that their Red River Métis government fought for them, every step of the way."

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For more information, media may contact:
Kat Patenaude
Media Relations Advisor
Manitoba Métis Federation
204-801-7710
Kat.Patenaude@mmf.mb.ca

Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) is the democratically elected National Government of the Red River Métis, also known as the Manitoba Métis. The Red River Métis are a distinct Indigenous Nation and People and Canada's Negotiating Partners in Confederation and the Founders of the Province of Manitoba.

 


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