Results | Mar 27, 2024

LOLG secures historic class action settlement on behalf of children in the care of Métis child and family services agencies

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On March 24, 2024, the Government of Manitoba announced that it has agreed to pay $530 million to children in care as compensation for Manitoba’s policies relating to the administration of Children’s Special Allowances (CSA) between 2005 and 2019.

Under federal legislation, CSA payments are paid to child and family services (CFS) agencies as an equivalent to the Canada Child Benefit. CSA benefits were to be used exclusively for the care, education, training, and advancement of children in the care of CFS agencies. Instead, over the course of 14 years, Manitoba required CFS agencies to remit over $335 million of the federal CSA payments back to Manitoba. In 2022, the Manitoba Court of King’s Bench determined that Manitoba’s actions were unconstitutional.

Following that decision, three class actions claiming recovery of the CSA benefits that were forcibly remitted to Manitoba were certified, including a class action specifically for children that were in the care of Métis CFS agencies. The Métis CFS agencies operate under the auspices of the Manitoba Métis Federation, the national government of the Red River Métis. The agreement reached with Manitoba settles all three class actions. The settlement is subject to court approval.

Rahool Agarwal and Niklas Holmberg acted as lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Métis CFS Agencies class action, alongside local counsel Murray Trachtenberg and Genevieve Benoit. Under the agreement with Manitoba, $84,800,000 is allocated for the settlement of the Métis CFS agencies class action.