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Manitoba First Nations Child And Family Services Proposed Class Action

on Behalf of First Nations

McCarthy Tétrault LLP and Legal Aid Manitoba’s Public Interest Law Centre are acting on behalf of a number of First Nations in Manitoba to address the longstanding harms suffered by First Nations from Canada and Manitoba’s delivery of child and family services.

What is this case about?

Chief Heidi Cook on behalf of Misipawistik Cree Nation, Chief Sheldon Kent on behalf of Black River First Nation, Chief David Monias on behalf of Pimicikamak Cree Nation, and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs have commenced a proposed class action against the Government of Manitoba and the Attorney General of Canada for their disastrous management of child and family services to First Nations children, both on and off reserve.

Canada and Manitoba’s failures include:

  • perpetuating the longstanding efforts to assimilate First Nations children and destroy First Nations cultures by apprehending children unnecessarily and failing to provide culturally- and spiritually-appropriate services and placements;
  • failing to properly fund basic maintenance and prevention services for First Nations children in child and family services;
  • severing connections between First Nations children and their nations, land, culture, language, and spirituality;
  • depriving First Nations of the ability to teach and pass on their cultures, languages and traditions to the next generation; and
  • creating intergenerational harms and adverse social and economic impacts for First Nations.

Fighting for a Better Future

The action seeks both financial compensation and systemic reform. Specifically, the litigation aims to advance the rights and well-being of First Nations by claiming that Manitoba and Canada should be required to:

  • end the unnecessary apprehension of First Nations children on the basis of poverty, racial and cultural bias, and systemic racism; and
  • pay damages to Class members including for breaches of their Charter rights, breach of fiduciary duties, negligence, and nuisance.

Who is included in the proposed class?

Misipawistik Cree Nation, Black River First Nation, Pimicikamak Cree Nation, and any other First Nation in Manitoba that elects to join the action within the period identified by the court will be part of the action. First Nations must take the step of joining or opting into the action if they want to participate.

This action has not yet been certified as a class proceeding. 

Individuals are not part of this action; it is only for collective claims by First Nations. If you are an Indigenous person in Manitoba who was impacted by Manitoba’s off-reserve child and family services system, you may be eligible to join a separate class action.


The Statement of Claim can be found here.

In the News

CBC News: How this woman says Manitoba’s child welfare system broke her connection to her First Nation community

CTV News: $1B class action suit related to child welfare system filed against Manitoba government, Attorney General of Canada

CityNews: Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs file billion dollar lawsuit

Globe and Mail: Lawsuit seeks Manitoba First Nations child welfare compensation, end to apprehensions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a class action?

A class action is a lawsuit that allows a large group of people with common issues to come together to advance a claim. By joining together, class actions provide a more efficient way to advance legal claims.

What is certification?

The court must first assess whether the claim should be advanced in the form of a class action. The court will consider whether the claim shows an appropriate cause of action, an identifiable class of persons, and issues that are shared in common. The court will also determine whether a class action is a preferable procedure, and whether there is an appropriate representative plaintiff. If the court certifies the class action, the representative plaintiffs will advance the case on behalf of all class members.

Am I a class member?

Any First Nation in Manitoba may elect to join the action. If the action is certified as a class proceeding, the court will specify a period of time to opt into the action.  Individuals cannot join this class action, which is limited to the collective claims of First Nations. 


Alana Robert

Direct Line: 416-601-8022

Toll-Free: 1-877-244-7711 extension 548022

Email: [email protected]


Leah Strand

Direct Line: 403-260-3623

Toll-Free: 1-877-244-7711 extension 523523

Email: [email protected]