Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can a parent be charged with abducting their own child?

    Yes. If a parent takes the child away outside of their own parenting time, or if they take the child away intending to deprive the other parent of parenting time, they could be charged with child abduction under the Criminal Code of Canada. If a parent is charged, the Attorney General’s office will involve the police to try to get your child back and a Crown Attorney can prosecute the parent for the crime. If the child is taken out of province, the Attorney General’s office and the police would contact the other province’s police and Attorney General’s office to try to locate your child and return them to Manitoba.

  • Can a parent be charged with child abduction even if there is no court order in place?

    Yes. However, the Attorney General must agree to lay a criminal charge. Usually, the Attorney General would agree only if:

      • The parents and child were living together and suddenly one parent takes the child away from Manitoba without the consent of the other parent, with the intention of depriving the other parent of his or her rights; or
      • Separated parents have agreed in the past that a child is to live with one of them, and the other parent later decides to take the child away without a court order, again, with the intention of depriving the other parent of his or her rights.
  • Can a potential employer access my youth record?

    Employers are not entitled to access a youth record on their own (except when the government is the employer).

  • Can a potential employer ask me if I have a youth record?

    Yes. They may also request that a record check be done. Once a young person obtains a copy of the record, they may provide it to anyone, including a potential employer.

    When a youth record is closed, the young person may inform employers that they do not have a record and that they have not been charged with, or found guilty of, a criminal offence.

  • Can a Power of Attorney still be drafted if the donor is physically unable to sign the document?

    Yes. In such a case, the donor must direct someone else to sign for him/her and acknowledge the signature in the presence of a qualified witness.

    The following can be witnesses: a judge, justice of the peace, doctor, notary public, lawyer, or police officer.

  • Can a responsible adult agree to supervise the young accused instead of them remaining in custody?

    If a young person is facing the prospect of being held in custody prior to trial, the court has an obligation to inquire whether there is a responsible person available to care for the young person, make sure they attend court, and make sure that they comply with court conditions. The responsible person must agree to these conditions in writing and the young person must also agree.

  • Can a witness to my will also be a beneficiary?

    If a beneficiary or spouse of a beneficiary witnesses a will, the gift to them is not valid unless a court says otherwise. Therefore it is advisable that beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries do not witness wills.

  • Can a young person enter a plea of guilty or not guilty without a lawyer?

    A judge can only accept a plea if they are confident that the young person fully understands the consequences of the plea. For this reason, if a young person does not have a lawyer, they will be encouraged to obtain a lawyer at virtually every stage of the court proceedings. If a young person is denied Legal Aid coverage and cannot afford a lawyer on their own, the judge can appoint a lawyer to act for them. This is a special safeguard used only for youths—there is no way for a court to appoint a lawyer for an adult who has been denied Legal Aid.

    A judge may still accept a plea from a youth who has decided to not obtain a lawyer—however, extra care must be taken to ensure the young person fully understands the implications of the plea.

  • Can any refusal be appealed?

    While most refusals can be appealed, certain refusals cannot be appealed. If the parent or grandparent is not found to be a member of the “Family Class”, for instance if the individual is a step-parent or a biological parent of a child who was later adopted, they will not be members of the family class. As well, there are other types of refusals that cannot be appealed.

    It is important to note that sometimes appeals are not available because the sponsor has inadvertently checked off the wrong box on the sponsorship form regarding refunds.

  • Can future employers view my ROE?

    Not without your consent. Your ROE is only used by Service Canada to determine whether you are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), and if so, to help determine what amount you should receive.

  • Can I appeal an interim order?

    The Manitoba Court of Appeal prefers that the parties go ahead with a trial instead of appealing interim orders. The trial judge does not have to follow the interim order and can make a brand new order. The Court of Appeal has said that interim orders are discretionary orders that are made looking at the specific facts involved at that time. This will not be changed on an appeal unless there is a serious error about a principle of law, complete misunderstanding of the evidence, or the decision is so clearly wrong that it amounts to an injustice.

  • Can I appeal the decision of the Executive Director of Legal Aid?

    If the Executive Director refuses your appeal, you can appeal his decision to Legal Aid’s Appeal Committee. You can appeal by filling in the form that came with the Executive Director’s refusal, or, by writing a letter and sending it to:

    • Legal Aid Management Council Appeal Committee
    • 4th Floor – 287 Broadway Ave.
    • Winnipeg MB R3C 0R9

    In your Appeal letter, say why you think the decision was wrong. The Appeal Committee will consider your reasons and will review your file. The Appeal Committee will then make its decision. You will receive a letter notifying you about the Appeal Committee’s decision. The Appeal Committee’s decision is final. There are no further appeals.

  • Can I apply for a record suspension at any time?

    An individual must wait a set period of time from the date of completion of a sentence (whether it is the payment of a fine, a period of incarceration, or a period of probation) before they are eligible to apply for a record suspension. The waiting period for summary conviction offences is five years, and for indictable offences it is ten years.

  • Can I apply for compensation if a family member passed away because of a domestic violence incident?

    If a member of your immediate family was killed as a result of a crime, you may be able to seek compensation. For more information, contact the Compensation for Victims of Crime Program.

  • Can I apply for divorce anywhere in Canada?

    You can only apply for divorce in a province where one of the spouses has been a resident for at least 1 year.

  • Can I ask for a change of lawyers through Legal Aid?

    If you have a good reason for the change Legal Aid will usually allow one change of lawyer. Any requests for an additional change of counsel are only granted in exceptional circumstances.

  • Can I ask the court to allow me to serve my sentence on weekends?

    Where the total term of the sentence is not more than 90 days, the court has the discretion to order that the time be served intermittently (at distinct intervals such as on weekends). Such sentences allow the offender to remain employed, continue in school, or otherwise avoid financial hardship.

  • Can I be compensated if I was hurt during a domestic assault?

    There is a program called the Compensation for Victims of Crime Program that assists victims of crime with expenses related to the crime. You may be compensated for the following:

      • Medical expenses
      • Damaged clothing
      • Items seized by police as evidence
      • Dental expenses
      • Eyeglasses
      • Counselling
      • Lost wages
      • Support for dependants
      • Rehabilitation or retraining
      • Compensation for permanent disability
      • Funeral expenses

    The Compensation for Victims of Crime Program can be reached by calling (204) 945-0899, toll free at 1-800-262-9344, or online at https://www.gov.mb.ca/justice/crown/victims/compensation.html.

  • Can I be evicted for being exposed to COVID-19?

    No. The Manitoba Human Rights Commission’s position is that COVID-19 is a disability, and therefore a protected ground under The Human Rights Code. This means your landlord cannot evict you just for being exposed to the virus, or they could face a human rights complaint.

    However, if you have the virus and are not doing your part to prevent its spread to others, your landlord may have cause to evict you for endangering the lives of other tenants.

    For more information, visit the Commission’s fact sheet on COVID-19 and human rights:

    http://www.manitobahumanrights.ca/v1/education-resources/resources/pubs/guidelines/covid19guideline.pdf

  • Can I be fired for being exposed to COVID-19?

    No. The Manitoba Human Rights Commission’s position is that COVID-19 is a disability, and therefore a protected ground under The Human Rights Code. Being fired just for having been exposed to the virus would be discrimination, and you would be entitled to file a human rights complaint.

    However, this does not prevent your employer from taking other precautions if they believe you may have been exposed to the virus, such as requiring you to work from home.

    For more information, visit the Commission’s fact sheet on COVID-19 and human rights:

    http://www.manitobahumanrights.ca/v1/education-resources/resources/pubs/guidelines/covid19guideline.pdf

  • Can I be laid off during COVID-19?

    Yes, but a lay off is different from a termination. A lay off is a temporary disruption of employment. The employer does not have to give notice and does not have to pay you during a lay off.

    If a lay off lasts longer than 8 weeks in a 16 week period, it becomes a termination and the employer has to give you notice. If your employer continues to pay your wages or pays benefits, the lay off does not become a termination.

    The time between March 1, 2020 and when the state of emergency was declared on March 20, 2020 is not counted as part of the 8 weeks in a 16 week period.

    For more information see Employment Standards COVID-19 fact sheet:

    View website: