Manitoba introduces new parentage legislation
November 26, 2021
BY Kevin Zakreski
A bill has just been introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba which will “replace” the province’s current parentage legislation and “establish new rules respecting the parentage of children conceived through assisted reproduction, including where a surrogate is used.”
The provisions of the Manitoba bill most closely resemble those found in Saskatchewan’s parentage legislation, which was enacted in 2020 and is currently the newest legislation on parentage in Canada. The Manitoba bill covers a range of topics, including the following:
- presumptions of parentage for a child conceived by sexual intercourse;
- parentage in cases involving assisted reproduction (which is defined in the bill as “a method of conceiving a child other than by sexual intercourse, such as by artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization”);
- declaratory court orders of parentage;
- surrogacy agreements and declaratory orders applicable to cases involving surrogacy.
In a departure from Saskatchewan’s legislation—as well as legislation in British Columbia and Ontario—the Manitoba bill provides, as a “rule” of parentage applicable “[f]or all purposes of the law of Manitoba” that “[a] child has no more than two parents”: see new section 18 (1) 4.
The bill also provides that the best interests of the child test, which is stated to be “the paramount consideration of the court” in an early section of the The Family Maintenance Act (the statute that hosts Manitoba’s parentage legislation), doesn’t apply to a general court order declaring parentage: see new section 24.4.
The bill received second reading (PDF) in Manitoba’s legislature on 26 November 2021. By virtue of clause 24, the bill will come into force as Manitoba’s new parentage legislation “on the day it receives royal assent.”