Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS HEPATITIS C?

Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver that was first identified in 1989.  It is caused by a virus that spreads through direct blood-to-blood contact with an infected person.  This means that you can become infected by a blood transfusion from a donor who has hepatitis C.  Before 1990, Canada's blood supply was not screened for hepatitis C.  The test now in place to screen Canada's blood supply is considered very reliable.

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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS C?

Many people who become infected with the hepatitis C virus remain well and symptom-free for years.  This is because the liver may be able to function for a long time without any visible signs or symptoms of the infection.  Other people feel tired, suffer from joint pain or don't feel like eating (no appetite).  Some have a yellow look to their eyes and skin.  This yellow look is called jaundice.

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HOW IS HEPATITIS C DIAGNOSED?

A simple blood test can determine the presence of the hepatitis C virus.

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HOW IS HEPATITIS C TREATED?

You and your doctor will decide whether treatment is necessary in your situation. New treatments are being developed continuously. Many people are considered 'cured' following treatment.

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HOW CAN PEOPLE WITH HEPATITIS C PROTECT THEIR HEALTH?

Avoiding alcohol and other drugs that affect the liver can reduce the effects of the disease and potential damage to the liver. A healthy lifestyle and positive attitude also help. Your doctor or public health nurse can help you learn other ways to protect your health and the health of those close to you.

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WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR COMPENSATION?

You may be eligible for compensation under Manitoba's Hepatitis C Assistance Program if you contracted hepatitis C either before January 1, 1986 or between July 1, 1990 and September 28, 1998:

  • as a direct result of a blood transfusion or the administration of blood products in Manitoba; or
  • indirectly, from a spouse, partner or parent, who contracted the disease as a result of a blood transfusion or the administration of blood products in Manitoba.

You may also apply as the representative for the estate of an individual who died of hepatitis C and contracted the virus from blood or blood products received in Manitoba during the period covered by the Manitoba program.

A person who is eligible for the 1986-1990 federal-provincial-territorial compensation program is not eligible for assistance under the Manitoba Hepatitis C Assistance Program.  Similarly, someone who is eligible for the MHCAP benefit is not eligible under the 1986-1990 federally administered program.

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HOW DO I APPLY FOR COMPENSATION?

To apply for the $10,000 benefit, you must fill out a program application form. 

Contact the Manitoba Hepatitis C Compassionate Assistance Program office:

  • To obtain an application package;
  • to get help in filling out the application form; and
  • If you have any other questions about the Manitoba Hepatitis C Compassionate Assistance Program.

Contact the Program office at 204-788-6339 (in Winnipeg) or toll-free 1-866-357-0196
E-mail:  bloodprograms@gov.mb.ca

The first part of the form asks for personal information, including when the applicant was diagnosed with hepatitis C, and how/when the virus was contracted from blood or blood products in Manitoba.  Information from your doctor and/or specialist is also needed. The doctor who knows the most about your hepatitis C condition should fill out the physician form. 

The signed and completed form should be mailed to:

MHCAP
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
300 Carlton Street
Winnipeg MB  R3B 3M9

Please note that the signed form gives Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living permission to verify and gather information (such as transfusion records) to assess your application.  This information will be handled confidentially in accordance with the strict provisions of Manitoba's Personal Health Information Act.

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WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY ASSISTANCE PAYMENT?

This depends on whether your application provides complete information and how easy it is to confirm the details about your hepatitis C condition, particularly how and when you got the virus from blood or blood products in Manitoba.  If there is any information missing from your application, the MHCAP office will contact you.

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CAN I APPEAL THE DECISION ON MY APPLICATION?

Yes.  If your application is declined, the Manitoba Hepatitis C Assistance Program will inform you of the decision in writing and at the same time, provide you with information about the appeal process.

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DO I GIVE UP ANY LEGAL RIGHTS TO SUE FOR DAMAGES?

No.  If you apply for the payment, you must sign a declaration acknowledging the funds you receive from the Manitoba government.  This acknowledgment form is included with your application.

If you receive the payment, you will still have the right to take legal action, should you choose to.  If you launch a successful lawsuit against the government at any future point, your assistance payment may be taken into account if a settlement is awarded.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Contact the Manitoba Hepatitis C Compassionate Assistance Program office:

  • To obtain an application package;
  • to get help in filling out the application form; and
  • If you have any other questions about the Manitoba Hepatitis C Compassionate Assistance Program.

Contact the Program office at 204-788-6339 (in Winnipeg) or toll-free 1-866-357-0196
E-mail:  bloodprograms@gov.mb.ca

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