Section 8 - Assistance To Single Parents and Children

8.1.1 Single Parents Assistance - Legislative Authority

Sections 5(1)(b) and (c) of The Manitoba Assistance Act describe the eligibility requirements for single parents with dependent children.
"5(1) The director shall provide income assistance, in accordance with this Act and the regulations, to or in respect of a person who, in the opinion of the director is a person
  • who is a widow or widower with a dependent child or dependent children; or
  • who is a parent with a dependent child or children and
    • is deserted by, or is living separate and apart from, his or her spouse, or
    • is the spouse of a person who is sentenced to and is serving a prison term, or
    • is not married, or
    • is divorced; . . ."
The term "desertion" means the physical absence of the spouse from the single parent and their children.

8.1.2 Legal Guardian

Individuals who are the sole legal guardian of a child or children, and are not the biological or adoptive parent, are deemed to be single parents and categorically eligible for enrolment under section 5(1)(c) of the Act. 

8.1.3 Imprisonment

Staff at the EIA office should confirm all prison sentences of applicants' spouses with the proper authorities.  

8.1.4 Common-Law Unions


Same-Sex Common-law Relationships (PDF 125 KB)

Change to Common-Law (PDF 271 KB)


Description of Living Arrangements (PDF 82 KB)


Under section 18(3) of The Manitoba Assistance Act, common-law partners are considered to be legally married for the purposes of the EIA Program. Section 18(3) states:
"Where two persons who are not legally married to each other are living together under circumstances that indicate to the director that they are cohabiting in a conjugal relationship, they shall, for the purposes of this Act and the regulations, be treated in the same manner as two persons who are legally married, and any application by either or both of them for income assistance, general assistance or shelter assistance shall be dealt with in every respect in that manner."


An applicant/participant must self-declare if he/she has a spouse or common-law partner.
An applicant/participant is eligible to receive income support as a single person or single parent unless he/she lives with another adult who is determined to be his/her spouse or common-law partner. When an applicant/participant has a spouse or common-law partner, they will be assessed for eligibility for income support together.
The existence of a common-law relationship is based on:
  1. Shared residency and family composition. All married couples, self-declared common-law partners and adults that are the parents of a child together or have maintenance obligations in place for each other or the children in the household are considered spouses or common-law partners.

    For all other non-familial, cohabiting relationships the program will apply the other factors of common-law status once a cumulative three months of shared residency in a six-month timeframe have passed.

    plus one of the following two factors:
  2. Family/social interdependence – the degree to which the two adults who are living together interrelate with family, friends and community as a couple rather than as two people sharing a residence.
  3. Financial interdependence – the degree to which the two adults who are living together support each other financially.
Applicants/participants must declare any cohabitation or changes to cohabitation when they occur.

8.2.1 Assistance During Pregnancy

Single expectant mothers, who have no dependent children and who are 18 years of age or older, may be enrolled for assistance under section 5(1)(a),(b), or (c) of The Manitoba Assistance Act.
Eligibility under the disability category is extended to expectant mothers in their first six months of pregnancy when medical evidence confirms their inability to work (see section 7.1.4 on "Assistance During Pregnancy"). Enrolment under this category is to be maintained until the birth of the child.
Single expectant mothers who are expecting their first child may be eligible in the single parent category at or after their 7th month of pregnancy. If the individual’s actual cost of rent is at or above the 2-person guideline for rent (see section 19.1.1 on “Rental Guidelines”, the 2 person rate can be issued in the 7th, 8th and 9th month of pregnancy. Basic assistance should be issued for only one adult as described in Schedule A, section 7 of the Regulation. Basic assistance for the newborn child can be added to the budget as of the hospital release date.
This policy only applies to single women who are expecting their first child. If a woman already has children, her benefits, including shelter rate, should not increase until that child is added to the budget.

8.2.2 Post-Partum Assistance When Child is Relinquished

In cases where the mother does not keep her only child (i.e., the child is given up for adoption, apprehended at birth, or dies during birth), eligibility may be continued in the special case category for a total period of up to 60 days following the birth of the child. This will allow for a period of recovery as well as a period of employment leading to a first pay cheque. Further eligibility for an unmarried mother not keeping her child would be determined on the basis of re-testing under another section The Manitoba Assistance Act.

8.3.1 Minor Expectant Mothers and Minor Single Parents

Minor expectant mothers in the last trimester of pregnancy and minor single parents may be enrolled in one of the following ways:
  • as dependants (along with their infants) within an existing EIA household;
  • under section 5(1)(f) of The Act, where they are in the care of a responsible adult other than their parent or legal guardian (see section 10.1); or
  • as a special case (see sections 9.1 to 9.2).


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