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Manitoba reverses decision, will now pay for slain aboriginal woman's funeral

04/16/2015 04:15 EDT | Updated 07/01/2015 01:59 EDT
Manitoba Justice has reversed its decision and will now pay the funeral bill for a slain aboriginal woman.

Angela Poorman was fatally stabbed in Winnipeg on Dec. 14, 2014. Her family had asked Manitoba Justice's Victim Services branch to help cover the 29-year-old's funeral expenses. They were turned down because Poorman has numerous minor criminal offences on her record.

On Thursday, Victim Services officials contacted Poorman's mother, Janett, to confirm it will cover the $4,500 funeral bill for the family. Janett Poorman is on disability and was unable to pay the bill herself.

A provincial government spokesperson confirmed to CBC News that Poorman's application to cover funeral expenses has been approved "based on additional information received by Victim Services."

"The branch also apologized for the length of time it has taken to resolve this request and will immediately forward payment to the funeral home," the spokesperson stated in an email.

Poorman said she is happy with the decision but still doesn't understand why she had to go public with her complaint to get her file reviewed.

Manitoba used to consider only serious criminal convictions when deciding on payment of Victim Services applications, but in a bid to get tough on crime it amended the bill in 2011 to include other minor infractions. The amendment allows the government to consider a number of offences on one's record against Victim Services payouts.

Since 2011, there has been a 55 per cent increase in the number of applications denied by Victim Services.

Victim compensation has dropped from a high of $3.9 million in 2009-10 to $3.3 million in 2013-14.

Manitoba Justice says it is now reviewing its policy on how the amendment is applied to Victim Services applications.

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