The Manitoba Government has designated the court office in Steinbach as an administrative centre for the Court of Queen's Bench.  

Steinbach MLA, Justice Minister, and Attorney General for Manitoba Kelvin Goertzen made the announcement Tuesday morning. He notes this will allow local lawyers to file paperwork with the Queen's Bench right here in Steinbach rather than having to constantly drive to and from Winnipeg.  

Goertzen says this move required very little change in staffing. 

“Staffing changes are on the training side. Staff have to be trained to be able to bring in the documents that are Court of the Queen's Bench related. There may be additional staff [in the future], but let's see the volume that happens. But, right now we have re-trained the existing staff.” 

When he became Justice Minister and Attorney General, Goertzen says legal professionals in the area began advocating for this change.  

“This was brought to me about two months ago by local lawyers saying this is a gap that we think is causing a challenge and could be easily addressed. I wouldn't say it was easily addressed, it has to be approved by the Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench who is the head of the courts but after discussions, he was agreeable to it.” 

Kelvin Goertzen speaks in front of the Steinbach Law Courts, flanked by Mayor Earl Funk and Lawyer Grant Driedger​​​​​Minister of Justice and Attorney General ​​Kelvin Goertzen made the announcement in front of the Steinbach Law Courts, flanked by Mayor Earl Funk, and Lawyer Grant Driedger

Until now, Steinbach had the only court office in the Province of Manitoba that was not designated as a Queen's Bench administrative centre. Currently, those that wish to file Queen’s Bench Documents must travel to the nearest administrative centre such as Selkirk, Winnipeg or Morden. 

Grant Driedger is a partner at Smith Neufeld Jodoin LLP. in Steinbach. He notes this will make things more efficient. 

“It makes a small difference for every lawyer here so collectively I think it makes a big difference. It is things as simple as getting a probate application, we expect we can file those here now instead of running into Winnipeg. Family law issues can at least have things filed here. Civil disputes, whether it is an employment matter or a construction dispute or debt collection or things like that, at least the starting point is to get it filed here.” 

Driedger adds “We have a couple of our articling students here, they are not infrequently sent racing off to try to make it to 408 York [Winnipeg] before 4:25 PM and that adds cost, effort, and the whole thing is a little bit harder." 

One day, Driedger says he would like to see Court of Queen's Bench hearings take place in Steinbach, but this is still quite helpful. 

Goertzen notes that this is not out of the realm of possibility and is an ongoing discussion, but for now, this is a step in the right direction. 

The new administrative centre will be open for the public to file documents as of September 19th.