Criminal Property Forfeiture

What is criminal property forfeiture?
It is a civil court process through which government may apply to confiscate property or proceeds of unlawful activity and property used in committing crime, considered instruments of unlawful activity.

Since 2009, Manitoba’s Criminal Property Forfeiture Unit has operated under the authority of The Criminal Property Forfeiture Act. The act allows the director of the unit to start civil forfeiture proceedings against property believed to be the proceeds or instruments of unlawful activity. A judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench decides whether to order forfeiture.

Civil proceedings under The Criminal Property Forfeiture Act are entirely separate from criminal law. They:

  • do not rely on criminal prosecutions
  • are initiated against property, not people
  • do not create criminal records
  • do not create findings of guilt or innocence


In 2012 The Criminal Property Forfeiture Act was amended to allow a simpler process known as administrative forfeiture through which personal property valued at $75,000 or less may be confiscated without involving the courts. Further significant amendments in 2021 expanded the legal information-gathering tools and authority to identify and secure unlawful money before it can become untraceable and disappears. The ultimate goal is to forfeit property which is derived from unlawful activity. Proceeds of confiscated property are deposited in the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund and managed or distributed as provided for in section 19 of The Criminal Property Forfeiture Act. Uses might include operating expenses, victim compensation and programs promoting safer communities.

Navigate to more information about criminal property forfeiture using links in the left hand column of this page.