The Government of Canada has introduced new legislation aimed at modernizing and strengthening family justice—making it the first substantial update of Canada’s federal family laws in 20 years.
On May 22nd, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, introduced legislation that would amend three federal family laws: the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act (FOAEAA) and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act (GAPDA). The legislation has four key objectives: to promote the best interests children, address family violence, curb child poverty and make Canada’s family justice system more accessible and efficient.
Additional information on these new measures can be accessed here: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-of-canada-announces-new-measures-to-strengthen-and-modernize-family-justice-683335701.html.
The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF) has published three reports that evaluate the Priority Prolific Offender Program (PPOP) over three years between 2012 and 2017.
The PPOP is an initiative by the Alberta Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, in partnership with the Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The goal of the Program is to stop regular offenders from reoffending. It aims to do this in part through better collaboration among the groups that are involved in the Program. With improved collaboration, Crown Prosecutors will have complete, accurate and up-to-date information on prolific offenders and, support services and rehabilitation can be promoted to individuals who can benefit from these services.
The reports from the three-year evaluation provide valuable information as to the efficacy of the Program, its process and selection criteria, the satisfaction of stakeholders, staff insights, the Program’s social value and its impact on offenders’ behaviour.
Evaluations of Years 1, 2 and 3 of the Priority Prolific Offender Program can be accessed on the CRILF website here: http://www.crilf.ca/publications.htm.
The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF), in partnership with the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) have published an exciting new report that examines the use of collaborative settlement processes, mediation, arbitration and litigation to resolve family law disputes.
The study provides valuable insights into the costs of the different dispute resolution processes, how long cases take to resolve, and lawyers’ perceptions of their efficacy and suitability for resolving different types of family law problems.
Read “An Evaluation of the Cost of Family Law Disputes: Measuring the Cost Implication of Various Dispute Resolution Methods” on the CFCJ website here and on the CRILF website here.
The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF) has published two new reports.
The first report is the Record of Proceedings of Children’s Participation in Justice Processes: Finding the Best Ways Forward. This report is based on findings from a two-day national symposium, held in Calgary in September 2017, that brought together a multidisciplinary spectrum of leading stakeholders to share information and dialogue about how the voices of children and youth are heard, how their interests are protected and how their evidence is received in justice processes. The record contains the Program Guide, the PowerPoint slides presented at the conference, workshop scribes’ notes and presenters’ summaries of outcome, and a digest of the key themes and recommendations emerging from the workshops.
The Record of Proceedings can be downloaded on the CRILF website here.
The second report is Perceptions of Polyamory in Canada. This is the second of two reports published by the Institute on polyamory and polyamorous relationships. The earlier paper focused on the intersections between polyamorous relationships and family law in Canada’s common law jurisdictions. The new report takes a deeper dive into the data collected in the CRILF survey to look at the demographic characteristics of polyamorists, the composition of their families, their attitudes toward their relationships and their perceptions of how Canadians view polyamory and polyamorous relationships. The purpose of the study was to obtain a better understanding of the prevalence and nature of polyamorous relationships to inform the development of family justice policy and legislation. Recommendations are made with respect to law reform, public and professional education, and future research. This interesting and innovative research on the views and attitudes of Canadian polyamorists is the first of its kind.
Perceptions of Polyamory in Canada can be downloaded on the CRILF website here.
The details in this post were taken from information circulated by CRILF.
The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF) recently published two new papers:
The Development of Parenting Coordination and an Examination of Policies and Practices in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta was prepared by Dr. Lorne Bertrand and John-Paul Boyd and reviews the development of parenting coordination in the United States and its adoption in Canada. This paper also explores the findings of the research available to date on parenting coordination, its efficacy in resolving parenting disputes, its efficacy in steering such disputes out of court and its impact on parental conflict. The Development of Parenting Coordination and an Examination of Policies and Practices in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta discusses the practice of parenting coordination in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, compares processes and training standards in those provinces, and makes recommendations for the practice of parenting coordination in Alberta, and in Canada generally.
Children’s Participation in Justice Processes: Finding the Best Ways Forward, Results from the Survey of Symposium Participants was prepared by Joanne Paetsch, Dr. Lorne Bertrand and John-Paul Boyd and is the first written output from the “Children’s Participation in Justice Processes: Finding the Best Ways Forward” two-day symposium presented by the CRILF and the Alberta Office of the Child and Youth Advocate. The symposium offered a unique opportunity to survey an informed and involved pool of participants regarding their perceptions and experiences with children’s participation in justice processes. This report presents the final results of this survey of symposium participants, and includes recommendations for moving forward.
Both publications are available on the CRILF website here: http://www.crilf.ca/publications.htm
The details in this post were taken from information circulated by the CRILF.
The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Family Law Section in conjunction with the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF) have announced that the Successfully Parenting Apart: A Toolkit is now available.
About the new Successfully Parenting Apart toolkit, the CBA explains that it:
- organizes and consolidates online and print resources offering guidance, information, referrals and resources for resolving parenting challenges post-separation in ways most effective for children.
- is intended to increase family lawyers’ awareness of the best available information to better assist parents in transforming their relationship from being a couple to being successful co-parents.
To learn more about the toolkit or to download a copy of the Successfully Parenting Apart toolkit, visit the CBA website here.
The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) has published five new reports based on data from their Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada study. As part of this national study, over 3,000 people in Canada were surveyed about their attitudes towards and experiences with the justice system in Canada. Specifically, they were asked about their views on the Canadian justice system, the kinds of civil and family justice problems they experience, their methods of dealing with these problems, and the associated costs they incur to resolve them. The five new reports present survey data broken down according to the following respondent characteristics: “Age,” “Gender,” “Canadian Region,” “Education” and “Born in Canada”. The reports are published on the CFCJ’s “Cost of Justice” page and can be accessed by clicking on the hyperlinked titles below:
Born in Canada
The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF) has published a new research paper based on findings from a survey of more than 200 lawyers and judges who attended the 2016 National Family Law Program. The National Family Law Program is a high-profile, 4-day biennial conference organized by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, that addresses current issues in the practice of family law in Canada. Topics addressed in the study include participants’ views of and experiences with: court-attached family justice programs; hearing the views of children; issues in custody and access disputes; issues in disputes about child support and spousal support; family violence; unified family courts; and, limited scope legal services in family law disputes.
The research paper was written by Lorne Bertrand, Jo Paetsch, John-Paul Boyd and Nick Bala and the study was funded by the Department of Justice and the Alberta Law Foundation.
The English version of the paper is available on the CRILF website here; the French version is available on the CRILF website here.
As our collective understanding of what constitutes “family” continues to change and evolve, the legislation governing the formation and dissolution of family relationships may appear to be lingering behind. In a new paper prepared for the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF), John-Paul E. Boyd explores both the legal components and general public perceptions surrounding polyamorous relationships in Canada. Boyd begins the paper by citing the preliminary findings from the CRILF’s 2016 study on Canadian perceptions of polyamory. After breaking down the data, Boyd moves on to discuss the legal dimensions of polyamorous relationships in the context of the various provincial family law schemes.
Finally, Boyd concludes the paper by posing some questions for members of the family bar to consider when thinking about polyamorous relationships and how they may affect a range of issues, such as:
- a) Immigration: Can a married spouse sponsor someone coming into Canada to join his or her relationship?
b) Public employment benefits: Can CPP benefits and employee health benefits be shared with more than 1 other person?
- c) Wills and estates: To what extent does legislation accommodate concurrent surviving spouses? To what extent can children born from a ménage inherit from non-biological parents who die intestate?
- d) Adoption and assisted reproduction: How many adults can be legal parents of a child?
- e) Vital statistics: Can vital statistics agencies be compelled to register more adults as the parents of a child than the biological or adoptive parents of child?; and
- f) Education and health care: To what extent can education and health care providers be compelled to take instructions from the members of a ménage other than child’s biological parents?
For a more fulsome discussion of the legal dimensions of polyamorous relationships and to see the preliminary results of the 2016 survey, take a look at the report.
The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters launched the #justiceforall campaign designed to raise public understanding of accessible justice challenges as a component of a healthy democracy.
A next step in transforming the A2J landscape is to engage the public by raising awareness of the importance of justice issues in Canada. Building a public understanding of the importance of legal health and the predictability of legal issues throughout one’s life will benefit individuals and will transform the access to justice conversation into an issue relevant to citizens, decision makers, and voters. As long as access to justice challenges are only understood within the justice system, the possible solutions will be limited to the scope of influence, resources and imagination of the justice system.
The Action Committee is asking the A2J leaders in Canada, to help raise the profile of A2J efforts. If you are a leader in A2J, a bencher, a legal academic, a judge or a lawyer with a personal following, we would also welcome your participation in collectively raising this issue. To participate in the social media campaign or add a button on your website, there are links, instructions and graphics available at: www.calibratesolutions.ca/actioncommitteecampaign
Starting a public conversation about access to justice will shift the perception of the issue to a holistic understanding of the law as a part of daily life that can be understood and managed throughout one’s life, often with the help of legal professionals.
This post also appears online here.