Polyamorous Relationships and Family Law in Canada

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.

Making A2J Matter to the Public

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.

Intéresse le public de A2J

Le Comité d’action sur l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale a commencé la campagne #justicepourtous vise à faire réaliser au public que l’accès à la justice est, en fait, l’accès aux solutions de leurs problèmes juridiques de tous les jours et un élément d’une saine démocratie.

L’étape suivante dans la transformation du paysage de l’accès à la justice est de mobiliser le public en sensibilisant les gens à l’importance des questions de justice au Canada. Sensibiliser le public à l’importance de la santé juridique et à la prévisibilité des problèmes juridiques au cours de leur vie profitera aux individus et permettra de transformer les discussions sur l’accès à la justice en une question concrète et pertinente pour les citoyens, les décideurs et les électeurs. Tant et aussi longtemps que les défis en matière d’accès à la justice sont seulement compris par le système de justice, les solutions possibles seront limitées au champ d’action, aux ressources et à l’imagination du système de justice.

Le Comité d’Action vous demande, comme un des A2J leaders au Canada, nous aider à faire connaître nos A2J efforts parmi le public. Si vous êtes un leader, un conseiller, un juge ou un avocat avec un personnel suivant, nous accueillerions aussi votre participation soulevant collectivement à cette question. À participer à la campagne de medias sociale ou mettre un bouton sur votre site nous avons des liens et le graphisme sont tout disponibles à: www.calibratesolutions.ca/actioncommitteecampaign

Lancer un dialogue public sur l’accès à la justice changera la perception du problème et amènera une compréhension plus globale de la loi comme étant un élément de la vie quotidienne qui peut être compris et géré tout au long de la vie d’une personne, souvent avec l’aide de professionnels de la justice.

Cet article a été publié pour la première fois ici.

 

Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report / Initiatives canadiennes d’accès à la justice Rapport d’étape annuel sur la réalisation des objectifs de développement de la justice and Working Data Document

The Action Committee’s “Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report” has been published and is available in both English and French on the Action Committee webpage. This Report uses the nine Justice Development Goals set out in the Action Committee’s “A Roadmap for Change” report as a framework to explore current initiatives and to identify areas for future work in access to justice in Canada. The Justice Development Goals Status Report was produced by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice.

In addition, the Forum has also published the “Status Report: Working Data Document”, which includes data from the “Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report”, as well as raw data from the recent Justice Development Goals Survey that is not discussed in the Report.

Professional Development series on Access to Justice

The Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee has developed a new professional development webinar series called, Better Client Service Series: Good for Clients, Good for Lawyers.

Three live 90-minute webinars are currently scheduled to take place as a part of this series. The themes are as follows:

  •  (March 7, 2017) Lasting Client Relationships: Intake Strategies that Build Long-Term Trust: Using client intake procedures to identify long-term needs and build client capacity;
  • (March 29, 2017) Made-to-Measure Legal Services: The Power of Limited Scope Retainers: Understanding the practical application of limited scope retainers and the associated professional responsibilities;
  •  (April 19, 2017) Intelligent Client Communications: Empowering Your Clients Through Clear Legal Writing: Drafting correspondence that optimizes clients’ understanding of their legal issues and helps them make effective decisions.

These webinars will be led by faculty who are well known in the access to justice arena.  More information about the webinar series can be found at the following link:  http://www.cbapd.org/details_en.aspx?id=NA_ona2j17.  Information about accreditation of the sessions for inclusion in continuing professional development hours is located here: http://www.cbapd.org/accreditation_en.aspx?id=NA_ONA2J17

Non-CBA members who work in Access to Justice are eligible for pricing discounts. Follow the links above for contact information and to learn more about this series.

 

Launch of a Major Project to Develop and Publish a Status Report on the State of Access to Justice in Canada / Lancement d’un grand projet visant à rédiger et à publier un rapport d’étape sur l’état de l’accès à la justice au Canada

As work to improve access to justice in civil and family matters continues to gain momentum across Canada, the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters is pleased to announce the launch of a major project to develop and publish a Status Report on the State of Access to Justice in Canada. The project will be carried out by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice.

The Action Committee was convened in 2008 by the Rt. Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, in order to develop consensus and priorities around improving access to civil and family justice in Canada, while also encouraging cooperation and collaboration between all stakeholders in the justice system. In 2013, the Action Committee published Access to Civil & Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change, which contains 9 Justice Development Goals that, if accomplished, will help to address the large and growing access to justice gap in Canada.

The first step in the project is to do an in-depth survey of organizations working to improve access to justice. The survey instrument, which is now available, is built around the Justice Development Goals. The survey can be completed on-line by any organization, institution or body that defines itself as engaging in activities designed to improve access to justice.

The next step will be to compile and publish the survey results. This will occur in time for the Action Committee’s next annual meeting in March of 2017.

I urge every organization working to improve access to civil and family justice to complete and return the survey and to encourage other organizations in your network to do the same. The value of the status report depends on the response level and I hope that you will support this ground-breaking project.

~ The Hon. Thomas Cromwell

This article was originally published here:
http://www.justicedevelopmentgoals.ca/blog/2016/11/23/survey


Alors que les efforts pour améliorer l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale se multiplient partout au Canada, le Comité d’action sur l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale est heureux d’annoncer le lancement d’un grand projet visant à rédiger et à publier un rapport d’étape sur l’état de l’accès à la justice au Canada. Le projet sera mené par le Forum canadien sur la justice civile.

Le Comité d’action a été formé en 2008 par la très honorable Beverley McLachlin, juge en chef du Canada, pour établir un consensus et des priorités concernant l’amélioration de l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale au Canada, tout en encourageant également la coopération et la collaboration entre tous les intervenants du système de justice. En 2013, le Comité d’action a publié le document intitulé L’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale : Une feuille de route pour le changement, lequel contient 9 objectifs de développement en matière de justice qui, s’ils sont atteints, aideront à combler l’écart important et grandissant en ce qui concerne l’accès à la justice au Canada.

La première étape du projet consiste à mener un sondage approfondi auprès des organisations qui travaillent à l’amélioration de l’accès à la justice. Le questionnaire du sondage, qui est maintenant accessible, repose sur les objectifs de développement en matière de justice. Le sondage peut être rempli en ligne par toute organisation, toute institution ou tout organisme qui se définit comme un participant à des activités conçues pour améliorer l’accès à la justice.

L’étape suivante consistera à compiler et à publier les résultats du sondage avant la prochaine réunion annuelle du Comité d’action qui aura lieu au mois de mars 2017.

J’incite fortement toutes les organisations qui travaillent à l’amélioration de l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale ainsi que les autres organisations faisant partie de leur réseau à répondre au sondage. La valeur du rapport d’étape dépend du taux de réponse au sondage et j’espère que vous appuierez ce projet novateur.

~ L’hon Thomas Cromwell

Cet article a été publié pour la première fois sur:
http://www.justicedevelopmentgoals.ca/blog/2016/11/23/sondage

Civil Justice and Economics: A Matter of Value / Justice civile et économie : une question de valeur

The Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ), in partnership with the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ), invite you to this year’s “Civil Justice and Economics: A Matter of Value” conference.

This conference will offer a platform for Canadian judges, practitioners and those involved in the administration of justice to discuss their work through the lens of law and economics. The premise of this conference is that economic concepts can help us to understand the effects of what we do and could help us better assess the effectiveness, both economically and socially, of choices and decisions the actors in the administration of justice make.

Civil Justice and Economics: A Matter of Value will take place from October 5-7 at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa. To view the full program or to register, visit the conference page here.

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L’Institut canadien d’administration de la justice (ICAJ), en partenariat avec Le Forum canadien sur la justice civile (FCJC), vous invitent à participer à la conférence << Justice civile et économie : une question de valeur >> .

Cette conférence mettra une plate-forme à la disposition des juges canadiens, des praticiens et de ceux qui participent à l’administration de la justice pour examiner leur travail sous l’angle du droit et de l’économie. Cette conférence part du principe que les concepts économiques pourraient les aider à mieux évaluer les conséquences de leurs actions et l’efficacité de leurs choix et décisions, tant sur le plan économique que social. Pour télécharger le programme ou pour s’inscrire, cliquez ici.

 

 

University Researchers and Justice System Stakeholders Unite for Access to Law and Access to Justice (ADAJ) Initiative in Quebec

The University of Montreal has announced the launch of a major access to justice research initiative that will bring together more than 40 researchers (from 9 universities) and 44 justice stakeholders, including the Superior Court of Québec, the Court of Québec, the Ministry of Justice of Québec, local legal services organizations, the Québec Bar Association, the Chamber of Notaries, SOQUIJ and Éducaloi. (The full list of partners is available here.)

“The objective of this initiative is to engage a series of pilot projects aimed at redirecting the focus of the judicial system on the individual citizen and thereby transforming justice into a community project,” states Pierre Noreau, scientific director of the project, researcher at the Public Law Research Centre (CRDP) and professor with the Faculty of Law at Université de Montréal.  The full press release is available in English here.

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L’Université de Montréal a annoncé  le lancement d’un important consortium de recherche consacré au thème de l’accès au droit et à la justice. ADAJ regroupe 42 chercheurs et collaborateurs de 9 universités et 44 partenaires de la justice. Il regroupe notamment la Cour supérieure, la Cour du Québec de même que le ministère de la Justice du Québec, de nombreuses cliniques juridiques de quartier, le Barreau du Québec, la Chambre des notaires, SOQUIJ et Éducaloi.

« Le but que nous poursuivons est de réaliser toute une série de projets-pilotes susceptibles de remettre le citoyen au coeur du système juridique pour faire enfin de la justice un projet collectif », affirme Pierre Noreau, directeur scientifique du projet, chercheur au Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP) et professeur à la Faculté de droit de l’Université de Montréal.

Le communiqué de presse est disponible ici.

The Cost of Justice in Canada: Overview Report, Methodology and Survey

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) has released several new publications from their Cost of Justice research project, which examines the cumulative social and economic costs associated with everyday legal problems. Stemming from this project are the following recent publications:

1)   “The Everyday Legal Problems and the Costs of Justice in Canada: Overview Report”

Gathering data from over 3,000 survey respondents, the Overview Report, available on the CFCJ website here, looks at the public’s experience with the justice system and the various costs (ex: monetary, physical and emotional) that it imposes.

2)   “Design And Conduct of the Cost of Justice Survey” 

This publication sets out the specific methodology used by the CFCJ research team to collate the survey data. The method of sampling, data collection, and data processing are discussed at length here.

3)   “Everyday Legal Problems and Cost of Justice: Survey” 

The Cost of Justice Survey was structured to determine the number of respondents who had experienced 84 specific legal problems. The 84 problems were grouped into 17 types, with a section of the survey being devoted to each type. The Survey can be accessed here.

4)   “Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada: Fact Sheet”

This (updated and revised) Fact Sheet summarizes some of the key findings arising out of the Overview Report. The Fact Sheet can be accessed here.

“Sense of Access to Justice” as a Framework for Civil Procedure Justice Reform: An Empirical Assessment of Judicial Settlement Conferences in Quebec (Canada)

This paper discusses Quebec’s efforts to “renew its legal culture towards a participatory justice, rooted in fair-minded processes that encourage the persons involved to play an active role”. Roberge et al use empirical evidence to explore litigant’s “Sense of Access to Justice” (“SAJ”) in settlement conferences conducted by Quebec trial court judges operating under a “facilitative integrative problem-solving approach”.

Jean-François Roberge’s paper, “Sense of Access to Justice” as a Framework for Civil Procedure Justice Reform: An Empirical Assessment of Judicial Settlement Conferences in Quebec (Canada) is available in full here: http://bit.ly/Roberge-SenseOfA2J