UPDATE August 7/19: Lead by OAITH, our submission was endorsed by almost twenty Ontario women’s organizations.
Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General, Lindsey Park, has commenced a review of family and civil legislation, regulations, and processes. The review will explore ways to simplify family and civil court processes, reduce costs and delays, and encourage the earlier resolution of disputes.
This is the final post of four by Luke’s Place from our submission to this review. In our previous posts we responded to the three issues identified by the review. In this post, we add a fourth item for consideration.
Divorce Act changes
The federal government recently passed Bill C-78, which significantly amends the Divorce Act.
We recommend that this review consider amendments to the Children’s Law Reform Act to ensure it is consistent with the Divorce Act by:
- Changing the language of custody and access to parenting time, parenting responsibilities and decision-making responsibilities
- Expanding the criteria for the best interests of the child test
- Including an extensive definition of the term “family violence”
Considerable research has already been conducted on challenges in the family court system for survivors of family violence. We strongly encourage those tasked with this review to consider the recommendations made in reports such as:
- Brief on C-78 from Luke’s Place and the National Association of Women and the Law
- The Special Needs of Survivors of Family Violence in the Family Court Process: Comments on Justice Bonkalo’s “Family Legal Services Review”
- It Shouldn’t Be this Hard: A gender-based analysis of family law, family court and violence against women
- Through the Looking Glass: The experiences of unrepresented abused women in family court