On Tuesday, the federal government introduced Bill C-78, the first update to family law legislation in over 20 years.
The bill amends a number of family-related statutes, including the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act to create faster and more cost-effective solutions to family law disputes.
Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould identified four goals of the bill:
- Promoting the best interests of the child
- Addressing family violence
- Reducing child poverty
- Making Canada’s family justice system more accessible and efficient.
Some of the more significant changes include adding a non-exhaustive list of criteria under the Divorce Act to help courts determine the best interests of the child, and encouraging matters to be resolved through a family dispute resolution process.
In addition, the bill proposes adopting more neutral language, such as replacing “custody” and “access” with “parenting orders” and “parenting time”, and introduces measures for courts to address family violence. It also proposes a new framework for a parent who intends to relocate with their child.
Our very own Marta Siemiarczuk joined fellow family law stakeholders this week to discuss Bill C-78 alongside Jody Wilson-Raybould.
For more information about this bill, contact our Family Law Group.