Legislation to strengthen and modernize Canada’s family justice system, Chandra Arya , MP Nepean

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Legislation to strengthen and modernize Canada’s family justice system,Chandra Arya , MP Nepean

Protecting families, particularly children, from the negative outcomes often related to separation and divorce is a priority for the Government of Canada.  Canada’s family justice system must work for families and be both accessible and efficient.

Census 2016 found that more than two million children were living in separated or divorced families. More than five million Canadians separated or divorced between 1991 and 2011, and among those, 38 per cent had a child together at the time.

Every family is different and every child is different. The legislation introduced this spring proposes new measures to strengthen and modernize Canada’s family justice system, so that it works for today’s families.

We introduced legislation that would help achieve these objectives by amending 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). This is the first substantial update of Canada’s federal family laws in 20 years.

The bill’s four key objectives are to promote the best interests of the child, address family violence, help reduce child poverty, and make Canada’s family justice system more accessible and efficient.

Other proposed amendments would streamline certain family justice processes, encourage people to resolve divorce-related disputes out of court, and create new rules for parents who wish to relocate a child after a divorce. Proposed amendments to FOAEAA and GAPDA would provide additional tools for enforcing family support obligations.

As announced in Budget 2018, the Government also proposes to improve access to the family justice system by expanding unified family courts in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Unified family courts also provide services in all areas of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Unified family courts simplify procedures by allowing federal and provincial family law issues to be addressed by a single court.

We will be holding a consultation meeting to obtain your input and suggestions during the fall.

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