Manitoba eLaws – New Edition – Family Law

The September 2018 edition of the Family Law Update has been published. Selected contents include:

  • SCC Adopts Multi‑factored Hybrid Approach to Hague Convention Analysis
  •  Limiting “Death by a Thousand Cuts of Litigation”: MBCA
  • Timely Decisions Essential in Child Welfare Cases: MBCA
  • Judges Have a Duty to Take a Hard Look at the Merits of Summary Judgment Claims: MBCA
  • Legislative updates
  • Final Report on the Review of Manitoba’s Child Welfare Legislation, Opportunities to Improve Outcomes for Children and Youth

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Report re Child Protection System

The Government of Manitoba released its report on improving child welfare legislation on September 19, 2018. Titled “Opportunities to Improve Outcomes for Children and Youth“, it will provide guidance to the government to inform new legislation and policies.

On December 21, 2017, then Families Minister announced a formal review of Manitoba’s child welfare legislation. As community leaders, we were very pleased to be asked to lead this important initiative.  Following our appointment, we spent the next four months holding meetings and reviewing written submissions and online survey responses. In addition to hearing formal presentations in Winnipeg, we met with key stakeholders in Thompson, Dauphin and Brandon. It is remarkable that over 1,540 individuals provided input in such a short frame of time.

Additional commentary:

Notice from the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench

The Court recently published Version 5 of the  Mandatory Standard Clauses for Family Division Orders. The use of standard clauses has been mandatory since 1998.

Version 5 of the Standard Clauses reflects legislative changes that have come into force since the release of Version 4 of the Standard Clauses and contains many other changes to clause wording and footnotes. The terms used in the applicable legislative and regulatory provisions and Rules were taken into account as clauses were drafted.

Be sure to read the entire notice for full instructions.

“Modernizing Our Family Law System” – Report

The Manitoba government has just released a report titled Modernizing Our Family Law System, by Manitoba’s Family Law Reform Committee. The 10 page report, followed by 4 pages of appendices, is written in plain English, befitting the audience it is intended for. The Committee suggests a three year pilot project.

Our model would by legislation, require all matters proceeding
under the Family Maintenance Act to be commenced by
an application form which would be simple enough that an
individual could complete it with or without the assistance
of a lawyer.

...

While restricting this pilot project to Family Maintenance Act
matters will significantly limit the scope of this initiative, we
believe there will be a large volume of matters, sufficient to
test the effectiveness of this approach during the pilot phase.

The Committee was formed in the fall of 2017, and completed their report in record time, as mandated by Justice Minister Stefanson.

As many studies have noted, the adversarial court system does not work well for family law matters. Families must continue to work together after divorce and custody issues are taken care of. We will be watching for the government to introduce legislation to enable this project, and keep you informed when it has been released.

News Release: Family Law Modernization Report Recommends Innovative Pilot Project to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families

Both ‘opportunity’ and loss for lawyers in revamp of Manitoba family law

Ottawa Proposes Changes to the Divorce Act-Updated

The Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson Raybould, recently introduced Bill C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act. This is the first major overhaul to the Divorce Act since the child support guidelines were enacted in 1997.

Some of the reforms included in the Bill include:

  • Establishing a framework for relocating a child;
  • Fleshing out the term “best interest of the child”;
  • Provide for orders requiring contact with a child for another person, e.g. a grandparent.

The federal government has been consulting with members of the family bar and other stakeholders for the past two years in preparation for this bill.

Commentary from The Lawyers Daily: Bar Gives Good Initial Reviews

A Brief Overview of Bill C-78, Part 2, by John-Paul Boyd

A Brief Overview of Bill C-78, Part 1, by John-Paul Boyd