Legislative Update

Two acts have come into force on July 1st.

Schedule B  of The Family Law Modernization Act; The Child Support Service Act is proclaimed into force on July 1st with important changes including:

  • In addition to its current role of recalculating existing child support orders based on updated income information, the Service is given authority to make initial child support decisions in specified circumstances. This will enable many families to have child support determined without having to make a court application.
  • The Service may recalculate all Manitoba child support orders unless a court order prohibits recalculation. Current law permits recalculation only when a court order authorizes it.
  • The Service may determine when support for an adult child is no longer eligible for recalculation. This eliminates the need for many parties to make a court application.
  • Child support agreements become eligible for recalculation by the Service.

The Courts Modernization Act (Various Acts Amended) (S.M. 2019, c. 16) is also proclaimed in force July 1st. Amendments include the following:

  • The Court of Appeal Act
    • New procedures are established to make orders respecting persons who are vexatious litigants. The ability of the court to make rules regarding practice and procedure is clarified. The court must make an annual report respecting its activities.
  • The Provincial Court Act
    • Committees that were convened to provide a list of candidates when there was a need to appoint a judge or a judicial justice of the peace are made standing committees. Each committee will maintain an ongoing list of qualified candidates. When an appointment is required, the committee will prepare a list of candidates who are recommended for the appointment in question.
    • Provincial court judges must retire at age 75.
  • The Court of Queen’s Bench Act
    • New procedures are established to make orders respecting persons who are vexatious litigants.
    • A committee that was convened to provide a list of candidates when there was a need to appoint a master is made a standing committee. This committee will maintain an ongoing list of qualified candidates and will prepare a list of recommended candidates when a master is to be appointed.
    • Masters must retire at age 75. The court must make an annual report respecting its activities. The ability of all judges to deal with aspects of certain family proceedings is clarified.
  • The Court of Queen’s Bench Small Claims Practices Act
    • The monetary limit for a small claim action is raised from $10,000 to $15,000. That limit may be increased by regulation.
    • A defendant in a small claim action is required to file a defence. Default judgment may be obtained against a defendant who does not file a defence by the deadline set under the rules. A process is established to set aside default judgments.
    • The amount of costs that can be awarded against a party is increased from $100 to $500. Wrongful dismissal from employment claims cannot be brought in a small claim action.

For a list of these and all other Proclamations visit the Government of Manitoba website here.

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