Family law reforms roll out across Ontario today

The provincial government is rolling out family law reforms across Ontario today.

The changes involve an expansion of services already available at some Ontario courthouses up until now. They include the mandatory information program that began as a pilot project at the courts in Milton and Brampton, Ont. The idea is to offer more upfront information to families on their dispute-resolution options and provide essential details on how divorce affects children.

Attorney General Chris Bentley has been championing the changes for some time. They’re part of the so-called Four Pillars of family law reform that Bentley has touted as a cost-effective route to speeding up the justice system while making it less expensive for families.

Making mediation available at courts across the province is also key to the changes. The idea, according to Bentley, is to give families a greater chance of resolving their disputes without going through a drawn-out court process by removing some of the confrontation involved in separation and divorce. As a result, litigants will have free access to limited on-site mediation as well as off-site mediators working on a sliding scale based on income.

Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler, however, has thrown some cold water on Bentley’s reforms. Speaking at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s family law summit last month, Winkler said that while he welcomes the changes, they don’t go far enough to cure an ailing family justice system. In his view, mediation should be a mandatory component of the family law process with litigation reserved for those cases where there’s abuse, an imbalance of power or an unco-operative party.

Free newsletter

The Canadian Legal Newswire is a FREE weekly newsletter that keeps you up to date on news and analysis about the Canadian legal scene. A separate InHouse Edition is delivered every two weeks, providing targeted news and information of interest to in-house counsel.

Please complete the form below to receive the weekly Canadian Legal Newswire and/or the Canadian Inhouse Legal Newswire.

Recent articles & video

Daphne Dumont to receive CBA’s Cecilia I. Johnstone award

Quebec taking harsh line on cannabis edibles

Will the conversation catalyzed by the Law Society of Ontario mean the end of articling?

Copyright law: set for an overhaul?

Corporate Counsel Survey 2019 closes on Monday, Aug 26

When Legal Aid is a political prop, Access to justice suffers

Most Read Articles

The Ontario government is destroying university legal clinics

Will the conversation catalyzed by the Law Society of Ontario mean the end of articling?

Quebec taking harsh line on cannabis edibles

When Legal Aid is a political prop, Access to justice suffers