Campaign for the Earth

May 30, 2005 05:02 ET

76% reject using religious laws to settle family legal matters

Provincial poll reveals strong support for the Family Law and Courts of Ontario Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, World News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - May 30, 2005) - In a province wide poll conducted earlier this month, 76% of the people surveyed agreed with the statement "all Ontarians should be governed only by the family laws and courts of Ontario."

The poll also found that 76% of both men and women agreed with the above statement. When it came to provincial voting intentions, NDP showed the most support for the family laws and courts of Ontario at 81%, followed closely by the Liberals at 76% and the Conservatives at 74%..

In 1991 the NDP Government of Ontario gave verbal approval to all religious groups, Christian, Jewish, Muslim etc., to use the Arbitration Act to settle family legal issues, such as divorce and child custody, based on their religious laws.

City of Diversity Wants One Law for All

In the GTA, one of the most diverse city's in the world, only 21% of the people surveyed were aware that all religious groups have had the right to use their religious laws since 1991. However, 80% of the people living in the GTA said that everyone should only use the family laws of Ontario. Torontonians may appreciate the ethnic diversity of their restaurants, but when it comes to family law, they want one law for all.

"Over the past year there has been a lot of passionate debate and discussion about the use of religious laws for family legal matters", said Ms. Marilyn Ashby, Director, Campaign for the Earth, "we commissioned this poll to help bring some new facts to the attention of community activists, policy makers and the media. We believe a well informed public helps to ensure the creation of better public policies."

In December 2004, Marion Boyd, former Attorney General under Bob Rae, recommended the Liberal Government continue to permit the arbitration of family legal matters based on religious laws. Recommendation number 2, on page 133 of her report, reads as follows:

"The Arbitration Act should continue to allow disputes to be arbitrated using religious law, if the safeguards currently prescribed and recommended by this Review are observed."

Methods and Sampling

These results are compiled from a Strategic Communications telephone poll conducted May 2 to May 8, 2005. Interviews were conducted with 600 adult Ontario residents, selected by the random-household sampling method. The overall results are considered accurate to within ±4.0%, 19-times-in-20, of what they would have been had the entire Ontario adult population been polled. The margin of error will be larger for sub-groups of the survey population. This data was statistically weighted to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Ontario population according to the 2001 Census.

About Strategic Communications

Strategic Communications (Stratcom) is one of the largest political consulting firms in Canada. Stratcom specializes in services to enhance the effectiveness of Canada's nonprofit community and political candidates. Services include opinion research, communications, and strategy. The company has two full-service offices in Toronto and Vancouver.The Stratcom Ontario Public Affairs Omnibus is a new regular product from Stratcom, long with a new omnibus poll in BC.

About Campaign for the Earth

Campaign for the Earth was founded in 1989. It is a foundation registered in the USA. It is also a non-government organization (NGO) accredited to the Department of Public Information, United Nations Headquarters, New York City. Their mission is to assist local community activists to address issues of public concern through educational initiatives.
/For further information: Robert Simpson: 416-923-9036
John Willis - Strategic Communications - 416-537-6100 ext:70/ IN: INTERNATIONAL, JUSTICE, POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Marilyn Ashby, Director, Campaign for the Earth
    Primary Phone: 416-574-5463
    Secondary Phone: 416-566-3990
    E-mail: rjs@pathcom.com