Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

May 22, 2015 18:15 ET

Government of Canada Funds Innovative Family Law Projects in British Columbia

Support will provide tools and assist families experiencing divorce or separation

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 22, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay today announced funding of over $230,000 to the Justice Education Society of British Columbia for two innovative projects that will help Canadian families deal with complex issues related to divorce or separation and further enhance the efficiency of the family justice system in British Columbia and beyond.

Of this funding, more than $175,000 is being provided over a three-year period to expand the Society's FamiliesChange.ca website and make it a national family law resource. Through information posted on this website, and through links to other appropriate federal, provincial and territorial websites, people across Canada will be able to find and access information that may assist them with complex issues.

The Society will also receive more than $55,000 over two years for the development of tools to help self-represented litigants in family law cases that go before a court in British Columbia. These tools will include an online course to help self-represented litigants navigate their way through the province's family justice system, as well as tip sheets of best practices to help judges who work with self-represented litigants be more sensitive to the challenges they face.

Quick Facts

  • Various studies suggest that, in more than 50 percent of family law cases that go before a Canadian court, at least one of the litigants is self-represented, and the number appears to be growing.
  • Lawyers and judges report significant concerns about difficulties caused by the lack of legal representation, including fewer settlements and slower court processes.
  • In cases where one party is represented by legal counsel but the other party is self-represented, there are also concerns about increased costs for the party with legal representation.
  • Since April 2009, through the Department of Justice Canada's Supporting Families Fund, the Government has contributed a total of $15.5 million annually to the provincial and territorial governments for family justice services such as mediation to help families make decisions and resolve issues related to separation or divorce out of court.
  • The Supporting Families Fund has also allocated a total of $500,000 annually to non-government organizations for public legal education and information projects and for professional training projects.

Quotes

"Supporting Canadian families has been and continues to be a priority for our Government. We are pleased to support the Justice Education Society of British Columbia on these two projects that will help Canadian families navigating through the complexities of divorce and separation. By supporting projects that give people information they need to resolve issues related to separation and divorce, we are striving to reduce many of the negative impacts of separation and divorce on families, including stress, high costs and the risk of family violence, while making the justice system more efficient and effective for all."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Families going through a separation or divorce have a tremendous need for information to help them understand family law issues and navigate the family justice system. This is becoming even more the case as the number of self-represented family law litigants increases. The Justice Education Society is grateful to the Government of Canada for providing funding assistance to help the Society respond to this need."

Rick Craig, Executive Director, Justice Education Society of British Columbia

Associated Links

- Department of Justice: Family Law

- Supporting Families Fund

- Justice Legal Education Society of British Columbia

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Contact Information

  • Clarissa Lamb
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207