Canadian Divorce Reform: 1998 – 2003
Herbert Eser Gray, Queen’s Counsel
Former Deputy Prime Minister Dies At 82
OTTAWA – From The Canadian Press
Herb Gray, a former deputy prime minister and one of Canada’s longest-serving parliamentarians, died Monday at the age of 82.
The federal Liberal party said Gray passed away peacefully at an Ottawa hospital.
“Beloved by all, Herb devoted a lifetime to his party and his country, in both good times and bad,” Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said in a statement.
“He has left behind an immense legacy unmatched by most in Canadian history.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper extended his condolences to Gray’s family as news of his death spread.
“He was an honourable parliamentarian who served his country well,” Harper said on Twitter.
Gray’s career in federal politics spanned nearly four decades, starting in Opposition to John Diefenbaker and sweeping to victory with Jean Chretien’s third Liberal majority government in November 2000.
2003 Women’s Groups Raged Against Shared Parenting
Women’s Justice Network on Bill C-22, An Act to Amend the Divorce Act
Bill C-22: Where Now?
By Pamela Cross
When Bill C-22, An Act to Amend the Divorce Act, died in November 2003, a long chapter in NAWL’s work on reforms to custody and access legislation came to a close. We now find ourselves in a position to consider the broader question of women’s equality within family law generally. This issue of Jurisfemme, largely focused on the topic of family law, is the start of that work. This first article provides a brief update on Bill C-22.
Bill C-22 was many years in the making. The federal government began its most recent examination of custody and access law in 1997 with the establishment of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access, which released its report “For the Sake of the Children” in December 1998. (For more background information on this report and the history of activities undertaken by women’s rights organizations, visit the NAWL website at http://www.nawl.ca or the Ontario Women’s Justice Network website at http://www.owjn.org)
Since the release of the 1998 Report, the Federal, Provincial, Territorial Committee on Family Law, various Ministers of Justice, women’s equality-seeking and anti-violence organizations and other Canadians, including “fathers’ rights” groups, have all been actively involved in the legislative reform process.
Both before and after the introduction of Bill C-22 in December 2002, the following issues have been of particular concern to organizations working for women’s equality:
1) The language to be used to describe custody and access arrangements between parents
2) The best interests of the child test
3) Women’s access to justice
NAWL’s strong position with respect to each of the issues can be summarized as follows:
1) While there are difficulties with the existing language of custody and access, the proposed language of parenting orders, parental responsibility, parenting time and shared decision making will prove even more difficult. It will endanger women and children leaving abusive relationships, expose children in some situations to international kidnapping, confuse the existing child support guidelines and greatly increase litigation.
2) There needs to be a best interests of the child test with specific criteria, including past caregiving history, the presence of violence, the ongoing safety of the children and their primary caregiver, violence risk factors, race and ethnic origin and Aboriginal heritage.
3) Women must be assured access to justice through properly funded legal aid, independent, community-based services and mandatory training on violence against women and children for lawyers, judges and all family court personnel. Mediation must never be mandatory.
B.C. family laws face sweeping change
Bill that vows to protect children would also extend property rights to common-law couples
CBC News British Columbia – Nov 14, 2011
B.C.’s attorney general introduced a bill Monday that would create a new Family Law Act to replace the 1978 Family Relations Act, and better serve the interests of children.
Shirley Bond told the B.C. Legislature that the primary goal of the proposed act is to ensure the safety and well-being of children during and after the process of separation or divorce.
“The best interests of the child must be the only consideration,” Bond said.
Bill 16’s recommendations follow from a discussion paper and draft legislation issued in July 2010. The white paper suggested, among other things, toning down the language in the law by removing terms such as “custody.”
The bill tries to reduce conflict by steering couples away from courts and towards mediation.