After decades of waiting, women’s rights organizations celebrate changes to the Divorce Act

After decades of advocacy by women’s rights groups pressing for much needed changes to the Divorce Act, including by a coalition led by the National Association for Women and the Law (NAWL) and Luke’s Place, and the efforts of many feminists who engaged on Bill C-78; An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family […]

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New SCC decision on economic rights in the family

On January 25th, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that not extending spousal support and the division of property upon relationship breakdown to common-law couples, or de facto spouses, is constitutional. The case of Quebec (Attorney General)v. A, otherwise known as “Eric” v. “Lola”, involves a heterosexual couple in Quebec who lived together for […]

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Not in the Best Interests of Women and Children: An Analysis of Bill 422, An Act to Amend the Divorce Act

[pdf-embedder url=”https://nawl.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/NotintheBestInterestsofWomenandChildrenAnAnalysisofBill422AnActtoAmendtheDivorceAct.pdf” title=”Not in the Best Interests of Women and Children: An Analysis of Bill 422, An Act to Amend the Divorce Act”] […]

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Mothering in Law: Defending Women’s Rights in 2007

This May, NAWL, in collaboration with the University of Ottawa, will be hosting Mothering In Law, its biennial national conference. The Conference will take place on Friday, May 11 and Saturday May 12 — Mother’s Day weekend. The conference will provide an opportunity for discussion about policies, programs, and legal reforms that will promote the […]

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Report of the “International Perspectives on Religious Arbitration in Family Law” Conference

This conference highlighted a series of challenges and questions relating to the privatization of justice, the interaction of cultural and religious practices with family law, the balancing of constitutional equality rights with freedom of religion and multiculturalism, and the rise of extreme right politico-religious fundamentalisms in the context of globalization and neo-liberal conceptions of the […]

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An Open Letter Opposing the Use of Arbitration & Faith-Based Tribunals in Family Law in Ontario

February 24 2005 Honorable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario Honorable Michael Bryant, Attorney General of Ontario Honorable Sandra Pupatello, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues I am writing on behalf of the National Association of Women and the Law, in response to Marion Boyd’s report entitled “Protecting choice, Promoting Inclusion”. NAWL participated in Ms Boyd’s consultation, […]

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The Arbitrariness of Ontario’s Arbitration Act: Examining the Impact on Women

In many parts of the world, religious groups have been working to implement policies that would influence the manner in which society is run. It has been argued that this use of religion for political influence threatens to undermine hard won entitlements to equality and basic human rights. In Canada, much media attention has recently […]

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Women’s Voices in the Struggle for Family Law Legal Aid: A Matter of Justice

“It is a matter of justice! Legal Aid for women is not only a matter of equality as it is one of rights.” – Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, recently retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Many years ago, West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) identified access to legal aid in family law matters […]

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Race(ing) Family Law?: The Challenges

Cet article est disponible uniquement en anglais. The process of responding to the proposed amendments to the once “live” Bill C-22 sparked a series of continued conversations across Canada among Aboriginal women, women of colour, and immigrant and refugee women as to how race would and should be addressed within the Divorce Act. Although it […]

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Disability and Family Law

Cet article est disponible uniquement en anglais. My life as a single parent began shortly after a motor vehicle accident that left me a quadriplegic. My husband was not able or willing to make the commitment to having a wife with a disability. While I was in a rehabilitation hospital, he told me that I […]

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Sharia as Family Law in Canada?

Cet article est disponible uniquement en anglais. Some Canadian Muslims are proposing the implementation of sections of Shariah (Muslim law) to settle family disputes outside the court system through arbitration committees or tribunals. Due to provisions of the Arbitration Act, the arbitrated agreements may be accepted by law, resulting in a bypass of the court […]

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Common Law Partnerships and Marital Property: Time for a Change?

Cet article est disponible uniquement en anglais. Introduction Every family law lawyer is aware of the pervasive, but mistaken, belief that long term common law heterosexual partnerships are now treated in law in the same way as marital partnerships. They can all tell stories of women who learn too late that they cannot rely on […]

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From Custody and Access to Parental Responsibilities? What Does Bill C-22 Offer to Women and Childre

In December 2002, the federal Minister of Justice introduced Bill C-22. If enacted, the Bill will significantly change the child custody and access provisions of the Divorce Act. Women’s groups, including NAWL, have long called for changes to the Divorce Act to acknowledge the ways in which power imbalance, caregiving responsibility and woman abuse influence […]

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Where is the Government Going on Custody and Access?

In the September 30th Throne Speech, the Chrétien government announced that the Divorce Act would be amended to better promote the best interest of the child, unified family courts would be expanded, and mediation and counselling would be encouraged in lieu of litigation. The commitment is very vague for a government that has been doing […]

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Minority Women, Family Law and the State

A Summary of a Workshop at NAWL’s 14th Biennial Conference Women belonging to cultural minorities sometimes seek state support regarding inequalities they experience in their communities. Such inequalities, justified in the name of “culture”, are often especially evident in the family law arena, and in particular in marriage and divorce laws. Marriage and divorce laws […]

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Draft Bill on Civil Unions: Is the Quebec Government about to Create Separate Equality for Same-Sex Couples and their Children?

Cet article est disponible uniquement en anglais. After 28 years of living together as a couple, Michael Hendricks and René LeBoeuf, two gay men, claimed the legal right to marry before Quebec’s Superior Court in November 2001. Their claim is similar to those presented a few weeks earlier by some 10 lesbian and gay couples […]

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In Whose Best Interests?

Cet article est disponible uniquement en anglais. Both historically and currently, women have been and remain the primary caregivers of children in most families in Canada. Certainly, fathers share more of the responsibility than they did in the past, but in 52% of Canadian families, women do all of the child care and housework and […]

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