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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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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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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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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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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