25 November 2011

Family Law Act Receives Royal Assent

Bill 16, the Family Law Act, passed third reading in the provincial legislature on 23 November 2011 seemingly without amendment and received Royal Assent yesterday, according to the legislature's excellent "Progress of Bills" webpage.

Although the act is now law, most of it — in fact, almost all of it — is not in force, and will not come into force except by order in council in, according to the Attorney General, 12 to 18 months.

Section 482 of the act sets out a table showing which parts of the act are in force now, and which will come into effect later on. Effective immediately:
  • Family Relations Act, s. 90 (parental support) is repealed
  • Family Relations Act, s. 120.1 (property agreements of unmarried parties) is repealed
  • Land (Spouse Protection) Act, ss. 1, 3, 5 and 6 are amended to make the act apply to persons who have cohabited in marriage-like relationship for at least two years
  • Property Transfer Tax Act, s. 1 is amended to make the act apply to persons who have cohabited in marriage-like relationship for at least two years
  • Evidence Act, ss. 6, 7 and 8 are amended to make "spouses" competent witnesses, not just husbands and wives

In addition, references to "husband and wife" or "a man and a woman" are changed to "spouse" or "two people" in the Family Relations Act, the Industrial Roads Act, the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, the Law and Equity Act, the Marriage Act, the Members' Conflict of Interest Act, the Property Law Act, the School Act, the Wills Act, and the Workers Compensation Act,

References to "father" and "mother" are changed to "parent" in the Mental Health Act, the Property Transfer Tax Act, the School Act, and the Workers Compensation Act.

Other minor amendments less susceptible to generalization are made to the Adoption Act and the Name Act.


The Attorney General's office has posted a new webpage with background to the new act, the past discussion papers including the white paper, and news releases.


  1. It is very interesting how democracy works??
    Public apathy and the powers to be (like the people that made these recommendations to the AG)have to much control and basically can pass any thought that comes to their head as long as politically correct masters agree.
    It`s all about gauging public opinion....50 percent turn out to vote??The powers to be think they have a manade??

  2. I love your blogs and don't mean to be presumptuous, but I always thought the term was "Royal Assent"?

  3. That`s a great comment or comments!....are you someone who believes in short term problem solving without looking at the confidence of public in the long term?.....likes to play around the fringes of the law with concern to Family law...criminal or civil court....what is the mood today?