17 May 2012

Attorney General Publishes Family Law Act Resources

On 16 May 2012, the Ministry of Justice (formerly the Ministry of the Attorney General) released a variety of resource materials for the new Family Law Act. These documents are available online at

and include:
  1. a section by section explanation of the new legislation (PDF) with the government's interpretation of the meaning and intention of each provision;
  2. a table of concordance (PDF) between the new Family Law Act and the old Family Relations Act;
  3. a question and answer format discussion of common questions (PDF) about the new legislation; and,
  4. a survey of the highlights of the new legislation,
among other helpful things. I am curious to see how the explanation of the new legislation will be used in practice. Although this document has a note on each page saying
"This document was developed by the Ministry of Justice to support the transition to the Family Law Act. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon for those purposes."
whether it's legal advice or not, it's still a government-issued document interpreting new legislation and I expect will be used for precisely that purpose in court.


  1. I have a concern with respect to protection orders:if the actions or behavior caused a protection to be issued by FAMILY LAW COURTS because the behavior was not criminal.
    So I ask how is it that the same behavior is now criminally enforced after a protection order is issued based on NO criminal evidence or proper use of in the criminal courts.
    Protection are more about judgement(in my opinion)of the court than evidence needed in the criminal court.
    When the original actions or behavior are not prosecuted or order issued under the criminal code,but may have criminal implications in the future based on what original evidence?
    So more caution about issuing a protection order needed to be taken compared to now enforced restraining orders(FRA)to protect the rights of citizen under the Charter of Canada!!
    Maybe protection orders should be only issued by criminal court and have the proper evidence need under the criminal code,not some politician(s) or career civil servant(s)idea of justice!!

    1. I think that the protection orders under the FLA aren't too different than restraining orders under the FRA in terms of the sort of evidence required to make the order. The difference is that there is no way to enforce FLA protection orders except under a provision of the Criminal Code, s. 127, that makes it an offence to disobey a court order.

  2. You people want it both ways...criminal implications for an order that does not have evidence that meets the criminal court standards before the order or after the protection order is issued.
    I think it`s none of your business being in the criminal court for civil matter!!...have too much power then!!
    When the original action was not criminal and if the same action or behavior that brought the order in the first place is now criminal.Either you break the criminal code or you don`t...way to much control!!
    What is the standard for imposing a protection order,does the court have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt concerning evidence before issuing an order??