Support for access to family legal resources in both official languages a priority for the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba
April 25, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
Divorce is a reality for many Canadians, and ensuring that Canada’s family justice system can effectively respond to the needs of families in these situations is critical. That is why the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba are taking steps to make Canada’s family justice system more efficient and accessible.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Honourable Rochelle Squires, Minister of Families, Accessibility and Francophone Affairs of Manitoba announced over $1.6 million in funding to support the Province of Manitoba towards the implementation of the official language rights provision of the Divorce Act that came into force in Manitoba on March 1, 2021.
This will ensure that families experiencing divorce have access to court proceedings in the official language of their choice. Funds will be used to enhance the availability of family justice services in both official languages to assist parties in coming to agreements where possible, and support hearings by increasing the French-language capacity of the courts. They will also contribute to Manitoba’s new Family Law Modernization French Language Service Plan.
Changes to the Divorce Act that came into force on March 1, 2021,promote children’s best interests, encourage out-of-court methods of dispute resolution, address family violence, reduce child poverty and make Canada’s family justice system more affordable. They also provide a framework for using either English or French, or both, in divorce proceedings, and allow the parties to submit their legal documents in either official language, be heard by a judge who speaks their official language, request interpretation, and have access to forms in both official languages. The funding announced today will help Manitoba implement the new requirements that result from these important reforms to the Divorce Act.
The Government of Canada will continue to work with provincial and territorial partners to make Canada’s family justice system fairer, more accessible, and more efficient.
“Divorce can be an incredibly challenging situation for families. It is magnified when they cannot access information or services in the official language of their choice. With this funding, the Government of Canadas acting on its commitment to improve access to justice for all Canadians by ensuring that the language needs of divorcing Manitobans are met. This will help them navigate this challenging time with greater ease and confidence.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Our government is committed to ensuring access to services in both official languages to support healthy relationships and reduce the negative impact of separation and divorce on families in Manitoba. This investment to expand French-language service delivery is an important step forward in expanding access to justice for Francophone families in our province.”
The Honourable Rochelle Squires
Minister of Families, Minister responsible for Accessibility and Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs of Manitoba
“Our government has worked to encourage the resolution, where possible, of family matters out of court. New federal support puts an emphasis on ensuring official language rights for family law services, which is important as we continue to modernize family law services in a way that makes it accessible and less adversarial. The funding will further enhance access to justice for Francophone families involved in the family law system, ensuring official language rights provisions under the recently amended federal Divorce Act are met and out-of-court resolution services reflect the diversity of Manitoba families.”
The Honourable Kelvin Goertzen
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Manitoba
Nearly 10 per cent of Manitobans are French-language speakers.
Budget 2019 announced $21.65 million over five years (2020/21 to 2024/25) to support provinces and territories in the implementation of the official language rights provision included in amendments to the Divorce Act that came into force on March 1, 2021.
Bill C-78 amended three federal family laws: the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act. Most of the amendments to the Divorce Act came into force on March 1, 2021, while changes to federal support enforcement laws that did not come into force on Royal Assent or in December 2020 will progressively come into force at different times over the next two years.
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