Law Commission of Ontario Adopts New Family Law Project



TORONTO, April 21, 2009 – Following an extensive consultation process, the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) today announced its adoption of a new project to identify best practices at the early stage of family law dispute resolution processes. It will provide recommendations for more efficient, quicker and cheaper justice services that are more responsive to the needs of Ontarians who face family crises.

During economic downturns such as the current one, family crises tend to increase and resources to solve them to decrease. Most people do not think about “law” until they face a family crisis. It is therefore more important than ever to evaluate the effectiveness of family dispute resolution processes and ensure that they are to all Ontarians.

The new LCO project, expected to take 18 months to complete, is entitled “Best Practices at Family Justice System Entry Points: Users’ Needs and Workers’ Responses in the Justice System”. It is the LCO’s second family law project. A number of recommendations made in its first project on the division of pension on marital breakdown have been included in Bill 133 (an Act to amend various family law-related Acts and to repeal the Domestic Violence Protection Act, 2000.)

The LCO will conduct research and hold public consultations, the dates of which will be announced at a later stage of the project. In addition to formal consultations, the LCO will establish an ongoing dialogue with organizations working in the area of family law as well as with the Ontario public. It is expected that the project will be completed in approximately 18 months.

The LCO seeks to participate in current efforts at improving the family justice system, without duplicating the work of others. The LCO therefore invites other groups to keep the LCO informed about related initiatives. With permission, such initiatives will be posted on the LCO website.

Dr. Patricia Hughes, Executive Director of the LCO, said, “one of the major benefits of this project is its potential for improving the family law system for Ontario’s more vulnerable populations”.

More information about this project can be found on the LCO website at http://www.lco-cdo.org/fr/familylaw_fr.html

Launched last September, the LCO operates independently of government to recommend law reforms to enhance access to justice.


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Julie Lassonde, Research Lawyer
Law Commission of Ontario
(416) 650-8232