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UpcomingAnnual Conference 2020

  • Annual Conference
    October 16, 2020
    9:00 am - 9:30 am

October 16, 2020
Keynote Speaker: El Jones

8:30-9:00     AFCC-O Annual General Meeting

9:00-9:15      Introductory Remarks

9:15-10:45     Keynote Speaker: Professor El Jones

El will review the tenets of intersectionality theory, exploring how an intersectional lens can deepen our understanding of social justice, access to justice, and pervasive issues within the family justice system.  Concepts of family and violence will be examined through this lens, highlighting the impacts of structural oppression and systemic inequalities on those served by the family justice, child welfare, and criminal justice systems.  In particular, the presentation will focus on how race, poverty, gender and domestic violence may overlap in ways that significantly disadvantage the men, women and children that come before our courts.  Finally, El will offer her insights about best practices for family justice professionals, and solutions for the future that will support transformative change.

10:45-11:00   Break

 Panel: Tools for Addressing Internet Abuse in Parenting Cases

Justice Freya Kristjanson, Superior Court of Justice
Shawn Richard, Lenkinski, Carr & Richard, LLP
Seema Jain, Jain Family Law & Mediation
Linda Popielarczyk, MSW, RSW, Acc.FM

This multidisciplinary panel will review tools that may be available to address the increasing problem of parents using the internet to cyberbully their former spouses, including the new privacy tort of “publicly placing someone in a false light”, and effective resort to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Potential impacts of cyberbullying of children will also be reviewed, along with steps that can be taken to minimize these impacts, and assessment or therapeutic options that may be of assistance.  Finally, the panel will discuss the personal impacts on family justice professionals who are targeted by internet abusers, and steps that professionals can take to protect themselves and their reputation.

12:30-1:15     Lunch Break

1:15-2:45      The Opioid Epidemic and Family Court

Dr. Stephanie Tabashnek, Psy.D., J.D.

Practitioners and courts across North America are confronting the challenge of how to manage the effects of opioid addiction on families. Drawing on the latest research, this presentation will provide lawyers, judges, mediators, and mental health professionals with the information necessary to thoughtfully approach cases involving opioid-addiction dynamics. Topics covered include the impact of opioid misuse on parenting, the science of addiction, and best practices for family law professionals who are developing parenting plans or court orders in these cases.

2:45-3:00      Break

3:00-4:30      Panel: Resist/Refuse Dynamics in Custody/Access Cases

Justice Phil Clay, Ontario Court of Justice
Justice Julie Audet, Superior Court of Justice
Patric Senson, Counsel, Office of the Children’s Lawyer
Dr. Shely Polak, PhD, MSW, RSW, Acc.FM
Heather Hansen, Martha McCarthy & Co

There has been a significant amount of literature released and webinars available on the resist/refusal dynamic in 2020. Our five person panel recognizes that registrants understand the issues so our approach will be practice focused. We will examine a factual scenario involving child resistance/refusal. Each panelist will examine the issues raised from the perspective of their role in family dispute resolution and provide practical advice for Ontario based judges, lawyers, and counsellors/therapists. The fact scenario will then be modified to raise new issues that may require different advice and different solutions. The scenarios will be available to registrants in advance of the program so that we can launch right into our discussion.

4:30-4:45      Closing Remarks


Note: Application to the Law Society of Ontario for professionalism and EDI credits is pending

Due to limitations imposed by COVID-19, this year’s event will be held virtually
As such,

registration fees have been decreased by 50% from last year’s prices.

2020 Fees

Member Rate: $125.00
Non-Member Rate: $150.00
Student/Retirement/Presenter Rate: $75.00
Group Rate: $125.00 each (5 person minimum) – Contact



UpcomingAFCC’s 14th Symposium on Child Custody

  • The Future of Child Custody: Stacking the Deck in Favor of Children
    November 9, 2020 - November 13, 2020
    8:00 am - 5:00 pm
What happens in Vegas… is going virtual! To protect the safety and wellbeing of all participants, AFCC will present the 14th Symposium on Child Custody online.

The symposium will consist of two pre-symposium institutes, 20 workshops, and two plenary sessions, held in a virtual format, November 9-13, 2020 (or November 10-14, depending on your time zone).

Register early and save! 

For the best conference registration rate, register by October 12, 2020. Registration and payment must be received or postmarked by October 12th to take advantage of this reduced rate. Early registration is always encouraged; space is limited.



Apply for a scholarship

Thanks to generous donations from AFCC members, AFCC is able to provide a limited number of scholarships to attend the virtual symposium. Scholarships include one pre-symposium institute, conference registration, and a certificate of attendance. The application deadline is Tuesday, September 29, 2020. Apply online.

Promote your business to symposium attendees

Attendees at AFCC events include the decision-makers responsible for selecting programs and products for agencies, firms, and courts. Typically, we offer businesses the opportunity to exhibit at AFCC events to share their products and services with attendees. In the virtual format, we are excited to offer businesses exposure on the conference website, including a logo and website link on the conference main page, plus a logo, description, and links to your website and additional resources on the sponsors page.

Contact Gina Wentling at for details and pricing.