The AFCC is an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict. AFCC members share a strong commitment to education, innovation and collaboration in order to benefit communities, empower families, and promote a healthy future for children.
Our vision is a justice system in which all professionals work collaboratively through education, support and access to services to achieve the best possible outcome for children and families.
AFCC-O continues to initiate and participate in important research, and hold symposiums to identify changes and new initiatives that will be beneficial to Ontario families.
There has been a significant increase in the number of self-represented family litigants, which causes concern for these individuals, their children and the family justice system. Data suggests that in over half of the family cases in Canada’s courts, one or both parties are without a lawyer. Inability to afford full representation by a lawyer is the single biggest factor, but other reasons include the rise of “do it yourself” social attitudes, increasing availability of self-help information from family justice institutions, and a perception among some self-represented litigants that having a lawyer may not result in a significantly better outcome. The AFCC-O is a partner in the Ontario Family Law Limited Scope Services Project which is an important initiative to help improve access to affordable family legal services.
For more information see Ontario’s Family Law Limited Scope Services Project
The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family Justice in Ontario (2020-22)
AFCC-O awarded funding to Claire Houston, Rachel Birnbaum, and Nicholas Bala to study the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on family justice in Ontario, including its effects on both domestic and child welfare cases.
The team studied the effects of the pandemic on parental separation and conflict, litigants (both those with and without lawyers), and its effects on access to justice, victims of domestic violence, children whose parents have separated, and children removed from parental care by child welfare agencies.
Their findings were published in The Lawyer’s Daily:
On 22 May, 2018 the Liberal government introduced Bill C-78 to Parliament, which will, if enacted, amend the parenting provisions of the Divorce Act, the first significant change to this part of the legislation since it came into effect in 1986. Bill C-78 will affect the making of orders and agreements concerning children and parenting, including provisions that will:
There are likely to be Parliamentary hearings on Bill C-78 in the Fall 2018, with enactment likely by the Winter of 2019. However, there is never certainty about the process of enacting legislation. There are contentious issues, including proposals for the inclusion of a presumption of “equal parenting time,” which is not in the present Bill.
See AFCC-O Response to Bill C-78 to view AFCC-O’s submissions to Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, September 10, 2018.
See Bala Divorce Reform June 2018 for a discussion parenting provisions of Bill C-78, and an argument against a presumption of “equal parenting time”.
See John Boyd Overview of Bill C78 – Pt 1 – June 2018 – A summary of parenting provisions of Bill C-78.
See John Boyd Overview of Bill C78 – Pt 2 – June 2018 – A summary of other provisions of Bill C-78, including provisions relating to support issues, interjurisdictional agreements and treaties.
The Challenge of High Conflict Family Cases Involving a Child Protection Agency: A Review of Literature and an Analysis of Reported Ontario Cases – By Claire Houston and Nicholas Bala, February 17, 2015