News / Articles


Courthouse Facility Dogs and Child Witnesses

Last year, Ellie — a cockapoo puppy — became our family dog as a birthday gift to our young son. She became his best companion and filled our home with joy and laughter. Ellie started to accompany me to the office, and in no time the office atmosphere became warmer and more affectionate. Ellie became the star attraction for my child clients, whom I represented…

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Bill C-78: Reforming the Parenting Provisions of the Divorce Act

On 22 May, 2018, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-78 to Parliament. This Bill 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. There have already been similar statutory changes to the parenting laws in a few provinces, as well as appeal court decisions in Ontario…

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Meeting and Interviewing Children

In April of this year, Debra Rodrigues, Dr. Dan Ashbourne, and Dr. Kim Harris presented a comprehensive three-day training entitled “Meeting and Interviewing Children for ADR”.   The three trainers have extensive experience working with children and families involved with the family and child protection legal systems. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Canada is a signatory, underscores that hearing from…

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The Peel Parenting Collective’s Story

Canada has witnessed ethnic shifts in migration, with 6,264,800 immigrants identifying themselves as a member of a visible minority group (2011 National Household Survey). Of this demographic, 65.1% were born outside of Canada. The Region of Peel is one of the most diverse ethno-cultural populations in Ontario, with a steady flow of newcomers. This reality underlines the need for inclusive community development and for all…

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FRO Enforcement as an A2J Barrier

Operating in a jurisdiction where students are not permitted to represent clients in Family Court, the Queen’s Family Law Clinic (QFLC) uses a limited scope retainer to maximize the number of clients served while also providing students with a challenging and dynamic learning opportunity. In the course of their work at the QFLC, the staff and students have come across a significant and largely unknown…

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Peacebuilding: Think Globally, Act Locally

Over the last two decades, I have been working in the field of family conflict resolution as a family lawyer and mediator.  I want to share my journey from local to global-acting locally with my gender equality work, and thinking globally for sustainable development and peacebuilding work. Mediators Beyond Borders International When I joined an international not-for-profit organization “Mediators Beyond Borders International” (“MBBI”), I committed…

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Age of Protection – CYFSA Legislation Changes

On January 1, 2018, the Ontario Youth, Child and Family Services Act was amended to increase the “age of protection” to include all children under the age of 18 years.  Under these amendments, 16 and 17-year-olds who are in need of protection are now eligible for a full range of child protection services.  A key change is the availability of a new voluntary agreement (a…

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Canaries in the Coal Mine: Pets and Family Violence

“A single woman entered the shelter; she had 3 dogs who were being taken care of by a neighbor while she was seeking safety with us. She came in and was hiding from her abuser, and was working on a restraining order to keep him away. Her plan was to return home once it was safe and she had the RO. Her abuser was harassing…

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BOOK REVIEW- The Social Organization of South Asian Immigrant Women’s Mothering in Canada

Dr. Ferzana Chaze, professor of Applied Health and Community Studies at Sheridan College (Toronto), recently authored The Social Organization of South Asian Immigrant Women’s Mothering in Canada (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017). The practical impact of this social science research is important as it closes the research gap and answers a critical question posed by many immigrants and their service providers: “What is it about the…

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Legislative Changes Recognizing the Importance of Connections with Family and Community

It is anticipated that the Child, Youth and Family Service Act (CYFSA)1 will be proclaimed in 2018 and will replace our current child protection legislation, the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA). The CYFSA introduces comprehensive amendments including: increasing the age of protection to include 16 and 17 year olds, allowing Children’s Aid Societies to expand services to these youth (these amendments will come into…

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