News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 8, 2018

FAMILY LAW MODERNIZATION REPORT RECOMMENDS INNOVATIVE PILOT PROJECT TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

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Manitoba Will Use Report to Establish Groundbreaking Family Law Reforms: Stefanson



Following consultations with families, mediators, lawyers, service organizations and many other stakeholders, the Manitoba government has released a report focused on modernizing Manitoba’s family law system, Justice Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

“Our government is committed to being a Canadian leader in family law reform, making the system more accessible, efficient and effective for families and children,” said Stefanson.  “The advisory committee has presented us with a compelling opportunity to modernize how we deal with child custody, spousal support and similar matters through an innovative pilot project focused on mediation, early intervention and a less adversarial process.  Now our work begins to move these recommendations forward.”
 
Recommendations from the committee’s groundbreaking report, Modernizing Our Family Law System:  A Report from Manitoba’s Family Law Reform Committee, include:

  • a three-year pilot project to direct more Winnipeg-based family law matters into non-adversarial systems outside of court, with the goal of resolving these more quickly;
  • the creation of an administrative office, to be led by a chief resolution officer, to more quickly triage and find the appropriate way to resolve disputes related to child custody, access, child support and/or spousal support; and
  • expanding the quality and amount of information available to Manitobans related to family law including rights and obligations and what to expect from the system, written in plain language and focused on non-adversarial resolutions.

“Family law deals with some of the most difficult and important issues in our lives,” said Allan Fineblit, attorney with Thompson Dorfman Sweatman and chair of the Family Law Reform Committee.  “Our recommendations are based on the feedback we received from many Manitobans, often those with personal experience.  There are very serious challenges in the current system and we believe our report identifies a model with real promise on how to better resolve disputes in family matters.”

The minister announced the creation of the family law reform committee in October 2017, with the goal of finding a new administrative framework to modernize the family law system in Manitoba.  The committee’s final report is available at www.gov.mb.ca/justice.

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