Joint submission on the Family Law Act Modernization Project

In a joint submission, West Coast LEAF and Rise Women’s Legal Centre responded to the Ministry of Attorney General’s call for public input on Phase 2 of the Family Law Act (FLA) Modernization Project. The FLA builds off the 1979 Family Relations Act and is BC’s primary legislation on issues related to family relationships. It addresses topics including parentage, guardianship, parenting arrangements after separation, child and spousal support after separation, division of property and debt after separation, protection against family violence, and dispute resolution processes and tools.

The Modernization Project aims to update the FLA to make it clearer and more responsive to diverse families’ needs. Its second phase focuses on issues related to the care of children, time with children, and protection against family violence.

In our submission, we make recommendations in the following areas:

  • Reforms that will help to align the FLA with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) through the integration of Indigenous laws and perspectives.
  • Reforms that will better support the safety, well-being, and self-determination of families affected by overlapping systems of marginalization and oppression, including Indigenous families, single-mother-led families, families affected by family violence, and 2SLGBTQIA+ families.
  • Reforms that will aid judges in meaningfully considering and responding to the gendered realities of family law and family violence, including in relocation applications and applications for protection orders. 

In making our recommendations about changes to the FLA, West Coast LEAF and Rise are aware that meaningful access to family law justice will ultimately require multi-system reforms, including wrap-around supports for families, increased access to legal aid services, more accessible court systems, and improved training for judges, lawyers, and other family law professionals on topics including family violence and Indigenous cultural competency.

Read the full submission (PDF, 888 kb).

Take action for justice and equity!

We need your help to make positive, transformative change.