Government delays Divorce Act amendments coming into force in response to requests from justice partners due to COVID-19 pandemic

  • June 05, 2020

From the Department of Justice Canada

Divorce and separation are a reality for many Canadians, and ensuring that the family justice system can effectively respond to the needs of families in these situations is critical. That is why the Government of Canada took action by changing Canada’s federal family laws to promote the best interests of the child, address family violence, help reduce child poverty, and make the family justice system more accessible and efficient.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges on many fronts for Canadians, as well as for the operations of governments, courts and the family justice system.

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the delay of the coming into force of changes to the Divorce Act, which was scheduled for July 1, 2020. Due to extraordinary circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the coming into force date has been deferred until March 1, 2021.

Many courts across the country are currently hearing only urgent family law matters, and governments are focused on addressing pandemic-related urgencies and priorities. All of this has made it impossible to undertake the necessary steps for implementation. We understand the changes to the Divorce Act are highly anticipated by family law professionals, provincial and territorial partners and Canadians affected by separation and divorce. However, our partners throughout the family justice system need enough time to implement the legislative changes, including by adjusting their own laws and regulations.