1. FLA AGM!
The Family Lawyers Association will hold its annual general meeting on November 17, 2016 at the Arts and Letters Club starting at 6:00 PM. The Arts and Letters Club is at 14 Elm Street, Toronto, M5G 1G7. This is the time and place where we tell you what we have been up to all year, answer your questions, hear your concerns, and you get to elect the new Board. Voting for the Board is in person only! Please come out to meet with us or…
Better yet consider running for the Board. Click here to download a self-nomination form for election to the Board. Click here for a self-nomination form to become an Officer of the Board. If you want to know what it is like to be on the Board, please contact Katharina Janczaruk, Chair of the Board () who will be happy to provide additional information. We will be sending out more details about the AGM closer to the date.
Look out for our Annual Report, also to be released around the time of the AGM.
2. We were pleased to see so many friends and supporters of the FLA at the FLA Annual Social held on September 22, 2016. We have got some fabulous feedback from attendees on what was great and what was maybe not so great. We would love to hear from you on what sort of things you would like the FLA to do for our social get-togethers including the time of year for this sort of event. 2017 will be even better!
3. Bar and Bench – Our board members attend the bar and bench meetings regularly at 311 Jarvis, 47 Sheppard and 393 University. Attached are Julia Vera’s reports on the last meetings for the 311 Jarvis and 393 University Bar and Bench; and Anne Calpin’s report on the last meeting for 47 Sheppard Avenue. Any issues or concerns can be sent to Katharina Janczaruk, Chair of the Board () and will be forwarded to the appropriate FLA Board member.
4. FLA v. LAO – Our sub-committee continues to work on a number of issues on your behalf, from pushing to increase the tariff or coverage for the work we do to ending the frustrations of dealing with the administration of LAO. Please see attached the last report of our sub-committee, chaired by Jean Hyndman.
5. In the last newsletter, we reported on the move to Unified Courts. In the Ontario Attorney General’s letter dated October 12, 2016 to the Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Minister writes on the issue of Unified Courts the following:
“In seventeen communities across Ontario, the Unified Family Court model is working to provide a “single window” for family cases, where families can go to one court to fully resolve their issues. Unified Family Courts offer a more specialized bench with judges and support staff possessing strong expertise in family law matters. The result is a more efficient and responsive court process that puts the needs of children and families first.
Our governments have both expressed a renewed commitment to build on the success of this model by considering the expansion of Unified Family Courts to additional Ontario communities. I am pleased to inform you that officials at the Ministry are currently working with the leadership of both the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice to develop a consensus-driven proposal for Unified Family Court expansion in Ontario. In the coming months, I will be formally submitting this proposal for our consideration.”
The FLA welcomes your comments about the Unified Courts.
At the Opening of the Courts held on September 13, 2016, the Chief Justices all remarked on the importance of support from the Bar.
6. The next 311 Jarvis Open Bar will be on November 7, 2016 starting at 4:45 pm on the second floor of 311 Jarvis. Justice Sherr will chair “Determining Income for Guideline Purposes”. The cost is $25 which includes snacks. FLA members get $5 off the price of admission. We get a lot of calls about registering – you DO NOT need to register in advance but you should get there early. These programs are very popular and seats fill up quickly! Click here to download the flyer.
7. The next 47 Sheppard Education Committee session will be on November 15, 2016 at North York Memorial Community Hall, 5110 Yonge Street, starting at 4:30 pm. Justice Anthony (Bill) Sullivan will chair “Top 10 Ethical Issues for Family Law Lawyers”. The cost of the program is $20 including snacks. This program may be claimed for 1.5 Professionalism hours. The program flyer is attached.
8. On November 7, 2016, Osgoode Hall is presenting “Negotiating, Challenging and Drafting Domestic Contracts”. On November 18, 2016 there will be a video replay of an earlier session: “Recent Developments & Complex Issues in Child and Spousal Support.” FLA members get a 10 per cent discount! Please see attached program.
9. Another reminder for the AFCC event for new professionals, to be held on October 20, 2016 (1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.): “Exploring Strategies for Clients with Mental Health Issues”. Program details are attached.
10. FDRIO (Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario) hosts “FDRWeek 2016” from November 21-26. The early bird deadline has been extended to October 28, 2016! See the attached link: http://eepurl.com/ckDBxH
11. Luke’s Place (http://lukesplace.ca/) has launched a 3 hour online training program for lawyers representing clients leaving abusive relationships. The fee for the program is $125 and is accredited by LSUC for 1 hour, 20 minutes Professionalism Hours and up to 1 hour, 10 minutes Substantive Hours. See Luke’s Place’s website for more details.
12. Access for Parents and Children in Ontario (APCO) will hold its Annual Holiday Party on November 10, 2016 from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at 100 Sheppard Ave. E., Suite 504. The details are in the flyer. RRSP to Fahima via email at . Come out and celebrate the season with your friends and colleagues and show your support for this very important service.
13. Looking forward to getting together to toast 47’s greatest asset – Joshua Harroch – on his retirement! Set aside the evening of November 24, 2016 for a fun night at the Madison Avenue Pub. Tickets are $30 and must be purchased in advance. Email for the event flyer.
14. This year the Family Lawyers Association awarded three bursaries in the amount of $250.00 each to young members to attend the Child Protection Program. We were pleased and encouraged to see such interest in this important and under-serviced area of law and hope to be able to continue the bursary program to support this interest in future years.
Summer is over…where did it go?
Here’s what’s going on.
- Legal Aid Survey – DO THIS SURVEY NOW! Eight hours is not enough time! The FLA is asking everyone who has done a summary judgment motion in child protection since the amendments to Rule 16 in May 2015 to do this survey. If you are one of the 15 people who have already responded, thank you very much. But we need to hear from MORE of you in order for the survey results to hold any weight with LAO. Please fill out the survey and encourage (nag?) your friends and colleagues to do the same. Please send the completed survey by email to or by fax to 416-366-6266. Remember how we got the initial allotment for Crown and Society wardship cases more than doubled in 2014 – we owe thanks to the 48 people who then took the time to fill out our survey. Please help us again. Click here to download the survey.
- Practice Advisory from 393 University Concerning Long Motions in the Toronto Region. Effective September 15, 2016, all family law motions over one hour will have to be scheduled as long motions through the trial co-ordinator. There will no longer be “placeholder” motions. The trial coordinator will vacate a scheduled long motion if the notice of motion and supporting materials are not served and filed within 10 days after the motion has been scheduled. And here’s a practice note that seems to keep popping up – Take care with the 14C confirmations and remember to list carefully the materials you want the judge to read. This topic comes up repeatedly at bar and bench meetings. Leaving it blank or listing “the continuing record” is not helpful.
- The 47 Sheppard Education series starts on September 19, 2016. Justice Zisman chairs “Show Me the Money”, a program on how to get the disclosure you need and how to use it effectively to advance your client’s case. The program will be held at the North York Memorial Community Hall at 5110 Yonge Street, starting at 4:30 pm. The cost is $20 (including snacks!). This program contains 0.5 professionalism hours. The next program in this series will be on November 15, 2016 and the topic will be “Top 10 Ethical Issues”. Access the flyer here.
- The 311 Open Bar Series starts on September 26, 2016. Justice O’Connell will chair a session on Examination and Cross-Examination. Remember FLA members receive a $5 discount off the $25 cost. Further sessions are scheduled for November through to June, 2017. Click here to download the flyer.
- On September 30, 2016 (9 a.m. -12:30 p.m.) the Law Society of Upper Canada presents “Advanced Issues in Spousal Support”. The cost of the program is $210 plus tax and is available live in Toronto or webcast. The CPD hours are 3hrs and 30m substantive and 30m professionalism. More details are on the LSUC website.
- A reminder about some great CPD events being presented by Osgoode Hall School this fall. In our last newsletters we told you about the upcoming program “Recent Developments and Complex Issues in Child and Spousal Support” being held on October 13, 2016 and “Negotiating, Challenging and Drafting Domestic Contracts” being held on November 7, 2016. (Remember these qualify for the FLA 10 per cent discount. Please contact us for the discount code to enter when you sign up.)
- The AFCC presents on October 20, 2016 (1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.) an event for new professionals: “Exploring Strategies for Clients with Mental Health Issues”. Program details are in the flyer.
- Join your colleagues at the “Harris/Jones Retirement Dance Party” to be held on Saturday September 24 starting at 8:30 p.m. at the Balmy Beach Club. Tickets are $25 and available in advance only from Molly at 416 327 5908 or Silvana 416 327 6891.
- FLA events! We are SOLD OUT for the FLA September 22, 2016 social. Look forward to other FLA events this fall including an education event and our annual general meeting.
If you have any comments or any news you would like in the next newsletter, please contact me at .
Here’s a bit about what we have been working on and what’s coming up.
1. Family Lawyers Association – Legal Aid Sub-Committee – Please fill out our survey on the tariff for summary judgments in child protection.
Have you done a summary judgement motion since the Rule change last year? Were you able to do the necessary work in the 8 hours provided by the Legal Aid Tariff to defend the summary judgement motion? Were you even able to read all of the Society’s material in 8 hours?
Since the change to the summary judgement Rule 16 in May 2015, we have seen a huge increase in the number of cases that the societies are trying to deal with by way of summary judgement motion rather than a trial. It is no longer reserved for the hopeless cases or cases where neither parent has a viable plan. The Society’s material is often several hundred pages and the parent may have a good defence, at least with respect to the disposition being sought, but considerable work needs to be done to present that.
If all of the above applies to you, please complete the attached survey. We are asking you to look at your dockets for a file where you did a summary judgement motion and provide a reasonable estimate of the time spent in each of these categories. Your FLA’s Legal Aid Sub-Committee has already started discussions with Legal Aid Ontario about amending the tariff to provide more reasonable hours for summary judgement motions and have argued that the number of summary judgement motions has risen and the number of trials that they are funding has dropped, such that they are saving a lot of money on what would previously have been full trials. In one meeting with the new CEO and other LAO staff, on behalf of the FLA, Jean Hyndman made the point by taking the materials that the Society had served out of her brief case and setting them down on the table – it was several inches of bound volumes. I am sure that your experience is similar.
We need to convince LAO, however, that this is a widespread issue, that many more cases are being dealt with by summary judgement motions which reduces the numbers of trials, and that they need to increase the hours so that people are properly represented. You will recall how successful we were with our last in-depth surveys in convincing Legal Aid Ontario that the tariff had to be increased and we achieved a doubling of the tariff hours for cases involving Society and Crown Wardship. We can do this again, but not without your help. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey and return it to Jean Hyndman at: or 416-366-6266 (fax).
2. Continuing Education – There are some very interesting programs scheduled for this fall. Here is just a sampling.
The 311 Open Bar Series starts on September 2016. Justice O’Connell will chair a session on Examination and Cross-Examination. Look to our website for more information closer to the date. Remember FLA members receive a $5 discount off the $25 cost. Further sessions are scheduled for November through to June, 2017. Click here to download the schedule (it is also posted on our “Education” page).
The Law Society of Upper Canada presents the “Intensive Child Protection Trainer Primer” over the course of two days – October 27 to October 28, 2016. The Chairs of this event are The Honourable Stanley Sherr and senior counsel Lorne Glass. This session is critical for anyone who wishes to work in this area. Please see the flyer for more information.
Osgoode Hall School is presenting a number of great events this fall. In our last news letter we told you about the upcoming program “Recent Developments and Complex Issues in Child and Spousal Support” being held on October 13, 2016 and “Negotiating, Challenging and Drafting Domestic Contracts” being held on November 7, 2016. (Remember these qualify for the FLA 10 per cent discount. Please contact us for the discount code to enter when you sign up.) Another great event is the “Symposium in Honour of the Honourable Justice Marc Rosenberg” being held on September 23 and 24, 2016. The focus is on criminal law, constitutional and evidence. Many of us had Marc Rosenberg as an instructor and I still find my lecture notes from his lectures useful to this day. Please go to the Osgoode Hall website for more information.
3. News from the Ontario government. There were a couple of press releases from the Ontario government of interest to our members.
The Ontario government is changing the rules with respect to the deduction of child support payments from social assistance payments. Typically we hear a statement that it’s hardly worth pursing child support for a client on social assistance as our clients receive no direct benefit. We know that is not a valid reason for child support not being paid but now with the rules being changed, more money will go to directly to children. View the Q&A here.
And the Ontario government announced some infusion of cash into repairs and upgrades at community agencies across the province. One of those projects is a local facility, the Massey Centre. Click here to view the press release.
4. Congratulations to our colleague and friend, fellow FLA member, Sarah Clarke for being chosen by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers for 2016 in the Criminal/Human Rights category. She is recognized for her work as co-counsel on the landmark ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal against the Canadian government for its discriminatory treatment of first nation children and families in the delivery of child welfare services. This important ruling is attached. Please read!
5. FLA Co-Chair Jean Hyndman attended the National Family Law Conference held in Newfoundland in July. Jean participated in a number of discussions about legal aid and child protection. Please read her article on the discussions about innovations across Canada.