BILL C 78 Potential Changes Pertaining to Relocation

Today I will be discussing the issue of relocation and particularly how this area of law may change in the near future.

Hi, my name is Shazia Hafiji and I am an Associate at the Feldstein Family Law Group.

Today I will be discussing the issue of relocation and particularly how this area of law may change in the near future.

To start, you should know that Bill C-78 — which proposes several amendments to the Divorce Act and related legislation — was tabled by the Minister of Justice in May 2018.

To be clear, Bill C-78 is not considered “the law” as yet.

Currently, when it comes to relocation cases, courts are guided by the 1996 Supreme Court of Canada Case of Gordon v. Goetz which states that moving decisions are to be based on “the best interests of the child.”

BUT, Bill C-78 proposes the implementation of comprehensive guidelines in regards to relocation requests. And so, if (or when) Bill C-78 becomes the law, it will change how relocation cases are decided.

Specifically, Bill C-78 required the parent looking to relocate to notify the other parent of their intention to do so at least 60 days before the relocation. In doing so, they must set out:

  • The expected date of the proposed relocation;
  • The address of the new place of residence and contact information of the child; and
  • A proposal as to how parenting time, decision-making responsibility and/or contact could be exercised.

Once the parent intending to move provides adequate notice, the parent may relocate with the children as of the date referred to in their notice IF:

  1. The court authorizes the relocation; OR
  2. The person who received notice did not object to the relocation within 30 days after the day upon which they received notice, AND there is no court order prohibiting the relocation.

However, on the face of it, it appears as though these proposed amendments provide a legal presumption in favour of the primary residential/custodial parent (since it seems as though the other parent would have to prove that the relocation would not be in the children’s best interests).

I’m Shazia Hafiji. Thank you for watching today. If you need more information on your parenting rights or on the issue of relocation, please visit our website at www.separation.ca or contact our office at (905) 581-7222 to book a consultation.​

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