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A Summary of the Changes to the Ontario Children’s Law Reform Act

happy father hugging his children after low stress out of court divorce

In 2021, Ontario’s Children’s Law Reform Act was amended to align it with recent changes to the Divorce Act.

The main changes relate to parenting issues, some of which are outlined below.

The outdated terms of ‘custody’ and ‘access’ were replaced with the less emotionally charged terms of ‘decision making responsibility’ and ‘parenting time’, reflecting the way that parenting roles have changed, and the way that courts have evolved in looking at these issues over time. These changes look to create less conflict by neutralizing the previous terms.

Additional changes include an expanded and clearer definition of the factors related to the best interests of a child (the key consideration when determining any parenting disputes), as well as an attempt to make decisions about mobility, when one parent may move with a child, more transparent and streamlined by distinguishing between minor moves that will not affect a child’s relationship with a parent, and greater moves (defined as ‘relocations’) that may have a significant impact on a parent’s involvement with a child. The Act sets out a clear procedure for parents to follow when proposing to and objecting to such moves.

Overall, the changes are an attempt to bring consistency and efficiency to these areas, and have been welcomed by family lawyers.

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About the Author

Barbara developed her passion for family law early on in her career. Barbara has practiced exclusively family law since her call to the Bar in 2003, articling with a sole practitioner in family law and then practicing with a boutique family law office prior to her arrival at Nathens, Siegel LLP in 2007. Over the years, Barbara has developed extensive experience in virtually all areas of family law including: custody, access, child and spousal support as well as complex property division.