BWSS is aware that the Ministry of Justice is currently involved in a project amending the Provincial Court (Family) Rules (“PCFR”). As part of the consultation process, representatives from BWSS participated in a consultation with various members of the Ministry of Justice on October 11, 2017. Regrettably, our participation in the consultation and our initial review of the government’s Overview and Consultation Presentation by the Justice Services Branch has caused us significant concerns about the government’s proposal and the potential impact of the proposed changes on women, and particularly women who are leaving abusive relationships.
Since before 1994, BWSS has been on record opposing alternative dispute resolution in cases where women have experienced abuse including violence. In the past 23+ years, we have observed the increase of the depth of analysis articulated combined with an increase in the related apparatus within legal systems which has contributed to a climate where alternative dispute resolution is now believed to be a more viable option as the legal systems become more sensitized.