Charter of Rights impacting British Columbia family law

On behalf of Peterson Stark Scott posted in Family Law on June 28, 2017.

It took two weeks for British Columbia residents to find out for sure who would be running their province after the recent provincial election. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms is playing a huge part in family law and other facets of the legal world. For instance, the charter was behind the harrowing wait. The delay was blamed on the counting of absentee ballots. The charter was challenged in the late 1980s when two British Columbians studying law in Ontario weren’t given a means to cast absentee votes in the B.C. provincial election.

The British Columbia Court of appeal decided that the students’ rights to vote — as guaranteed in the charter –were violated since they weren’t able to vote while out of province. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms has continued to have a significant impact on residents of British Columbia, family law and, indeed, of all Canadian citizens. Issues like same-sex marriage, Sunday shopping and physician-assisted dying are just some of the controversial issues that have come under the charter’s umbrella.

In 2015, a Statistics Canada survey indicated that 70 per cent of Canadians designated the charter as being one of the nation’s most important symbols. It impressively beat out the flag, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the symbolic beaver, the national anthem and even hockey. Poll after poll has shown that the charter has become an important part of the Canadian identity.

Today, issues that are a part of the family law dynamic — like adoption, divorce, and same-sex marriage — are commonplace and can be affected by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A lawyer can be of great help to British Columbia residents when it comes to matters like spousal support, child custody, prenuptial agreements and other familial legal issues. Additionally, lawyers can aid in resolving disputes out of court rather than by formal litigation, which is stressful for all parties involved.

Source:, “Abortion, same-sex marriage, assisted dying: charter has transformed Canada“, Joan Bryden, June 20, 2017

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