Canadian Family Justice Fund: Terms and Conditions for Contributions

The following terms and conditions apply to financial assistance provided through contributions under the Canadian Family Justice Fund that support the objective of increasing the effectiveness of the family justice system in meeting family needs. These terms and conditions are drafted in accordance with the Treasury Board's Policy on Transfer Payments dated October 2008.

Program guidelines and/or guides to applicants for the various components under the Canadian Family Justice Fund define eligible recipients, program priorities, procedures for funding, and eligible expenses. Program guidelines may define these elements more narrowly, but they cannot define elements more broadly than the definitions identified in these terms and conditions.

The Canadian Family Justice Fund is intended to contribute to strengthening the Canadian family justice system through improved access to family justice services.

1. Program/Legislative Authority

The Department of Justice Act (R.S.C., 1985) confers federal powers to the Minister of Justice, related to the superintendence of all matters connected with the administration of justice in Canada, not within the jurisdiction of the governments of the provinces and to the administration of public affairs to ensure that it is in accordance with the law. The Minister has the legislative authority to manage funds relevant to the administration of justice.

A Treasury Board decision in 1997 approved the creation of the transfer payment program while Treasury Board decisions in 2000, 2003, 2008, and in 2009 approved the renewal/amendments to the terms and conditions.

In accordance with the Treasury Board's Policy on Transfer Payments, in March 2014, the Minister approved amendments to the terms and conditions.

2. Description, Purpose and Objectives of the Canadian Family Justice Fund

Description and Purpose

Family law is an area of shared jurisdiction between the federal government and the provinces and territories. The federal government is responsible for laws regarding marriage, divorce and federal enforcement, while provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the administration of justice as well as for family law matters for couples who separate and do not divorce. Provinces and territories provide the bulk of family justice services to these families which reduces costs to all governments. The federal government is committed to assisting and promoting the development and maintenance of family justice services to facilitate access to the family justice system for families experiencing separation and divorce.

Through the Canadian Family Justice Fund, the Department fulfils its responsibility by contributing financial assistance to the provinces and the territories for the provision of family justice services that support the needs of families experiencing separation and divorce, and by funding non-governmental organizations and individuals for family justice activities such as the development of family justice information and training resources that raise awareness of family law issues for target populations.

Family justice services include mediation, parent education and a range of court-based information and support activities to assist parents making informed decisions about their parenting arrangements and obligations. They also include administrative services that keep parents out of court by assisting them with the establishment, recalculation and enforcement of their support obligations, and supervised access services that assist in ensuring the safety of family members.

Objectives

The Canadian Family Justice Fund is designed to support the family justice related objectives of the Department of Justice Canada. The overall objective of the Canadian Family Justice Fund is:

  • To facilitate access to the family justice system for families experiencing separation and divorce through various services, programs and information resources.

Federal activities related to the family justice system, including the Canadian Family Justice Fund, supports the Department of Justice's mandate to ensure that Canada is a just and law-abiding society with a fair, relevant and accessible Canadian justice system.

Components

The Fund will be comprised of two components:

  1. Family Justice Activities component designed to support provincial and territorial family justice programs and services that assist families experiencing separation and divorce to deal with family justice issues such as child/spousal support, support/access/parenting time enforcement, and parenting arrangements (parenting agreements and orders, contact orders, custody orders and access rights, supervised access).
  2. Projects component designed to support:
    1. the development, implementation and evaluation of provincial and territorial innovative family justice services and programs;
    2. projects/activities that inform Canadians about family law issues such as parenting arrangements, child/spousal support guidelines, and support/access enforcement measures and other access to family justice services; or
    3. the development of new strategies, models or tools intended to improve access to family justice.

3. Expected Results and Outcomes

The performance measures and indicators that will be used for monitoring and reporting purposes are:

Caption text
Anticipated Results Performance Measures
Improved capacity in the provinces and territories to deliver family justice services Percentage of funds dedicated to the provinces and territories that is committed
Increased awareness of family justice issues Percentage of survey respondents that report an improved understanding of family justice issues
Canadians have increased access to family justice Percentage of family justice service providers surveyed that report an increase in access to justice

The results noted above will be achieved through the Canadian Family Justice Fund and reported through the evaluation process as well as through annual departmental reporting.

4. Classes of Eligible Recipients

Any of the following may be eligible for a contribution for projects/activities under the Family Justice Activities component:

  1. provincial and territorial government departments, agencies, or other organizations designated by provincial and territorial governments as responsible for child support, the enforcement of support orders and agreements and parenting arrangement programs and services.

Any of the following may be eligible for a contribution for projects/activities under the Projects component:

  1. provincial and territorial government departments, agencies, or other organizations designated by provincial and territorial governments as responsible for child support, the enforcement of support orders and agreements and parenting arrangement programs and services;
  2. individuals;
  3. non-profit professional organizations, societies or associations;
  4. non-profit organizations, societies or associations;
  5. educational institutions; and
  6. private sector organizations sponsoring non-profit projects in partnership with federal, provincial, or territorial governments.

Program guidelines and/or guide relevant to each component within the Canadian Family Justice Fund made available to applicants will be consistent with the list of eligible recipients, but may be more restrictive.

5. Nature and Type of Projects/Activities

Program guidelines and/or guides to applicants will be consistent with the nature and type of projects/activities that can be considered under the Canadian Family Justice Fund, but may be more restrictive to ensure that projects/activities from individuals and non-governmental organizations do not add an additional financial burden on the provinces and territories in terms of sustainability.

Contributions may be provided for projects/activities that reflect the objectives of the Canadian Family Justice Fund. For example, those that:

  1. support provincial and territorial family justice programs and services that assist families experiencing separation and divorce to deal with family justice issues such as child/spousal support, support/access/parenting time enforcement, and parenting arrangements (parenting agreements and orders, contact orders, custody orders and access rights, supervised access);
  2. develop, deliver and evaluate innovative family justice services, programs, and information resources;
  3. develop, implement and evaluate innovative provincial and territorial family justice services and programs;
  4. enhance the knowledge of target populations, including the legal community, about family law reforms concerning parenting arrangements, child and spousal support guidelines, and support/access enforcement measures.

6. Eligible Expenditures

Eligible expenditures must be approved by the Department and reflected in either the original budget in the funding agreement or approved amendments to the funding agreement. Eligible expenditures must be incurred by the recipient, be reasonable and be necessary to the project. Eligible expenditures may be approved to be undertaken in phases or parts. The eligible expenditures under an agreement include direct and indirect costs such as:

  • salaries and wages of individuals, including employee benefits (excludes federal government employees);
  • travel, accommodation, meals and incidentals, child care, dependent care (consistent with the National Joint Council Travel Directive);
  • the costs of rental or leasing, or both, of meeting and conference facilities;
  • the costs of rental or leasing of equipment including information technology hardware and software;
  • capital cost expenditures, up to a maximum of $100,000 annually, for provincial and territorial governments to purchase information technology hardware, software and services for technical development for family justice services (e.g., ChildView software, internal IT services) - Funding agreements will not include a disposition of asset clause as the required assets are meant to be used over the long term and their value will diminish over time;
  • services provided under contract with a private contractor or consultant or a Canadian university or institute or community-based organization;
  • all reasonable operating expenses including, but not limited to, office supplies, printing, publishing, distribution, promotion, rent, utilities, telephone, insurance, computer service rentals and minor capital expenses (such as computers, laptops, computer software, computer repair and maintenance);
  • contracting for the audit/financial compliance review requirements of the contribution agreement;
  • other costs that are consistent with the objectives of the project/activity, such as training, evaluations, registration fees, etc.;
  • honoraria; and
  • administrative expenses (which should be limited to no more than 15% of the total project/activity cost).

The following expenditures are ineligible:

  • ongoing core funding;
  • international travel expenses;
  • entertainment fees, alcohol, sponsorships, thesis-related activities, contests, gifts and souvenirs;
  • the purchase of buildings, land, vehicles and most other major capital costs;
  • retroactive funding (i.e. costs incurred prior to a project's/activity's official start date);
  • professional development training costs (except for national operational training reasons);
  • renovations, repairs and leasehold improvements (except as provided as an eligible expense); and
  • services or activities already funded or delivered by other organizations or government departments.

7. Maximum Level of all Government Assistance: Stacking Limit

The maximum level (stacking limit) of Total Government Assistance (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal assistance for the same eligible expenditures) will not exceed 100% of eligible expenditures. If actual Total Government Assistance to a recipient exceeds the stacking limit, it will be necessary for the Department to adjust its level of assistance (and seek reimbursement, if necessary) so that the stacking limit is not exceeded. The Canadian Family Justice Fund will require all potential recipients to disclose all sources of funding for a proposed project/activity before the start and at the end of a project/activity.

In addition, when reviewing proposals, the Department will ensure that contributions made will not cover expenses already covered through other Justice programs or initiatives, or other federally-funded programs or initiatives.

8. Methods to Determine the Amount of a Contribution

In determining the appropriate level of funding, the Department will be guided by the following principles:

  • potential risks associated with the awarding of funding;
  • level of expertise of the recipient in relation to the project/activity;
  • scope and duration of project/activity;
  • reasonableness and fair market value of proposed expenditures;
  • reasonableness of overall costs given projected outcome(s);
  • amount of funding from other funders; and
  • level of available resources under the Fund.

9. Maximum Amounts of Contributions

The amount of funding available to provinces and territories under the Family Justice Activities component to deliver family justice services shall not exceed $15,000,000 annually and shall be established using a base and a per capita model to achieve maximum consistency and fairness, and in consultation with the FPT Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials - Family Justice.

Where a province or a territory indicates that it will not use its entire allocation in a given fiscal year, these funds may be reallocated to other provincial and territorial jurisdictions, exceeding their annual allocation, or to the Projects component to support family justice projects/activities.

Under the Projects component of the Canadian Family Justice Fund, the maximum amount of a contribution to:

  1. a provincial or territorial government shall not exceed $250,000 per year; and
  2. other recipients shall not exceed $75,000 per fiscal year.

Depending on the time frame of an initiative, single year or multi-year funding agreements may be used. These agreements will be subject to acceptable financial reports and acceptable reports on progress toward achieving results.

Program guidelines and/or guides to applicants will be consistent with the maximum amounts of financial assistance that can be provided, but may be more restrictive in terms of eligible expenses that may be covered.

10. Basis of Payment

Where it is essential to the achievement of the project, the Department may approve the issuance of an advance payment of its share of the eligible expenditures, as provided for in the contribution (funding) agreement and is based on the recipient's cash flow requirements. Subsequent advances will take into consideration any outstanding advances.

In other cases, the Department will make progress payments to reimburse recipients for expenditures based on a claim submitted by the recipient.

Progress payments will be made upon receipt and acceptance of a claim, for reimbursement of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of 100% of the contribution, when the recipient is not in default of its reporting requirements. The level of the holdback will be based on previous funding experience with the recipient, the type and size of the project and the anticipated financial impact on the recipient. The departmental Project Risk Assessment Tool for Grants and Contributions will be used to inform the method of funding, the reporting requirements and the holdback.

Final payments (or recoveries) will be made upon receipt and acceptance of all the reporting materials and approval of all accounting materials and performance reports in accordance with the funding agreement.

11. Supporting Material Required for an Application

Proposals for funding may be solicited or directed by the Department. Detailed instructions on how to apply are contained in program guides to applicants or in program guidelines, which will also include a list of priorities and timeframes. Program guides and guidelines will be consistent with these terms and conditions, and may be more restrictive.

Funding applications should provide:

  1. name, address, telephone, facsimile numbers and e-mail address of the applying organization's/applicant's authorized representative, organizational structure including legal status, names of principal personnel and program/project/activity administrators and, where possible, a website address and the organization's business number;
  2. mandate, objectives and accomplishments of the organization;
  3. evidence of demonstrated capacity to meet project/activity objectives and financial requirements;
  4. detailed project/activity description including:
    1. project/activity title;
    2. identification of need(s) or problem(s) to be addressed;
    3. goals of the proposed project/activity;
    4. identification of the ultimate beneficiaries for the proposed project/activity;
    5. the anticipated outputs (service or product), outcomes (results), and a brief description of measures of success in achieving goals;
    6. work plan detailing activities to be undertaken to support the attainment of project/activity goals, including timeframe and activities; and,
    7. links to governmental and departmental mandates and responsibilities and to the objectives and priorities of the Canadian Family Justice Fund.
  5. detailed budget of the project/activity including: amount being requested from the Department, other proposed sources of revenue including in-kind support from other levels of government, private sector and community based organizations, etc. and a detailed list of anticipated expenditures;
  6. letters of support from identified partners, where appropriate;
  7. an indication of whether the project/activity will lead to services being provided in both official languages and the impact the project/activity may have on official language minority communities;
  8. an indication of any gender equality implications of the project/activity;
  9. an indication of any diversity implications of the project/activity;
  10. disclosure of any actual or potential conflict of interest and/or any contingency fee arrangement for lobbyists in accordance with the Lobbying Act and disclosure of involvement of former public servants or public office holders who are under the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment for the Public Service or the Conflict of Interest and Post Employment Code for Public Office Holders;
  11. a description of how the Department's funding support will be indicated; and,
  12. any other information that may be contained in the program guidelines and/or guides to applicants.

The Department may also require the following information:

  1. an indication of the level of community involvement or support (commitment, endorsement, scope and level of participation, cooperation and volunteer involvement) and/or an indication of the degree of provincial/territorial support for the project/activity;
  2. a letter of support from the appropriate provincial or territorial government for pilot projects/activities that are local, regional, provincial or territorial in nature;
  3. a project/activity evaluation design/performance measurement strategy identifying among other elements, the project's/activity's outputs, beneficiaries, methodology and performance indicators;
  4. a strategy for ensuring financial viability or project/activity transition in the post-federal funding period, including the potential for support to assist in the project/activity continuance or follow-up after the demonstration phase;
  5. identification of follow-up activities which might include the dissemination of information, a communications plan, the nature of the report that will be given to the Department upon project/activity completion (including an outline of the proposed report content) and next steps; and,
  6. how the Department could benefit in terms of knowledge to advance policy development and improve the family justice system.

12. Assessment/Approval Process

Proposals will be reviewed by a departmental committee composed of representatives of relevant sections of the Department. Officials from the Family, Children and Youth Section, and the Programs Branch may consult with different sectors within the Department and, when appropriate, with other federal departments, provincial and territorial governments and other key stakeholders in the justice system. Only projects/activities which receive the support of officials will be recommended for approval.

In reviewing and recommending funding proposals under the Canadian Family Justice Fund, the Department will take into consideration any of the following factors:

  1. the extent to which the project/activity supports and advances the objectives of the Canadian Family Justice Fund, governmental and departmental priorities, including gender equality and diversity issues, the needs of official language minority communities, and the social dimensions of sustainable development;
  2. the extent to which the project/activity could advance the Department's knowledge base and inform legislative, policy and program development regarding family justice;
  3. the amount of funding requested relative to the amount of resources available from the Department in any given year and the probability that the project/activity will incur a deficit and therefore require support to become financially viable;
  4. the nature and scope of the project/activity;
  5. the cost-effective aspects of the project/activity;
  6. the manner in which the project/activity will be developed, implemented and monitored;
  7. reasonableness of overall costs given projected outcomes;
  8. whether the proposed projects/activities are in federal or provincial jurisdiction;
  9. the ability of the applicant to carry out the projects/activities within the specified time frame and budget;
  10. the Department's previous experience in working with the organization, the degree of collaboration, and the quality of and success of the project(s)/activities;
  11. whether the project/activity has already started;
  12. the innovative nature of the project/activity, where applicable;
  13. whether the project/activity is clearly distinct from the core activities of the organization (and if not, contribution funding will not be provided);
  14. where applicable, the quality of the performance measurement strategy and the evaluation component;
  15. where applicable, the level of support of provincial/territorial governments and other stakeholders relevant to the project/activity;
  16. where applicable, type, extent and distribution plans for report(s) produced;
  17. where applicable, whether there is likely to be financial support to allow the project/activity to continue after the demonstration phase;
  18. the impact on the family justice system;
  19. the potential transferability of the project/activity and the experience it may provide to other jurisdictions; and,
  20. the public recognition by the recipient of the Department's contribution.

13. Reporting

Financial Reporting

Recipients of contributions may be required to submit interim financial statements and any other additional supporting documentation required under the funding agreement at such intervals during the agreement as may be agreed upon for review and acceptance by the Department.

Recipients will be required to submit a financial claim, which may include audited financial statements at the end of each fiscal year and/or at the end of the funding agreement for review and acceptance by the Department. The Department may conduct reviews and audits of claims in accordance with federal governmental policy guidelines and procedures related to transfer payments.

Performance Reporting

Results achieved through the Canadian Family Justice Fund are reported on through the evaluation as well as through annual departmental reporting. Project/Activity reporting inform these reporting activities. To that end, the Department assesses and takes into consideration the likelihood that the project/activity will provide concrete results in its review of projects/activities. Where appropriate, the Department may require recipients to develop a project/activity evaluation identifying the project's/activity's outputs, target group, beneficiaries, methodology, performance indicators, and potential results. Recipients may also be required to complete surveys to confirm results achieved.

Where appropriate, the Department may require interim activity reports to allow the Department to assess the status of the project/activity and to inform the Department of any issues that may have an impact on the project/activity work plan.

Recipients will be required to report on the activities of the project, including results and impacts of the project/activity. The recipient may also be required to complete a questionnaire in lieu or in addition to the final activity report. The questionnaire is a standard performance measurement tool developed by the Department. The questionnaire is designed to obtain information pertaining to outcomes, results and impacts of the project/activity and is aligned with the performance measurement strategy of the Canadian Family Justice Fund.

Where possible, departmental officers will work in close collaboration with recipients and may conduct on-site visits to monitor the progress of funded projects/activities and suggest corrective action when necessary.

The Department will endeavour to keep reporting requirements at a minimum, consistent with the level of funding and the complexity of the project/activity. Where projects/activities are being co-funded by other departmental initiatives or by other departments, reporting requirements will be coordinated to reduce the reporting burden for the recipient.

14. Official Language Minority Communities

All materials and services for applicants and recipients are available in the official language of their choice. The Canadian Family Justice Fund will ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to support the development of official language minority communities in Canada, as well as to promote the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society.

Applicants will be required to provide information on whether the project/activity will lead to services being provided in both official languages and the impact the project/activity may have on official language minority communities. Recipients receiving funding will be required to respect the spirit and intent of Canada's Official Languages Act when providing services to the public as part of a funding agreement.

15. Intellectual Property

Intellectual property undertaken by a recipient resulting from contribution funding under the Canadian Family Justice Fund will vest with the recipient.

16. Disclaimer

Funding under this program does not imply any commitment, financial or otherwise, by any federal government department or agency beyond the approved funding level and the approved period.

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