Federal Funding of Provincial and Territorial Child Support, Support Enforcement and Child Custody and Access Projects

NUNAVUT

PAA 1: PROJECT COORDINATION

Coordination

Duration
1999-2001
Goal
To plan for the implementation of child support guidelines in a manner appropriate to the needs of communities.
Description
To facilitate planning, the Nunavut Department of Justice established a Family Law Working Group with representation from the judiciary, legal aid, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Public Trustee, and the Nunavut Social Development Council. The working group meets monthly to work on issues ranging from the court's ability to automatically generate support order forms, to access to legal aid services in family law matters.

In 1999-2000, the department employed an outreach worker, located in the Maliiganik Tuksiiniakvik Legal Aid Clinic in Iqaluit, and a half-time lawyer to work on family law issues. The outreach worker is responsible for community contacts and follow-up, ensuring that unilingual Inuit and others are able to understand each other in the course of interviews and workshops, and making family law information available in high-quality Inuktitut materials. The lawyer is responsible for needs assessments, policy analysis, meeting reporting requirements and government liaison.

In 2000-2001, the Department assigned the policy and coordination functions required by its Family Law Strategy to a legal policy counsel. The counsel's responsibilities include participating in federal-provincial-territorial planning and consultation processes and supporting the development and implementation of the Family Support Office program.

PAA 2: FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL-TERRITORIAL CONSULTATIONS ON FAMILY LAW

National Consultations on Custody, Access and Child Support

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To participate in the federal-provincial-territorial consultation on child-centred family law issues.
Description
Consultations undertaken by the Nunavut Department of Justice on June 14, 2001, in Iqaluit (see PAA 7, page 91), were designed to address issues that will be part of the federal-provincialterritorial consultations on child support, custody and access.

PAA 3: FAMILY JUSTICE ENHANCEMENTS AND INNOVATIONS

Mediation

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To develop Nunavut-appropriate family mediation services.
Description
The Nunavut Bench and Bar Committee has undertaken the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Traditional Knowledge) Mediation Initiative with the goal of developing a mediation model that reflects the territory's cultural, geographic and economic realities. The first step in the development process was to bring together experienced mediators and Inuit who are well versed in traditional conflict resolution practices to develop a mediation protocol that will provide the foundation for expanded family law services in Nunavut. (Note: the Nunavut Bench and Bar Committee's long-term objective is to make mediation services available beyond the family law realm.) The immediate goal of the project is to train family law mediators who will be able to provide services to help couples within their own community.

Family Support Office

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To provide one-stop information services for separated and divorcing couples.
Description
The Nunavut Department of Justice is implementing a Family Support Office comprised of the Maintenance Enforcement Program and a new Family Support Program. The Family Support Office, located in the Court Services Division, will provide maintenance support and counselling services in Inuktitut. A Family Support Counsellor will provide family justice information and mediation services in Iqaluit, primarily in Inuktitut. In the future, the goal is to provide family justice information and mediation services in Inuktitut in all Nunavut communities.

PAA 4: ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISMS TO DETERMINE, VARY OR RECALCULATE CHILD SUPPORT

Child Support Recalculation

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To develop an accessible child support recalculation model.
Description
The Nunavut Department of Justice is developing a recalculation model that will be linked to the proposed legal aid changes intended to make legal service more readily available to family law clients. The model will require standardized forms, increased information services and assistance to clients needing help with document preparation.

PAA 5: SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES

System Integration

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To decrease the time between when orders are issued and enforcement activities begin by eliminating major steps on the paper trail, and to decrease staffing costs by using existing court staff.
Description
The Nunavut Department of Justice, which will link its Maintenance Enforcement Program to court files and related computer records, hired a consultant to complete a needs assessment. The assessment provided the basis for a systems development proposal to the Nunavut government. The implementation of the system will require redesigning administrative procedures and creating additional systems support services.

Printer Resources

Duration
1999-2000
Goal
To enable travelling court parties to issue standard orders in English and Inuktitut during the brief period the court is in the community.
Description
Nunavut purchased new printers capable of producing the forms and other documents required by the courts dealing with child support matters. The equipment has been installed in every community, permitting the courts to quickly issue standard orders in English and Inuktitut.

Auto-Orders

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To improve the efficiency and timeliness of court processes.
Description
The Family Law Working Group began planning for implementation of an auto-order system. The Group, which has taken advantage of Manitoba's experience, produced draft documents and submitted them to the courts for review and approval before a pilot project is undertaken.

PAA 7: POLICY, RESEARCH AND EVALUATION

Community Survey

Duration
1999-2001
Goal
To gather information about current and traditional responses to family breakdown, the extent to which private family law court procedures are used and the factors influencing the level of use, and the community's knowledge and perceptions of the existing family law system.
Description
The survey's goal was to obtain data that was relevant to Nunavut while being comparable with statistical data available in other jurisdictions. To this end, the project, using a survey instrument adapted from Statistics Canada's General Social Survey on Families, collected data from more than 400 respondents in five representative communities. In addition, the project gathered information about the formal and informal services available in each community to assist in cases of family breakdown.

Community Consultations

Duration
1999-2000
Goal
To identify community concerns about family law services, assess general knowledge about the system and explore opportunities for legal and program changes.
Description
Representatives of the Nunavut Department of Justice met with individuals, local groups and territorial organizations with interests in or related to family law. The key areas of concern identified were the parental and spousal rights and obligations of common-law couples, the appropriateness of child support obligations, and the role of extended families. The consultations also found that the underlying principles of the family law system are largely consistent with community norms and values, but that the absence of knowledge about the system and limited services for families involved in separation and divorce are significant barriers.

PAA 8: PUBLIC AWARENESS AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Family Law Information Services

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To deliver family law information services at the community level.
Description
The Family Support Office provides information on child and spousal support, the rights and obligations of common-law spouses and maintenance enforcement to the public through in-person and telephone contacts and other public legal information delivery methods, such as pamphlets.

For more information about Nunavut's services and programs, contact:

Ms. Mary-Lou Sutton-Fennell
Grants and Contributions Program Analyst
Nunavut Department of Justice
PO Box 1000, Station 500
Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 0H0
Telephone: (867) 975-6172

Ms. Charlene Johnson
Administrator, Maintenance Enforcement Program
Nunavut Court of Justice
PO Box 297
Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 0H0
Telephone: (867) 979-6137

Date modified: