GOVERNMENT OF CANADA STRATEGY FOR REFORM

IMPLEMENTING THE STRATEGY FOR REFORM

It is a major undertaking to make fundamental changes to so many aspects of the law, particularly in an area where there is at present no clear consensus on how to proceed. The process to implement this Strategy for Reform must involve a review and consultation process coordinated with the Government of Canada's review of the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

The Minister of Justice is required to provide Parliament with the results of a comprehensive review of the provisions and operations of the Guidelines and the determination of child support under the Act by May 1, 2002. Legislative amendments to the custody and access provisions of the Divorce Act could be integrated into that process. The actions identified in this Strategy for Reform will be carried out jointly with the provinces and territories. They will involve public consultations on specific reform proposals with a view to ensuring that the report to Parliament on the Guidelines can include both custody and access and child support reforms.

The other, equally important aspect of this Strategy involves the collaborative efforts to promote a less-adversarial legal process and improved educational and social service activities to assist divorcing families. Some things can be acted upon quickly, while others will need more discussion and consultation. Making changes to long-standing institutions and systems will present challenges and will require concerted and dedicated efforts as well as resources. The Government of Canada will make every effort to work with the provinces and territories to develop effective, coordinated reforms in a timely manner.

Changes in this area of the law will be part of a larger drive to ensure that all parts of our society focus on children's needs. Canadians want their country to be one where all children thrive in an atmosphere of love, care and understanding, valued as individuals in childhood and given opportunities to reach their full potential as adults.

In keeping with this vision, federal, provincial and territorial social union ministers are making progress on a collaborative National Children's Agenda, a collective strategy to improve the well being of all Canadian children.

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