Unified Family Courts

The Advocates' Society Calls for the Expansion of the Unified Family Court across Canada

Every day, Canadian families turn to the courts for help resolving their disputes about critical family law matters like parenting, housing, and support. But Canada's family court system is currently in crisis. Across Canada, many families cannot access the courts in a timely manner, which can leave families and children in difficult – and sometimes dangerous – situations.

One part of the problem is that in many areas of Canada, two different courts can deal with family law issues. A two-tiered court system creates confusion, inefficiencies, and greater costs.

A solution to this problem already exists: the Unified Family Court ("UFC"). Unified Family Courts are specialized courts that deal with all family law issues in one place and provide families with access to additional support services. The UFC model is more efficient and better equipped to respond to the unique needs of Canadian families and children than Canada’s traditional two-tiered family court system.

The Advocates' Society believes it is time to expand the Unified Family Court across Canada. As of 2024, there are no UFCs anywhere in British Columbia, Alberta, or Quebec, and entire regions of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Newfoundland are not yet served by UFCs.

In June 2024, The Advocates' Society published a call to the federal government and provincial governments of Canada to work together with the courts, on a priority basis, to fully implement and resource UFCs throughout the areas of the country that lack this essential service, to help Canadian families access the justice they need.

Read The Advocates' Society's call to action, Delay No Longer: Family Justice Now, here.

Implementing the Unified Family Court model across Canada is a fundamental first step towards improving families' access to justice and restoring public confidence in our family court system.

The Advocates’ Society looks forward to working with other stakeholders to facilitate meaningful change.