Vol. 147, No. 22 — June 1, 2013

Regulations Amending the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings Regulations

Statutory authority

Divorce Act

Sponsoring department

Department of Justice

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

1. Background

In 1986, the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings (CRDP) was established within the Department of Justice through the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings Regulations (the Regulations) made pursuant to subsection 26(1) of the Divorce Act.

The primary role of the CRDP is to detect duplicate divorce proceedings and to inform applicants for divorce that the court in which they have started proceedings has jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter. The CRDP carries out its role by searching through its database of registered divorce applications to make sure that no other divorce proceeding is pending between the same spouses for the same marriage. If no other divorce proceeding is pending for the last six years, the CRDP issues a clearance certificate. If the CRDP detects that there is a duplicate divorce proceeding, the CRDP notifies the court(s) involved, waits for one of the proceedings to be discontinued and then issues a clearance certificate. The divorce application cannot proceed until a clearance certificate is issued.

The information in the CRDP’s database currently comes from a two-part form called the Registration of Divorce Proceeding form (the current Form) prescribed in the schedule to the Regulations. Part 1 is to be completed by the court registrar and submitted to the CRDP when a divorce application is filed or transferred and Part 2 is completed by the registrar and submitted to the CRDP at the conclusion of the divorce proceedings.

2. Issue

As the current Form is prescribed in the Regulations, any change to its format requires a regulatory amendment.

The current Form is paper-based and can only be completed by hand. The proposal would allow the CRDP to update its process by making the new form available on-line and eventually offer the capacity to submit the required information electronically or at least in a typed format to minimize any risk of error in the data entry of the information. The proposal would also allow the CRDP to take steps to streamline the paper-based procedure, which is quite onerous on the courts’ resources and time and which results in delays in the process. The current paper-based process is not in line with the Government’s sustainable development policy and is costly in terms of resources.

3. Objectives

This proposal is expected to increase the efficiency of the registration of divorce proceedings process by reducing the amount of information required, allowing the use of new technology for the processing of applications, and minimizing the risks of errors.

4. Description

The Regulations would be amended to repeal the schedule to the Regulations in order to remove the current Form. The required information would instead be prescribed in the body of the Regulations. Prescribing all of the required information in the body of the Regulations will allow the layout of the information to be changed when necessary without going through a regulatory process each time. In addition, the information that would be required in the future would be reduced from what is currently required, resulting in efficiencies for the court registrars. Registrars would also have a more realistic timeframe within which to submit the required information. The process for the registration of divorce proceedings would be streamlined to eventually allow for the availability of an on-line capture in a departmentally approved format. As the appropriate technology is made available and implemented, it is expected that the court registrars will be able to submit the prescribed information electronically to the CRDP. This would reduce delays, and introduce efficiencies in the divorce registration process for both the courts and the CRDP. It would also reduce printing costs, reduce paper use and contribute to sustainable development.

5. Consultation

The Department of Justice discussed these improvements to the process with provincial and territorial officials at the Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials — Family Justice at their meeting held in Montréal, Quebec, on April 17–19, 2012, and provincial and territorial court registrars were consulted as well. There is support for the proposed changes as they would allow for ease of completion and processing of the forms required in the divorce registration process. The only question raised was whether any information would be lost as a result of the reduction in information required in the new form. In order to address this concern, the Department of Justice will continue to work with provinces and territories so that as much of this information as possible is captured in the Survey of Family Courts administered by the Department of Justice.

6. Rationale

The Form is being modified to focus on the information it collects to deliver the CRDP mandate. In addition, providing electronic capacity to the divorce registration process will improve efficiency by reducing the number of paper forms to be printed thereby contributing to sustainable development. Electronic completion should also result in ensuring that legible information is provided to the CRDP, thereby reducing delays caused by the difficulties of processing illegible information.

7. Implementation, enforcement and service standards

The CRDP receives 75 000 to 80 000 new applications for registration of divorce proceedings on an annual basis. All of the information contained in the application is inputted manually into the CRDP’s database. Within three weeks of receipt of an application, the CRDP conducts a search of its database of registered divorce proceedings to make sure that no other divorce proceeding is pending between the same spouses in regard to the same marriage. In 1% of these applications, a duplicate divorce proceeding exists and a notice to that effect is sent to the court(s) involved. In all remaining cases, a clearance certificate is issued.

8. Contact

Diana Andai
Counsel
Family, Children and Youth Section
Department of Justice
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H8
Fax: 613-952-9600
Email: Diana.Andai@justice.gc.ca

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 26(1) of the Divorce Act (see footnote a), proposes to make the annexed Regulations Amending the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings Regulations.

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Regulations within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Diana Andai, Counsel, Family Law Policy, Department of Justice, 284 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8 (fax: 613-952-9600; email: Diana.Andai@justice.gc.ca).

Ottawa, May 23, 2013

JURICA ČAPKUN
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE CENTRAL REGISTRY OF
DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS REGULATIONS

AMENDMENTS

1. The long title of the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:

CENTRAL REGISTRY OF DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS REGULATIONS

2. Section 1 of the Regulations and the heading before it are repealed.

3. (1) The definition “registration form” in section 2 of the Regulations is repealed.

(2) The definition “Act” in section 2 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

“Act” means the Divorce Act; (Loi)

(3) Section 2 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

“Order” means the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings Fee Order; (Décret)

4. Subsection 3(2) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(2) A record of pending divorce proceedings in Canada shall be maintained in the central registry and shall consist of the information that is provided to it in accordance with sections 4 and 7.

5. Sections 4 and 5 of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

4. (1) The registrar of the court in which an application for divorce is filed shall

  • (a) on the day on which the application for divorce is filed and on receipt of the fee, if applicable, payable under the Order, assign to the application for divorce a number, to be known as a divorce registry number, that next follows in sequence the last divorce registry number assigned by the registrar of that court; and
  • (b) within seven days after the day on which the application for divorce is filed, provide the central registry with the following information:
    • (i) the court number and the divorce registry number assigned to the application for divorce,
    • (ii) the province in which and the date on which the application for divorce was filed,
    • (iii) the date of the marriage in respect of which the application for divorce was filed,
    • (iv) in respect of each spouse,
      • (A) the fact that the spouse is a joint applicant, the applicant or the respondent,
      • (B) the spouse’s surname at birth and given names, and
      • (C) the spouse’s date of birth and sex, and
    • (v) if no fee is attached, the fact that the fee payable under the Order will be sent to the central registry once it is invoiced or the fact that no fee is payable under the Order, as the case may be.

(2) If a divorce proceeding is transferred to another court, the registrar of the court to which it was transferred shall

  • (a) on the day on which the divorce proceeding is transferred, assign a new divorce registry number that next follows in sequence the last divorce registry number assigned by the registrar of that court; and
  • (b) within seven days after the day on which the divorce proceeding is transferred, provide the central registry with the following information:
    • (i) the court number of the transferring court and the divorce registry number assigned to the divorce proceeding by that court,
    • (ii) the court number of the new court and the new divorce registry number assigned to the divorce proceeding,
    • (iii) the province to which and the date on which the divorce proceeding was transferred,
    • (iv) the date of the marriage in respect of which the application for divorce was filed, and
    • (v) in respect of each spouse,
      • (A) the fact that the spouse is a joint applicant, the applicant or the respondent,
      • (B) the spouse’s surname at birth and given names, and
      • (C) the spouse’s date of birth and sex.

(3) The information referred to in paragraphs (1)(b) and (2)(b) shall be provided on the form established by the central registry, which shall be dated and signed by the registrar, or in an electronic format that has been agreed on by the registrar and the central registry.

5. (1) On receipt of the information provided in accordance with section 4, the central registry shall

  • (a) check the record referred to in subsection 3(2) to determine whether the divorce registry number is in sequence and, if it is not, request that the registrar provide the central registry, within seven days after the day of the request, with the reason that it is not in sequence or the information that should have been provided to the central registry in accordance with section 4, as the case may be; and
  • (b) enter the information into the record referred to in subsection 3(2).

(2) On receipt of the information provided in accordance with paragraph 4(1)(b), the central registry shall check the record referred to in subsection 3(2) to determine whether any other divorce proceedings are pending between the spouses referred to in that information or whether a divorce has already been granted to those spouses and,

  • (a) if any other divorce proceedings are pending, the central registry shall send notification to that effect
    • (i) to the registrar of each court in which the applications for divorce have been filed by the spouses, if the applications were not filed on the same day, or
    • (ii) to the registrar of each court in which the applications for divorce have been filed by the spouses and to the Registry of the Federal Court, if the applications were filed on the same day;
  • (b) if a divorce has already been granted, the central registry shall send notification to that effect to the registrar of the court in which the application for divorce has been filed; or
  • (c) if no other divorce proceedings are pending and no divorce has already been granted, the central registry shall send notification to that effect to the registrar of the court in which the application for divorce has been filed.

(3) A notification referred to in paragraph (2)(c) is valid for a period of six years beginning on the day on which it is sent.

(4) If the divorce proceeding has not been discontinued or dismissed or if no judgment granting the divorce in respect of the divorce proceeding has taken effect, the central registry, on the request of the registrar of the court of competent jurisdiction, shall renew the notification referred to in paragraph (2)(c) and send the renewal of the notification to that registrar.

(5) The renewal of the notification referred to in subsection (4) is valid for a period of six years beginning on the day on which it is sent.

6. (1) The portion of section 6 of the Regulations before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

6. On receipt of a notification under subsection 5(2), a registrar of a court shall

(2) Paragraph 6(b) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  • (b) if two divorce proceedings are pending between the spouses referred to in the notification or if a divorce has already been granted to those spouses, inform the spouse who filed the application for divorce of the other application or the judgment.

7. Sections 7 to 9 of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

7. (1) If a divorce proceeding is transferred to another court, the registrar of the transferring court shall, within seven days after the day on which the divorce proceeding is transferred, provide the central registry with the following information:

  • (a) the court number of the transferring court and the divorce registry number assigned to the divorce proceeding by that court;
  • (b) the province and court to which the divorce proceeding was transferred including, if known, the court number of that court; and
  • (c) the surname at birth and given names of each spouse involved in the divorce proceeding.

(2) Within seven days after a discontinuance of a divorce proceeding or the taking effect of a judgment in respect of a divorce proceeding, the registrar of the court of competent jurisdiction shall provide the central registry with the following information:

  • (a) the court number of the court of competent jurisdiction and the divorce registry number assigned to the divorce proceeding by that court;
  • (b) the surname at birth and given names of each spouse involved in the divorce proceeding; and
  • (c) the fact that the divorce proceeding was discontinued or that there was a judgment dismissing or granting the application for divorce, and the date of the discontinuance or the date on which the judgment takes effect.

(3) The information referred to in subsections (1) and (2) shall be provided on the form established by the central registry, which shall be dated and signed by the registrar, or in an electronic format that has been agreed on by the registrar and the central registry.

8. On receipt of the information provided in accordance with section 7, the central registry shall enter the information into the record referred to in subsection 3(2).

9. For the sole purpose of record keeping by the central registry, a divorce proceeding shall be presumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to be discontinued if the central registry does not receive the information referred to in subsection 7(2), or any request for renewal of the notification, by the end of the six-year period referred to in subsection 5(3) or (5).

8. The schedule to the Regulations is repealed.

COMING INTO FORCE

9. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

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