In Spring 2018, Bill 97 The Arbitration (Family Dispute Resolution) Amendment Act, 2017 and Bill 98 The Miscellaneous (Family Dispute Resolution) Amendment Act, 2017 were passed in the Legislative Assembly. The Acts added provisions to The Children’s Law Act, 1997, The Family Maintenance Act, 1997, The Family Property Act and The Queen’s Bench Act, 1998 to recognize and promote early dispute resolution. The Acts also added provisions to The Arbitration Act, 1992 to facilitate the use of arbitration in family law disputes.
The amendments to The Queen’s Bench Act, 1998 require parties in certain family law proceedings to make efforts to resolve disputes through an approved family dispute resolution process before proceeding with the court process.
If parties have not already participated in dispute resolution prior to filing court pleadings, they must do so at the close of pleadings. The amendments provide that the following processes fall within the definition of “family dispute resolution”: the services of a family mediator, family arbitrator, parenting coordinator, other collaborative law services, or any other process or service prescribed.
Regulations setting out the training and experience required to be recognized as a family arbitrator or parenting coordinator came into force on July 15, 2019, together with the applicable amendments to The Children’s Law Act, 1997, The Family Maintenance Act, 1997, and The Arbitration Act. Amendments to Regulations regarding training and experience required for family mediators and collaborative lawyers came into force on November 29, 2019. The Ministry maintains lists of recognized service providers, who provide family dispute resolution services and can issue a Certificate of Participation to their client. The lists are posted here: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/births-deaths-marriages-and-divorces/separation-or-divorce/early-family-dispute-resolution.
The requirement to use a family dispute resolution service before proceeding with a court application is only in effect in the judicial centre of Prince Albert. As of March 1, 2021, the requirement will also apply to the judicial centre of Regina. Notwithstanding the mandatory requirement in Prince Albert and Regina, the public is encouraged to pursue family dispute resolution options, and judges continue to have discretion to order parties to participate in family dispute resolution options, across the province.
If you have any questions, please contact Early Family Resolution Support at:
Early Family Resolution Support
1-833-787-0439 / 306-787-0439