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Family law reform: the Chambre des notaires and the CPA Order make the interest of children and families the focus of their recommendations

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MONTREAL, May 6, 2019 – Today, the Chambre des notaires and the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec presented their insights on various family law issues as part of the public consultations launched by Minister of Justice Sonia LeBel.

The government’s initiative is a major step towards a comprehensive reform of family law. It clearly demonstrates the government’s commitment to adapt legal rules to current realities. The Chambre and the CPA Order therefore strongly support this initiative.

“The Chambre des notaires believes that the implementation of legal measures would better protect persons in vulnerable situations, especially children,” said Me François Bibeau, President of the Chambre des notaires. “It proposes concrete solutions so that family law reform reflects today’s realities. The Chambre also applauds the government’s swift action on the matter, and is committed to providing its full support to ensure the implementation and success of this broad initiative.”

“Although current legal rules have not kept pace with changes in the family, the CPA Order believes the same can be said about the tax system,” said Me Christiane Brizard, Secretary of the CPA Order and Strategic Advisor. “Updating the legal framework for families must be combined with a discussion on the tax rules that influence their choices. Otherwise, this modernization will be incomplete.”

Recommendations

Chambre des notaires  CPA Order 
The best interests of children must be at the core of family law reform. To this end, it is necessary to include objective criteria in the Civil Code of Québec that would enable the courts to better assess this aspect, particularly in the context of conjugal or family violence.  The measures put forward in the family law reform should be systematically tested for tax neutrality and consistency.
Create a legal relationship between parents who have a child together, with mutual obligations towards each other, regardless of whether they are married, in a civil union or in a de facto relationship. 

It would be impossible to circumvent the mandatory rules on parenthood.
Under the joint auspices of the Ministère de la Justice and the Ministère des Finances, form a working group with representation from the Quebec CPA Order and the Chambre des notaires to review breaches of neutrality in tax laws that apply to conjugal relationships and parenthood.
Allow married couples to waive some obligations imposed by marriage through an opting out mechanism in marriage contracts, subject to the mandatory rules on parenthood. Ensure that tax laws are consistent with the guiding principles of the proposed reform.
Maintain the status quo for de facto spouses without children by not imposing a framework of obligations in the Civil Code of Québec, to avoid infringing on their autonomy of will and freedom of contract. Provide citizens with the right tools at all stages of their lives to ensure they are fully aware of their obligations and can make informed decisions based on their needs and aspirations.

Increase the number of subsidized hours in family mediation processes involving a child, and include a prevention and dispute resolution mechanism in legal aid. If a gap between tax laws and the Civil Code of Québec should remain after the reform is completed, ensure that the tax authorities inform the public of the situation.

About the Chambre des notaires du Québec

The Chambre des notaires du Québec is a professional order with over 3,900 notaries. Its primary mission is to protect the public by promoting the preventive practice of law, maintaining the quality of notarial practice and facilitating access to justice for all. 

Consult the report of the Citizens Commission on Family Law (in French only) > 

About the Quebec CPA Order 

The Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec has 39,000 members and 5,000 future CPAs, making it the third largest professional order in Quebec. The Order ensures the protection of the public and the visibility of the profession. It represents all areas of expertise of the accounting profession, including financial reporting, management accounting, strategy and governance, audit and assurance, finance and taxation.

Read the brief submitted by the CPA Order (in French only) >


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Information:

Johanne Dufour
Director, Communications and Client Relations 
Chambre des notaires du Québec
514 879-1793, ext. 5401
johanne.dufour@cnq.org

Jean-Louis Laplante
Manager, Public Affairs
Quebec CPA Order
514 288-3256, ext. 3024
jllaplante@cpaquebec.ca


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