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Second Session, Thirty-Ninth Legislature

This version is based on the printed bill that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.   It is not the official version.   If accuracy is critical, you can obtain a copy of the printed bill from Statutory Publications or view the online bilingual version (PDF).

Bill 4

THE PROVINCIAL COURT AMENDMENT ACT (FAMILY MEDIATORS AND EVALUATORS)


Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. C275 amended

1           The Provincial Court Act is amended by this Act.

2           The following is added after section 20:

Definitions

20.1        The following definitions apply in sections 20.2 to 20.5.

"designated mediator" has the same meaning as in section 41 of The Court of Queen's Bench Act. (« médiateur désigné »)

"family evaluator" has the same meaning as in section 41 of The Court of Queen's Bench Act. (« enquêteur familial »)

"family proceeding" means a family proceeding within the meaning of section 41 of The Court of Queen's Bench Act where The Provincial Court (Family Division) has jurisdiction. (« instance en matière familiale »)

Referral to designated mediator

20.2(1)     Where a judge is of the opinion that an effort should be made to resolve an issue in a family proceeding otherwise than at a formal trial, the judge may, at any stage of the proceeding, refer the issue to a designated mediator.

Action by designated mediator

20.2(2)     A designated mediator to whom an issue is referred under subsection (1) shall attempt to resolve the issue.

Mediation by designated mediator

20.3(1)     Subject to subsection (3), unless the parties otherwise agree, neither

(a) a designated mediator who renders services

(i) under section 20.2 of this Act or section 47 of The Court of Queen's Bench Act, or

(ii) at the request of the parties; nor

(b) a party to the mediation;

is competent or compellable to give evidence in a family proceeding in respect of

(c) a written or oral statement made by a party during the mediation; or

(d) knowledge or information acquired during the mediation by a person referred to in clause (a) or (b).

Mediation by private practising mediator

20.3(2)     Subject to subsection (3), unless the parties otherwise agree, if the parties have agreed in writing that the mediation process will be confidential, neither

(a) a private practising mediator who renders mediation services to parties; nor

(b) a party to the mediation;

is competent or compellable to give evidence in a family proceeding in respect of

(c) a written or oral statement made by a party during the mediation; or

(d) knowledge or information acquired during the mediation by a person referred to in clause (a) or (b).

Exception

20.3(3)     Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply with respect to a proceeding under Part III (Child Protection) of The Child and Family Services Act.

Family evaluator

20.4(1)     If a judge is of the opinion that a report of a family evaluator is required at a hearing with respect to custody, access or a related family matter, the judge may by order appoint a family evaluator.

Duty of family evaluator

20.4(2)     A family evaluator appointed under subsection (1) shall interview the parties and such other persons as may be appropriate and shall provide to the court a report containing information and opinion relevant to custody, access or a related family matter that is in issue in the proceeding.

Family evaluator may be witness

20.5        Where a report is submitted to the court by a family evaluator appointed under section 20.4, the family evaluator may be called as a witness and may be cross-examined by all parties.

Consequential amendment, C.C.S.M. c. C280

3            Subclause 48(1)(a)(i) of The Court of Queen's Bench Act is replaced with the following:

(i) under section 47 of this Act or section 20.2 of The Provincial Court Act, or

Coming into force

4           This Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.

Explanatory Note

This Bill gives The Provincial Court specific power in a dispute about custody or access, or a related family matter, to refer the parties for mediation or a family evaluator's report.  Confidentiality requirements for information acquired during mediation are consistent with those for similar proceedings in the Court of Queen's Bench.