Please note that O. Reg. 142/14 came into force on July 17, 2014. In summary, these regulations make the following changes to the Family Law Rules:
- Rules 1, 5, 26, and 28 have been amended in order to permit the electronic filing of writs of seizure and sale in family law cases. The changes will allow the Family Responsibility Office, lawyers and other government agencies to file these electronically.
- Rule 17 has been amended to enumerate the classes of individuals who can hear case conferences and settlement conferences. Commonly these individuals are called Dispute Resolution Officers, or DROs.
- Rules 26 and 38 have been amended to reflect changes to how court transcripts are prepared. Under the new model, the functions of court reporting and transcript production will be two separate and distinct services. As a result, the rules were amended to ensure that the correct service provider is being referred to in any rules dealing with transcript production.
In addition there are a few miscellaneous wording amendments. A further explanation of the changes is set out below. Please note that this explanation is not intended to be a substitute for reading the Family Law Rules and these amendments in their entirety.
Rules 1, 5, 26 and 28
- The following changes have been made to support electronic writ filing:
- Subrule 1(10) has been amended so that it expands the concept of a written document. The subrule now contemplates documents that are not in a paper format.
- Subrule 5(6.1) clarifies that a writ of seizure and sale may be filed with a sheriff in a municipality that is different from the municipality where the order was obtained.
- Subrule 5(7.1) deems electronic writs to have been issued in the municipality where the enforcement is taking place.
- Subrule 26(1) is amended to include subrule 5(7.1) in the list of sections which determines the place for the enforcement of an order.
- Subrule 28(1.1) specifically authorizes the electronic filing of a writ of seizure and sale.
- Subrule 28(1.2) authorizes the electronic requisition and issuance of a writ and provides that an electronically issued writ shall be automatically filed with the sheriff specified in the writ. It further provides that a recipient does not have to provide a statement of money owed when making a request electronically.
- Subrule 28(1.3) provides that a writ issued electronically is deemed to have been issued by the court.
- Subrule 28(1.4) allows for the correction of an error in a writ for up to two days after the day on which the writ is considered to have been filed with the sheriff.
- Subrule 28(3.1) provides that the statutory declarations referred to in subrules 28(2) and (3) may also be filed electronically.
- Subrule 28(6.1) provides that the statutory declaration referred to in clause 28(6)(a) may be filed electronically.
- Subrule 28(6.2) directs recipient or his or her lawyer to provide written notice to the sheriff in the event of an address change. Subrule 28(6.3) permits this change of address to be filed electronically.
- Subrule 28(6.4) empowers a sheriff to request that a recipient provide to him or her a statement of money owed in order to confirm whether a an electronically filed writ of seizure and sale has been properly issued and filed.
- Subrule 28(6.5) empowers a sheriff to withdraw an electronically filed writ of seizure and sale if he or she determines it was improperly issued or filed or if a recipient fails to comply with the request to provide a statement of money owed referred to in subrule 28(6.4).
- Subrule 28(6.7) empowers a sheriff to make corrections to a writ of seizure and sale.
- Subrule 28(7.1) provides that a writ may be withdrawn in writing or electronically.
- Subrule 28(9.1) provides that changes to information contained in a writ, including the name of party, the recipient’s lawyer or the amount owing, may be filed electronically.
- Subrule 28(11) limits the ability to file electronically under this rule to lawyers, the Director of the Family Responsibility Office and to Ministers or bodies acting under the authority of an Act of Canada or Ontario.
- Subrule 28(12) requires that any documents which are permitted to be filed or issued electronically are to be done with software authorized by the Ministry of the Attorney General.
- Subrule 28(13) provides that the date on which an electronic document is considered issued or filed is the date indicated for the document by the authorized software.
- Subrule 28(14) provides that the requirements that a document be signed or sworn are met for an electronic document filed or issued under this rule if it filed or issued using the authorized software.
- Subrule 17(9) has been amended such that it now provides that a regional senior judge can name a person referred to in subrule 17(9.1) to hear a case conference or a settlement conference.
- Subrule 17(9.1) sets out that that the following persons can hear conferences:
- A lawyer who has 10 years experience in the practice of family law, provided his or her licence is not suspended.
- A retired lawyer with 10 years experience in the practice of family law provided his or her licence was not suspended at the time of retirement.
- A master or retired master of the Superior Court of Justice.
- A retired judge of the Superior Court of Justice.
Rules 26 and 38
- Clause 26 (8) (b) has been amended by striking out “court reporter” and replacing it with “authorized court transcriptionist”.
- Subrule 38(16) has been amended by striking out “court reporter” and replacing it with “authorized court transcriptionist”.
July 21, 2014
 O. Reg 142/14 is expected to be published in the Ontario Gazette on August 2, 2014