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Pickering Law Firm

If you are looking for a Pickering Law Firm, please call our Ontario lawyers at 1 844-618-8080 or text 778-676-3808.  We offer flat fee billing and free consultations.

We also have additional offices in: Newmarket, Vaughan, Collingwood and Burlington. Laws change all the time, so please contact us to learn about up to date laws in your province.

Our Pickering lawyers are available to drive out and meet you.

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Spousal Support- Pickering Law Firm

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal the British Columbia Court of Appeal (the “BCCA”) decision K.D. v. N.D., 2014 BCCA 70, which upheld an order made in Chambers varying but not cancelling spousal support in a situation involving young children and a new relationship.
The BCCA decision clarified some fundamental principles of spousal support in addressing the five arguments the husband raised in his attempt to have spousal support cancelled:

1. No End Date: Although the length of a marriage is a factor in the determination of spousal support and a “time-limited” or “clean-break” model may be appropriate in certain circumstances, it will not generally be appropriate to cancel or limit the period of support in circumstances when there are young dependent children.

2. Spousal Support is Not an Automatic Right: Entitlement is a principle of spousal support and the Judge correctly considered the specific circumstances of the wife, the children’s ages and the efforts made to become self-sufficient and determined that she was entitled to spousal support in the circumstances.

3. Self-Sufficiency is an Objective of the Divorce Act: There is an obligation to strive for self-sufficiency to the extent that a spouse applying for spousal support is able to do so. This obligation will be considered in the circumstances. In this case, the BCCA found that the Judge determined that the recipient wife was making efforts to become self-sufficient and his decision to impute income to her put her on notice that she had to continue to move towards self-sufficiency.

4. Costs of the Recipient Spouse’s Choices: Whether a spouse is making a conscious choice not to be self-supporting is a question of fact and in this specific case, this contention was not supported by evidence.

5. Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (“SSAG”): The husband argued on appeal that the Judge’s use of gross income to determine the amount of spousal support was incorrect. The BCCA reviewed the SSAG and the evidence put forward in the specific case. The BCCA stated that gross income is a starting point for spousal support and in this case there was no error by the Judge because he used the evidence both parties put before him and clarified that he was addressing Line 150 income.

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Both parties had self-represented and provided the Judge with calculations from MySupportCalculator.ca. The court referred to the notes that accompanied the MySupportCalculator.ca calculations that specifically stated its calculations rely upon gross employment income only and advises parties’ to see a lawyer if their income comes from other sources such as business, self-employment, dividend and other sources as support calculations are then more complex and adjustments should be made.

The husband’s evidence could not be changed upon appeal. Further, with respect to duration, the BCCA confirmed that duration under the SSAG will be different based on whether or not the parties’ have children. Where there are young dependent children, indefinite support is the approach a Judge ought to take initially.

Related: Prenuptial Agreements, what you need to know!

If you are looking for a Pickering Law Firm, please call our Ontario lawyers at 1 844-618-8080 or text 778-676-3808.  We offer flat fee billing and free consultations.

In summary, this BCCA decision has clarified that spousal support orders are fact specific and the unique circumstances of each couple will be determinative. Further, the evidence put forward is essential as are the calculation methods used. If you are seeking spousal support or being asked to pay spousal support, it is highly advised that you discuss your circumstances with a lawyer at our Pickering Law Firm.

Keeping Abreast: Feeding in Public

Victoria’s Secret, known for being a supporter of cleavage, has been in the news recently for suggesting that a mother take her baby to breastfeed in an alley in response to the mother’s request to feed in the store. The mother, apparently unsure of the rules around breastfeeding in public, had requested to feed in a dressing room when she received the said untoward suggestion from an employee. In fairness to the curvy company and the Lone Star State, it is both company policy and Texas state law to allow breastfeeding in public.

This issue has become relevant to me as a new father and as a husband to a wife who has chosen to breastfeed exclusively. I fear for any employee who would dare to tell my wife not to breastfeed publicly. So, what are the rules on breastfeeding in public in British Columbia?

The unequivocal answer is that discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding is a form of sex discrimination and therefore prohibited by the B.C. Human Rights Code.

If you are looking for a Pickering Law Firm, please call our Ontario lawyers at 1 844-618-8080 or text 778-676-3808.  We offer flat fee billing and free consultations.

The watershed case is Poirier v. The Deputy Chief Commissioner of the British Columbia Human Rights Commission (1997 BCHRT). This case involved a mother who was breastfeeding on her lunch hour at work. After attending a lunchtime seminar and breastfeeding her baby, the government department received a number of complaints, resulting in Ms. Poirier’s employer asking her to refrain from breastfeeding for two weeks and thereby creating an environment for her where she no longer felt comfortable breastfeeding at work. This was the first known case in Canada to deal with the issue of breastfeeding and discrimination.

This case has set a precedent across Canada that it is legally unacceptable to discriminate against a woman who is breastfeeding.

While many cases of discrimination go unreported because the affected party fails to report the matter whatsoever or the parties settle the matter without the necessity of a hearing, there has been another relatively recent case relating to a popular retailer and breastfeeding.

Victoria’s Secret could take a page out of H&M’s book. In the case of Valle v. H&M (2008 BCHRT 456), a mother was allegedly told not to breastfeed on the store floor.

The case was dismissed at an early stage, not because there was not discrimination, but because H&M had sufficiently dealt with the matter. It was found that H&M had previously adopted a positive policy of breastfeeding in public; it republished that policy to all of its employees; it posted the policy at its stores; and, it apologized to the affected mother and any others who were affected.

The bottom line is that H&M took a number of steps quickly to accept responsibility and distance itself from the alleged behaviour of the employee. However, not all situations will receive such an immediate response. If a woman is the subject of discrimination in relation to breastfeeding, she has six months from the date in question to file a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

With respect to Victoria’s Secret, it looks like the secret’s out.

Protect yourself from legal liability, contact our Pickering Law Firm today!

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