The Divorce Act Changes Explained

Official Languages

Official languages
Section 23.2(1), Divorce Act)

New section

The Act is amended by adding the following after section 23:

Official languages

23.2 (1) A proceeding under this Act may be conducted in English or French, or in both official languages of Canada.
Old section

None.

What is the change

A proceeding under the Divorce Act may be conducted in English or French, or in both official languages of Canada.

Reason for the change

This amendment provides official language rights similar to those provided under Part XVII of the Criminal Code for criminal matters.

The reference to “proceeding under this Act” refers to the divorce proceedings, corollary relief proceedings and variation proceedings, which can be heard by a court of competent jurisdiction. These three types of proceedings are defined in the Divorce Act to include proceedings in a “court” as defined in section 2 of the Act. The definition of “court” in the Act refers to superior courts of the provinces and territories.

This subsection makes it clear that proceedings at first instance under the Divorce Act can be conducted in English or in French or in both official languages of Canada (i.e. bilingually).

When

The change will come into force by Order in Council.

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