2020 AFCC-O Annual Conference

Pre-Conference Virtual Event
Thursday, October 15, 2020
5:00-6:30 p.m.

2020 AFCC-O AGM and Annual Conference

Friday, October 16, 2020
Virtual Event via Zoom Webinar

Annual Conference Co-Chairs
Maxine M. Kerr, Family Law & Mediation
Carolyn Leach, Senior Counsel, Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services

8:30-9:00     AFCC-O Annual General Meeting

9:00-9:15      Introductory Remarks & Announcement of Dena Moyal Award

9:15-10:45     Keynote Speaker: Professor El Jones

El will review the tenets of intersectionality theory, exploring how an intersectional lens can deepen our understanding of social justice, access to justice, and pervasive issues within the family justice system.  Concepts of family and violence will be examined through this lens, highlighting the impacts of structural oppression and systemic inequalities on those served by the family justice, child welfare, and criminal justice systems.  In particular, the presentation will focus on how race, poverty, gender and domestic violence may overlap in ways that significantly disadvantage the men, women and children that come before our courts.  Finally, El will offer her insights about best practices for family justice professionals, and solutions for the future that will support transformative change.

10:45-11:00   Break

 Panel: Tools for Addressing Internet Abuse in Parenting Cases

Justice Freya Kristjanson, Superior Court of Justice
Shawn Richard, Lenkinski, Carr & Richard, LLP
Seema Jain, Jain Family Law & Mediation
Linda Popielarczyk, MSW, RSW, Acc.FM

This multidisciplinary panel will review tools that may be available to address the increasing problem of parents using the internet to cyberbully their former spouses, including the new privacy tort of “publicly placing someone in a false light”, and effective resort to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Potential impacts of cyberbullying of children will also be reviewed, along with steps that can be taken to minimize these impacts, and assessment or therapeutic options that may be of assistance.  Finally, the panel will discuss the personal impacts on family justice professionals who are targeted by internet abusers, and steps that professionals can take to protect themselves and their reputation.

12:30-1:15     Lunch Break

1:15-2:45      The Opioid Epidemic and Family Court

Dr. Stephanie Tabashnek, Psy.D., J.D.

Practitioners and courts across North America are confronting the challenge of how to manage the effects of opioid addiction on families. Drawing on the latest research, this presentation will provide lawyers, judges, mediators, and mental health professionals with the information necessary to thoughtfully approach cases involving opioid-addiction dynamics. Topics covered include the impact of opioid misuse on parenting, the science of addiction, and best practices for family law professionals who are developing parenting plans or court orders in these cases.

2:45-3:00      Break

3:00-3:05     Tribute to Kathleen Chapman

3:05-4:30      Panel: Resist/Refuse Dynamics in Custody/Access Cases

Justice Phil Clay, Ontario Court of Justice
Justice Julie Audet, Superior Court of Justice
Patric Senson, Counsel, Office of the Children’s Lawyer
Dr. Shely Polak, PhD, MSW, RSW, Acc.FM
Heather Hansen, Martha McCarthy & Co

There has been a significant amount of literature released and webinars available on the resist/refusal dynamic in 2020. Our five person panel recognizes that registrants understand the issues so our approach will be practice focused. We will examine a factual scenario involving child resistance/refusal. Each panelist will examine the issues raised from the perspective of their role in family dispute resolution and provide practical advice for Ontario based judges, lawyers, and counsellors/therapists. The fact scenario will then be modified to raise new issues that may require different advice and different solutions. The scenarios will be available to registrants in advance of the program so that we can launch right into our discussion.

4:30-4:45      Closing Remarks


This event has been accredited for LSO Professionalism Content as described below:

  • 1 hour and 30 minutes of EDI Professionalism content
  • 1 hour and 45 minutes of all other Professionalism content
  • 2 hours and 45 minutes of Substantive content

Attendance at our conference is also recognized by both the American Psychological Association (Live presentation only), and the Ontario Association of Social Workers for continuing education.

Certificates of Attendance are available through on-line conference registration

With thanks to our sponsors for
their support




2020 Fees

Member Rate: $125.00

Non-Member Rate: $150.00

Student/Retirement/Presenter Rate: $75.00

Group Rate: $125.00 each (5 person minimum) – Contact info@old.afccontario.ca

Due to limitations imposed by COVID-19, this year’s event will be held virtually. As such, registration fees have been decreased by 50% from last year’s prices.

AFCC Ontario Chapter members are eligible for discounts to attend our chapter events

Memberships are offered via our AFCC International website at:


If you require assistance with joining or renewing your membership you may contact AFCC at:


or by calling 1-608-664-3750 for assistance.

Please Consider Sponsoring Our Conference Events

AFCC-O members share a strong commitment to education, innovation, and collaboration in order to benefit communities, empower families, and promote a healthy future for children. We promote a collaborative approach to serving the needs of children among those who work in and with family law systems, encouraging education, research and innovation and identifying best practices.  Your sponsorship and support allows us to continue offering programs to our members and community of professionals.