AFCC-O 2018

AFCC-O News From 2018

AFCC-O has been busy once again during the past year of operation (from the end of October 2017 to end of October 2018) continuing the work on Access to Justice and various other important outreach initiatives. Dr. Dan Ashbourne, C. Psych. was the President, with Brian Burke the President-Elect and Treasurer. Other Executive members for AFCCO were Justice Gerri Wong (Past President), Maxine Kerr (Secretary), and Justice Phil Clay (Vice-President).   This has been our 10th year as a Chapter (2018) of the international AFCC organization and a year to celebrate many accomplishments. Our Annual conference on October 19, 2018 had Dr. Michael Ungar as the keynote speaker around the theme of “The Future of Youth: Moving Beyond Risk to Resiliency”. A Pre-conference Institute [Supporting Adopted Youth to Maintain Openness Connections with Birth Family and Communities] and a New Professionals event [Parenting Issues in Family Law: Working with Assessors, Mediators and Other Family Professionals] on October 18, 2018 were followed by a social reception and “Evening of Excellence” with over 100 attending a dinner to honour various AFCCO members and organizations that have supported the Ontario Chapter over the past 10 years.

The Walsh Family Law Moot and Negotiation Competition this year occurred in March 2018 and continued to grow in size and interest from various law schools. The next similar event will be on March 9, 2019 in Toronto. Outreach programs continued to occur in the south west of the province (Windsor) and in the east (Kingston), with a new initiative in Ottawa on November 13, 2018 focused on “High Conflict: Consulting or Court Room”. With 2019 seeing the return to Toronto for the International group of AFCC, the Ontario Chapter events will be hosted in Hamilton on October 17th and 18th, 2019. A call for proposals has gone out with the December AFCCO e-blast. Monthly E-blasts continue to share the good news and upcoming events across the province and keep our members informed. The twice yearly (Spring and Fall) newsletter produced for the AFCCO organization came out in March 2018 and the second special edition related to the 10th anniversary will be released soon in late December 2018.

AFCC-O was invited to consultations with the Attorney General of Ontario about Access to Justice Issues on November 22, 2017 in Toronto and to speak on “Ideal Family Law & Court Reform call to Action”. Topics discussed were the expansion of Unified Family Courts and also supporting community services and other methods to enhance access to justice for families. AFCC-O has supported various research projects over the years as our website highlights and in the 2017-2019 period efforts have been underway “Exploring the Benefits and Challenges of Mediation Services in Ontario” by Dr. Rachel Birnbaum and Dr. Denise Whitehead (both longstanding members of AFCC and AFCCO). Finally, with the Federal Government’s Bill C-78 “, an Act to amend the parenting provisions of the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements and Enforcement Assistance Act, etc.” was introduced and AFCC-O wrote the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada a response to the proposed changes in Bill C-78 and this response can be found on our Recent Initiatives Webpage. The 15 Board members of AFCC-O working with the Executive committee of the Board will continue to work on your behalf in moving forward various ideas across the province in newsletters or e-blasts, research initiatives, responding to government invites and legislative changes, while maintaining regular outreach and professional development for members.

Written by: Dr. Dan T. Ashbourne, C. Psych., AFCC-O President 2017-2018