Advocacy Campaign

Campaign: Support Bill C-560: Presumption of Equal Parenting

April 11, 2014In Policy and Legal, Fatherhood


Justin Trottier, Executive Director
Canadian Association for Equality

Help pass Bill C-560 to restore justice and equality in Canadian family courts

The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) and Canadian Equal Parenting Council (CEPC) are asking you to help get Bill C-560 passed in the Canadian parliament. The bill would amend the federal Divorce Act to include a rebbutable presumption of equal parenting.

Equal parenting (EP) is a collection of “best practices” in family law and procedures to ensure that both parents keep equal rights, responsibilities and time with their children, unless parents freely decide otherwise, or unless a parent has been proven unfit to an evidence-based standard. In effect, EP removes judicial discretion to award sole custody without due process and unless a clear standard has been met.

Read BILL C-560

In response to the Canadian Bar Association’s comments in opposition to Bill C-560, Lawyers for Shared Parenting, Leading Women for Shared Parenting and the Canadian Equal Parenting Council have prepared the following thorough and well researched document:
Myths Versus Facts Regarding Bill C560

Infographics for Bill C560: Download the jpg on this page or the linked PDF



What can you do to help? 

The second hour of second reading debate is scheduled for May 5. After that, the bill will be voted on. If it passes, it will be sent to the Justice Committee for study and possible amendment. I would urge all those supporting these Family Law Reforms to our Divorce Act to contact your MP and request a face to face, 15 minute meeting to discuss his or her support for Bill C-560. The timing is urgent – the debate will be held in the House of Commons on May 5th.

Here is a link to find your MP:

Here is a link to an automated system to send emails to all MPs in Ottawa:

Handwritten letters are even better. Do what you can and get friends and family to write also. No postage is required to mail to your MP.

Below is a suggested letter. Please feel free to adapt, use or write your own. Please be polite.

To: Name of MP,

MP for (riding)

Parliament of Canada

Ottawa K1A 1A6

Dear MP _________:

As a constituent in your riding, I am asking you to consider supporting a private member’s bill currently introduced in the House of Commons. The Bill is C-560, “Equal parenting” which aims to reform the federal Divorce Act.

This bill is long overdue, as the changes so that both parents would remain in their children’s lives after divorce or separation were called for by Parliament in 1998 with the “For the Sake of the Child” report.

Keeping both parents as a presumption reduces conflict and cost to families. It is better for the children. It is the right thing to do. Personally, if those changes had been made, our family would have many thousands of dollars in additional assets to be spent on the children, rather than on legal conflicts which are unaffordable and do not solve problems in the real world.

I urge you to consult with both sides on this bill and ensure that the viewpoint of parents and children are heard as well. Unfortunately, in the past, those who made decisions on this issue have only listened to the interests of a legal profession monopoly which has made so much money from the current system.

The current system does not work for me, for my family, and for other parents and children. Equal parenting reforms seek to ensure that the system treats parents and their children with equality and respect.

Equal parenting presumptions are working in other states and countries of the world. I urge you to contact the Canadian Equal Parenting Council for further information on what works where and why Canada should make these changes. Please recommend that your colleagues also support Bill C-560.

Thank you for listening and I wish you and your family the best.

Your Name/signature

A note from Maurice Vellacott, the MP sponsoring Bill C560, Rebuttable presumption of equal parenting

Greetings Colleague,

I have attached a copy of an article from this month’s Family Court Review (FCR), which is a special issue on shared parenting. The article is by the most highly regarded psychologist in the field of child custody, Sanford Braver. It speaks to the perils of the discretionary best interests standard, which is also discussed at length in The Equal Parent Presumption by Professor Edward Kruk of British Columbia.

By the way, there are two articles in this FCR issue by Jennifer McIntosh, who was the primary opponent to shared care of infants and very young children. She has basically retracted her previous opposition on infant overnight access for non-custodial parents. In this issue she acknowledges that, ”cautions against any overnight care during the first three years have not been supported.” I have also attached a recent article from Australia about the McIntosh “fiasco.”

For the sake of the children,

Maurice Vellacott, D.Min., MP


The Costs and Pitfalls of Individualizing Decisions and Incentivizing Conflict: A Comment on AFCC’s think Tank Report on Shared Parenting, by Sanford L. Braver

Empty days, lonely nights: A belief that children under three should not stay overnight with their separated or divorced father has underpinned our family law system for years. Has it all been a mistake? Bettina Arndt reports