Letter to Sandra Pupatello Minister Responsible for Women's Issues regarding Boyd Report:
January 11, 2005
Minister Responsible for Women's Issues
Ministry of Community and Social Services 80 Grosvenor St, 6th Flr, Hepburn Block, Toronto ON M7A 1E9
Re: The Boyd Report: Dispute Resolution in Family Law
Dear Ms. Pupatello,
On December 20th, Ms Boyd filed her report with your office concerning the use of the Arbitration Act 1991, to settle family legal matters based on religious laws.
The Campaign worked hard to inform Ms. Boyd and the general public about the past failures and future risks of permitting religious groups to continue to settle family legal matters based on religious laws. Details of these abuses and our concerns appear in our reports and our Resolution 04-11-01, which were filed with your office and Ms. Boyd.
We believe in a secular court and “one law for all”. We oppose the current two-tier legal system of secular and religious courts; where religious tribunals make binding rulings on family legal matters based on formal and informal religious laws, codes and values.
Therefore we’re deeply disappointed to read on page 133 of Ms. Boyd’s report that she has recommended that the Arbitration Act may continue to be used by religious groups to settle family legal matters based on religious laws:
1. Arbitration should continue to be an alternative dispute resolution option that is available in family and inheritance law cases, …
2. The Arbitration Act should continue to allow disputes to be arbitrated using religious law, … [page 133]
We therefore re-affirm our support for “Resolution 04-11-01, To Remove Family Law from the Arbitration Act of Ontario 1991”, and demand that all family legal matters be administered by a secular Family Court, subject to the Family Law Act of Ontario.
Over 9,000 people have signed our petition and resolution. Hundreds more sign every week. They’ll continue to support us as we work to end religious tribunals in Ontario.
Coordinator of the International Campaign against Sharia Court in Canada