The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting countries across the world, and Canada is no exception. As a result, family courts in the country have had to operate on an emergency-only basis, with cases that weren’t scheduled for hearings in March and further being put on hold.
A family lawyer in Toronto, Russell Alexander, stated that the Canadian legal system has a 4-5 month backlog, so cases that were supposed to have March hearings are scheduled for October and November. He advised ‘that anyone looking to file a case over here should wait into the new year’.
This is problematic, as family lawyers across the country have reported an increase in the number of clients looking to file for divorces, with the explanation that the pandemic has taken its toll on a lot of marriages.
Psychotherapist Tammy Labber, a specialist in couples counseling, says that there’s a lot of stress right now, and that’s never a good thing for a relationship. There are a lot of issues for married couples that were born of or were aggravated by the pandemic. She explains that the stress of working from home, if they still had a job in the first place, dealing with the kids all day, every day, and the isolation took its toll.
She notes that so much time together has made a few couples rethink their relationships, with Labber saying that so much free time can lead to overthinking, which results in issues popping up in otherwise functional relationships.
Canada’s courts have reopened, with changes implemented. A few lawyers in the country, like Alexander, states that it at least made Canada’s court system modernize itself to keep up with the times, with a few courts that were still sticking with paper-only operations now accepting electronically-sent documentation.
A lot of Canadian lawyers are saying that ‘this is only the start of reforms that they’ll see over here’, with many expecting more reforms in Canada’s courts as time goes on. A lot of courts have been looking at allowing for hearings to be streamed, in order to maintain social distancing.
Lawyers are hoping that, once the pandemic is over, these changes, tools, and technologies stick around for the courts and make things more efficient moving forward.