The Divorce Act Changes Explained


Competent authority
(Section 2(1), Divorce Act)

New section

Subsection 2(1) of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

competent authority means, except as otherwise provided, a tribunal or other entity in a country other than Canada, or a subdivision of such a country, that has the authority to make a decision under their law respecting any subject matter that could be dealt with under this Act; (autorité compétente)
Old section


What is the change

The amendment defines the concept of “competent authority.”

Reason for the change

The Act uses the term “competent authority” in various sections related to international matters, such as those relating to the recognition of foreign divorce, the recognition of foreign parenting and contact orders and the 1996 Convention on the Protection of Children. The definition of competent authority captures various types of decision-making authorities including a tribunal, a court or any other entity outside Canada that can make decisions under their laws about any matter that can be dealt with under the Act.

The definition applies except where the Act specifically uses a different definition of “competent authority,” such as in s 25.


March 1, 2021.