Results at a glance – Evaluation of Federal Support for Family Justice

Federal Support for Family Justice activities are intended to help families make decisions related to separation or divorce by providing information about matters such as parenting, child support and spousal support; to help families resolve issues without going to court; to help families obtain and enforce child and spousal support; and to provide tools to help people deal with the impacts of separation or divorce.

Family law is an area of shared constitutional jurisdiction. The federal government has jurisdiction over divorce and other related matters ancillary to divorce. Provincial and Territorial (PT) governments have jurisdiction over matters relating to unmarried couples who separate, and to married couples who separate but do not divorce.

The Department of Justice (hereafter the Department) develops and implements federal family laws, policies and programs.  It provides family law legal and policy advice to the federal government. Efforts to address family justice issues are coordinated through collaboration and information sharing among jurisdictions. The Department works closely with family justice representatives from the 13 PT governments across Canada through various bodies including the Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials – Family Justice (CCSO-FJ).

Funding for Federal Support for Family Justice totalled $96 million for the period covered by the evaluation (2014-15 to 2017-18), of which two-thirds related to grants and contributions (Gs&Cs). Through Budget 2017, the Department received a permanent mandate to continue its support for the family justice system.

What was found


Continue to provide support to programs and services that extend reach to diverse and underserved populations for the resolution of family law matters. More specifically, it is recommended that Justice Canada develop and implement a plan including:

About the evaluation

The Evaluation of the Federal Support for Family Justice covers the period from 2014-15 to 2017-18 and was completed in accordance with Treasury Board’s Policy on Results (2016) and the Financial Administration Act. The main objective of the evaluation was to address issues related to relevance, effectiveness and efficiency. For the full report, please visit the Justice Canada website.