Issue No. 5 - The 2021 Divorce Act: Using Statutory Interpretation Principles to Support Substantive Equality for Women and Children

June 2021

This Brief provides a guide to statutory interpretation of relevant provisions which has four Parts. Part I identifies the principles of statutory interpretation reviewed in Michel v. Graydon and adapts them to apply to family violence. Part II considers the scheme and objects of the Divorce Act as discerned from the Act itself and legislative statements of objectives. Part III looks at relevant social and historical context information. This is an important exercise because it is a principle of statutory interpretation that Parliament is taken to know the social and historical context in which it makes its intention known. Part IV considers Canada’s international obligations relating to family violence as Parliament is presumed to take them into account. 

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