THE ADVOCATE 419
VOL. 79 PART 3 MAY 2021
By the Honourable David Eby, Q.C.*
MODERNIZATION OF THE PROVINCIAL COURT FAMILY RULES
One of the widely noted impacts of the pandemic is significantly escalated
stresses on families. Financial stress, emotional stress and childcare stress
have exacerbated tensions for many, leading to predictions of increased
demand on the family justice system in our province.
Thankfully, while many in the system have worked to adapt to the pandemic
to respond to the needs of families, the work to modernize and
improve the family justice system in Provincial Court started well before
the pandemic and has continued through the pandemic with the introduction
of modernized new Provincial Court (Family) Rules (“PCFR”), which will
come into force on May 17, 2021. While these rule changes are not the only
changes to the Provincial Court family system that have rolled out or been
accelerated during the pandemic, they are a significant new initiative of
importance to those who practise family law in the province.
Jointly led by the Ministry of Attorney General family law team and the
Provincial Court, PCFR modernization was grounded in research and analysis.
Identified issues were vigorously discussed and debated by a working
group with participants from the ministry, Provincial Court, the Law Society
of British Columbia, the CBABC and a family advocate.
The implementation of the rules has been phased, with some aspects of
the new rules already operational prior to the province-wide launch. The
early resolution and case management process in the new rules was prototyped
in Victoria with such positive early results that in December 2020,
Victoria and Surrey became the designated Early Resolution Registries,
becoming early adopters of those provisions. This model puts dispute reso-
* The Honourable David Eby, Q.C., is British Columbia’s Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.