Honourable Justice Diane Marcelin of the Superior Court determined on May 26 2011 that the Quebec Child Support Guidelines are discriminatory to divorcing or divorced mothers. Judge Marcelin called upon the Quebec Government to change the Guidelines voluntarily, and she declared that the infringement of the constitutional rights of divorced mothers is justified under section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because of cooperative federalism.
The adoption of the Quebec Child Support Guidelines under the aegis of the Divorce Act was contested by a group of divorced mothers who got together to challenge the law by reason of the violation of their equality rights, guaranted under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is caused to the children whose two parents reside in Quebec. This group of mothers, and their children, with the support of our firm, demonstrated to the Court that the quantum of child support established under the Federal Child Support Guidelines is much more generous, and the conditions for an application for child support protect children much more than under the Quebec law. The petitioners asked that the Federal Guidelines apply instead of the Quebec Guidelines in all cases governed by the Divorce Act (the nullity of this Decree was requested by means of a motion for declaratory judgment).
We have filed an appeal of the judgment, arguing that once a provision of law is discriminatory, it cannot be “saved” by the doctrine of “cooperative federalism.” The Attorneys General of Quebec and Canada, as well as one of the fathers, have also filed cross-appeals. We await a hearing date within the next few months.
It is absurd and tragic that Canadian children whose two parents reside in Quebec cannot benefit from the generosity of the standard that applies all across Canada, just not here!