This is page numbers 115 - 148 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 7th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was chairman.

Topics

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 134

The Chair John Ningark

Thank you. Clause 4.

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 134

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Agreed

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair John Ningark

Thank you. Clause 5.

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 135

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Agreed

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair John Ningark

The bill as a whole?

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Agreed

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair John Ningark

Does the committee agree that Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Judicature Act, is now ready for third reading?

Bill 3: An Act To Amend The Judicature Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 135

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Agreed

Bill 5: An Act To Amend The Maintenance Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 135

The Chair John Ningark

Thank you. Bill 3 is now ready for third reading. We will move on to Bill 5, An Act to Amend the Maintenance Act. Mr. Minister, are you ready for the opening remarks of the bill?

Minister's Introductory Remarks

Bill 5: An Act To Amend The Maintenance Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 135

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Chairman, the bill before you today contains a proposed amendment to the Maintenance Act to allow common-law spouses to apply for support payments.

Under the Maintenance Act a judge may order one spouse to pay maintenance to the other spouse. In a decision of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court in October 1991, the word "spouse" was interpreted by the court to exclude a common-law spouse. The proposed amendment to the Maintenance Act would allow applications for support for common-law spouses to be brought during the relationship or within two years of the break-up of the relationship.

Although the Department of Justice is developing draft legislation on broad reforms to family law, there has been more urgency in the call for reform on this support issue. Under the proposed amendment to the Maintenance Act, a man or a woman who has been cohabiting with a partner for at least two years may apply for spousal support. If the partners have not been living together for a full two years, but have a child together and are living in a relationship of some permanence, then a partner may also apply for spousal support.

Under the bill, a common-law spouse would have two years from the date of separation to start an application for support. This is to provide a common-law spouse with enough time to decide whether support is necessary and also to provide some certainty for a spouse who may not know whether a former spouse will claim a right to support. The bill would also allow common-law spouses to enter into written agreements so that the new support obligations would not apply to them. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Bill 5: An Act To Amend The Maintenance Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair John Ningark

Thank you, Mr. Minister. On behalf of the Standing Committee on Legislation, Mr. Koe has opening remarks. Mr. Koe.

Bill 5: An Act To Amend The Maintenance Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Mr. Chairman.

Bill 5: An Act To Amend The Maintenance Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Excuse me...

Bill 5: An Act To Amend The Maintenance Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair John Ningark

Yes, Mr. Minister.

Bill 5: An Act To Amend The Maintenance Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Chairman, I am sorry, I haven't finished my remarks. Can I continue?