On December 15, 2010, the Attorney General of Quebec, Jean-Marc Fournier announced that the Quebec government has decided to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada the Eric v. Lola case to determine whether common law partners should have the right to claim alimony after a breakup.
Last November, Quebec’s Court of Appeal invalidated a section of Quebec’s Civil Code that guarantees support payments only in cases involving people who are married or in civil unions and gave the government one year to review the legislation. For more information on this case, read this previous Slaw blog post.
However, Fournier said the government will ask the country’s highest court to review that decision because for the past 30 years the province has recognized that freedom of choice is of “fundamental importance.” He further stated:
Before breaking away from the legislative choices made in recent decades, which have always given priority to the individual wishes of the parties, we need clarification from the Supreme Court.”
Even if we decide to re-assess the question of the obligation of support, we would still have to appeal the decision, if only to establish how much legislative liberty we have”
The Quebec government will file its motion asking for a leave to appeal at the Supreme Court in the coming days and expects the court to decide within six months if it will hear the case.
Pending a decision by the Supreme Court, the Quebec government is requesting that the Justice Department conduct an analysis on the private relationships between common law partners.