What Is An Emergency Protection Order?
Also known as a restraining order, emergency protection orders (EPOs) are for when a family member behaves in violent or threatening behaviours towards the other. A family member can be any of the following, under s1(d) of the Protections Against Family Violence Act (the Act) :
- (i) persons who are or have been married to one another, who are or have been adult interdependent partners or who are residing or have resided together in an intimate relationship,
- (ii) parents of one or more children, regardless of their marital status or whether they have lived together at any time,
- (iii) persons who are related to each other by blood, marriage or adoption or by virtue of an adult interdependent relationship,
- (iv) any children in the care and custody of a person referred to in sub-clauses (i) to (iii), or
- (v) persons who reside together where one of the persons has care and custody over the other pursuant to an order of the court.
Under s1(e) of the Act, family violence consists of any one of the following:
- (i) any intentional or reckless act or omission that causes injury or property damage and that intimidates or harms a family member,
- (ii) any act or threatened act that intimidates a family member by creating a reasonable fear of property damage or injury to a family member,
- (iii) forced confinement,
- (iv) sexual abuse, and
- (v) stalking.
How To Get An Emergency Protection Order?
To get an emergency protection order, you must provide evidence that you are in need of immediate protection. The person under threat, or who is the victim of violence can apply for an EPO with the Provincial Court. Oftentimes, it is easier to get the order if a police officer is involved. This is because the police office is able to request the EPO right away and enforce it immediately. The EPO allows the officers to remove the offender from the premises right away. In addition, they can prohibit the abuser from returning or initiating contact.
What Will A Judge Consider When Ordering An Emergency Protection Order?
According to s2(1) of the Act, the courts must consider the following factors:
- (a) the history of family violence by the respondent toward the claimant and other family members;
- (b.1) whether there is or has been controlling behaviour by the respondent towards the claimant or other family members;
- (b.2) whether the family violence is repetitive or escalating;
- (c) the existence of any immediate danger to persons or property;
- (c.1) the vulnerability of elderly claimants;
- (c.2) the effect of exposure to family violence on any child of the claimant or on any child who is in the care and custody of the claimant;
- (d) the best interests of the claimant and any child of the claimant or any child who is in the care and custody of the claimant;
- (e) the claimant’s need for a safe environment to arrange for longer-term protection from family violence.
When Can You Have An Emergency Protection Order Reviewed?
Within 9 business days of granting the emergency protection order, a Queen’s Bench Justice will re-investigate the order. At this time, both parties have an opportunity to submit evidence in support of their case. This review will take place even if one of the parties to the EPO has not appeared for the hearing. Following the review, the court can order one of the following options under s4 of the Act:
- (a) revoke the order,
- (b) direct that an oral hearing be held,
- (c) confirm the order, in which case the order becomes an order of the Court of Queen’s Bench, or
- (d) revoke the order and grant an order.
What If The Court Has Not Set A Date?
You can request a review of your EPO by applying to court for it. This is done if there is no court date coming up. When this happens, you must serve the other party. This is done so they are aware of your attempt to review the EPO. Getting an order for an EPO can take place without the presence of the other party. However, if you are trying to get the EPO reviewed, the other party must be made aware of this change.
How Can You Attend Court During The Covid-19 Pandemic?
Due to the COVID -19 Pandemic, all EPO Review Hearings are taking place remotely, by videoconference or phone. The purpose of the Queen’s Bench Review Hearing is for the Court to determine if the EPO should continue. If you do not respond and attend the Court date by videoconference or phone, the EPO could continue for up to one year. In an effort to prepare for the hearing, Legal Aid Alberta has put together an information sheet on what a respondent can do in preparation of the review.
Finding Emergency Protection Order Lawyers In Calgary & Edmonton
Whether you are applying for an EPO, or hoping to have the EPO revoked, Kahane Law Office can help. To schedule an appointment with our Emergency Protection Order team, please contact our experienced family law team at Kahane Law Office. You can in both Calgary and Edmonton. Our Calgary direct number is 403-225-8810 , and our Edmonton direct number is (780) 571-8463 or (call free at 1-877-225-8817), or email us directly here.