Although it seems callous to talk of family failures within the business context, it helps to define this dimension. When families break up there is a real impact to our nation ’s bottom line. If the cost can be evaluated, assessments can be made with respect to the business investment, the pay back opportunity can be determined and action substantiated.

  1. What is the financial cost to society?
  2. When you add up the costs incurred by society what is the real cost?

Divorce Industry in CanadaWhen you include public funding for items such as courts and legal subsidization, additional cost to healthcare, education systems and other social institutions, increase in crime, policing, welfare, E.I., support and enforcement agencies, the impact on workplace productivity and placement, personal bankruptcies, crime and the future costs related to perpetuating such a situation. Although buried in our social fabric they are real costs that impact the country’s bottom line and from global business perspective impacts our competitiveness

Data from the Canadian Tax Foundation indicate:

that in 1994 crime consumed more of our financial resources than the government of Canada committed to old age pensions ($15.8 billion), the Child Tax Benefit ($5 Billion), the Canada Assistance Plan ($7.4 Billion), and child care ($5.5 billion) combined, and twice as much as was spent to support unemployed people through the Employment Insurance program ($18.1 billion)
The estimated cost of detaining a young offender is at least $100,000 per year. – National Crime Prevention Council, 1996.

For society as a whole, the dissolution of marriage is a costly proposition. It is so in terms of consequent problems for children, including juvenile delinquency, welfare costs for those single- parent families that fall into poverty, health costs, as well as loss of productivity on the part of affected adults.

Divorce IndustryI have made reference to the size of the Canadian divorce industrial complex. Following is a breakdown of the core components.

Where details for Canada were not available, the estimate is based on divorce in ontario numbers. With one-third of the total population the totals for Canada were prorated accordingly.

In those cases where input numbers included Civil and Criminal justice, the proportion to Family Justice was approximated. These costs do not include the many other associated costs such as mediators, social workers, police, children’s aid societies, etc. They are just the costs related to the Family Court portion.

Yearly Canada Costs For Family Justice Only:

  • Cost of Judges Salary – $300,000,000

  • Cost of Administration, Operations, $400,000,000

  • Cost of court security – $100,000,000

  • Cost of Legal Aid – $200,000,000

  • Cost of Enforcement – $120,000,000

  • Cost of Lawyers – $4,600,000,000

Attorney General, Ontario Court Services Annual Report 2005, Ontario Provincial Auditor – Annual Report 2003, Federal Funding of Provincial Child Support enforcement
Department of Justice – Report on Plans and Priorities 2004-2005, Canadian Judicial Council, Profile of legal aid services in family law maters in Canada, CanLaw

Process and Efficiency – Where is Sheila Fraser?

This blog post includes an excerpt from the 2006 book Courts From Hell by Frank Simons

Frank Simons Courts From Hell