Former NDP attorney-general Marion Boyd has been appointed to review procedures that would include the use of Islamic law to settle family disputes, the Ontario government announced late yesterday.
The review will examine the 1991 Arbitration Act, which allows religious groups to resolve civil family disputes within their faith, providing that all parties involved consent to the process and the results conform to Canadian law and human rights codes.
Other religious groups, including Catholics and Jews, already use the act.
Boyd’s appointment was prompted by plans of the Islamic Institute for Civil Justice to start applying a form of sharia law later this year.
Several legal and women’s groups have expressed concern that the 1,400-year-old sharia law is flawed because it does not view women as equal.
“I want to make sure we are getting this right,” Premier Dalton McGuinty said earlier this month when he promised a review of the Arbitration Act.
Boyd’s report is expected by September.