What is an Emergency Protection Order

Protection Against Family Violence Act
R.S.A. 2000 c. P-27 (as amended)
Protection Against Family Violence Regulation
Alta Reg. 80/99 (as amended)
In 2002, the Family Law Office (FLO) in
Edmonton began providing legal
representation for Emergency Protection
Order review hearings in Edmonton.
In 2011, the Family Law Office (FLO) in
Calgary began providing legal
representation for Emergency Protection
Order review hearings in Calgary (CPOP).
A free (without
financial cost to the
client) legal service
to victims of family
Funded by FLO,
Legal Aid Alberta
and the Solicitor
General and Public
Security Division
through the Victims
of Crime Fund.
Duty Counsel lawyer
located at the Law
Courts in Edmonton
Duty Counsel lawyers
to appear in Queen’s
Bench for EPO review
Information and
referrals about other
types of protection
orders where an EPO
is not appropriate
An EPO is a civil order granted under the
Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFVA).
This court order is granted to a Claimant without
notice to the Respondent. It must be reviewed by
the higher court within nine* working days.
People who apply for or are granted EPOs are
called Claimants.
People who have EPOs granted against them are
called Respondents.
In determining whether an order should be
granted, the Provincial Court Judge or Justice of
the Peace must consider:
History of family violence
Controlling behaviour
Repetitive or escalating behaviour
Immediate danger
Vulnerability of the elderly
Effect of exposure on children
Need for a safe environment to
arrange for longer term protection
Prevent a Respondent from going near or
entering a specified place;
 Prevent a Respondent from communicating with
or contacting the Claimant and other persons
named in the order;
 Give the Claimant exclusive occupation of a
 Direct a peace officer to remove the Respondent
from a residence;
Direct a peace officer to accompany a
specified person to a residence to remove
personal belongings;
Direct seizure and storage of weapons;
Any other terms that the Judge or JP find
appropriate in the circumstances.
A Provincial Court Judge or Justice of the Peace can
only grant an EPO if they find ALL of the
1) The Claimant and Respondent are family
members as defined by PAFVA;
2) Family violence as defined by PAFVA has
3) There is reason to believe that the family
violence will resume or continue; AND
4) The situation is so serious or urgent that an
EPO is required for the immediate protection
of the Claimant and other family members.
s.1 (d) Persons who:
 Are or have been married to one another
 Are or have been adult interdependent partners of
one another
Are residing or resided together in an intimate
Are the parents of one or more children together
Are related by blood, marriage or adoption
Any children in the care of any of the above
Persons who reside together and one has the care and
control over the other pursuant to a court order
It’s not just about the black eyes.
It is any intentional or reckless act or
omission that causes injury;
It is any intentional or reckless act that
damages property;
It is any act or threat to act that intimidates
by creating fear of injury or property damage;
It is forced confinement;
It is sexual abuse; and
Actually, it is a misconception to think that
getting this type of order hinges on finding
that there is “an emergency”!
The Judge or JP must find that the situation is
serious or urgent and that the order is
necessary for the immediate protection of
the Claimant and other family members.
A Claimant can apply for an EPO by:
Making an application to a Provincial Court Judge at the Provincial
Court of Alberta, Family and Youth Division located at 1A Sir
Winston Churchill Square;
Making an application to a Justice of the Peace (JP) at the Hearing
Office located in the Brownlee Building at 10365 – 97 Street,
Edmonton before or after the Court’s regular business hours.
*Police & Children’s Services can assist Claimants with applying for EPOs
by telephone in emergencies.
Call the EPOP Intake Line at (780)
422-9222 for information about
EPOs and other types of protection
orders; or
Send the Claimant directly to the
Edmonton Law Courts Building to
speak with the EPOP Provincial Court
duty counsel lawyer. Our office is
currently located outside of court
room #448.
Provincial Court duty counsel will:
 Assess the situation and provide a legal
opinion as to whether the Claimant meets
the requirements of PAFVA to apply for an
EPO or requires a different type of
protection order.
 If it sounds like the Claimant meets the
criteria of the Act, then they will fill out and
file the required Court documents and run
the EPO application in front of a Provincial
Court Judge at 1:30 p.m.
Provincial Court Duty Counsel will:
 Inform the Claimant of the next steps
they are required to take in the EPO
 Provide referrals to other resources if
the Claimant requires additional legal
Provincial Court Duty Counsel will provide
application packages for other types of
protection orders and refer the person to
LINC for assistance in filling them out.
Will provide referrals to other resources for
other legal services or non-legal alternatives.
The Claimant is required to take copies of
the EPO to the Downtown Police station or to
their local RCMP detachment.
The Police/RCMP are required to serve the
Respondent with a copy of the EPO.
A transcript of the oral evidence that the
Claimant gave when applying for the EPO
will be generated. A copy will be provided to
the Claimant, the Respondent and to the
Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench who
will consider it at the review hearing. This is
provided at no cost to the parties.
The review hearing is set in the Court of Queen’s bench within 9*
working days of the EPO being granted.
Parties can attend the Queen’s Bench review hearing on their own
or they can have counsel represent them at the review hearing.
The Claimant may request an EPOP team lawyer and the
Respondent may contact Legal Aid Alberta to have a duty counsel
lawyer appointed. Both parties receive this assistance free of
charge regardless of their income.
Both the Claimant and the Respondent must attend unless their
lawyer tells them their attendance is not required.
At the review hearing, a Justice of the Court of Queen’s
Bench will determine whether the EPO will continue and
how long it will continue.
If the EPO continues, the parties will receive a
Confirming Order stating that the EPO is confirmed and
how long it will remain in place.
Under PAFVA, the maximum amount of time an EPO can
remain in place is 1 year.
If either the Claimant or Respondent does not attend at
the Court of Queen’s Bench for the review date, the
Justice may make an order anyway.
Claimants seeking the assistance of an EPOP
team lawyer for their review hearing must
contact the EPOP Intake Line (780) 422-9222 as
soon as possible after their EPO has been
The EPOP intake coordinator will complete an
intake interview, compile the documents
required for the review hearing, and assign the
file to an EPOP team lawyer.
The EPOP lawyer assigned to the file will work with
the Claimant to take the appropriate legal steps to
complete the review process as quickly as possible.
If the Respondent files an Affidavit denying the
allegations, then the reviewing Justice will order the
matter be set for an oral hearing.
EPOP duty counsel steps out at that point, and the
Claimant will have to arrange for a lawyer to
conduct the hearing.
 The Claimant must apply for and qualify for Legal Aid, or
 The Claimant may choose to retain a lawyer privately.
If the Respondent does not obey the conditions of
EPO, the Claimant should call the police/RCMP.
The police will determine whether a breach has
occurred. If there has been a breach, the police
may lay a criminal charge against the Respondent.
The Claimant may also make a Court application to
bring the Respondent before a Justice of the Court
of Queen’s Bench to explain why
there should not be a finding of civil
contempt for breach of a Court Order.
EPOP does not provide free legal services to
Claimants if they want to change their EPO
after the EPO has been confirmed in the
Court of Queen’s Bench.
For any changes to a confirmed EPO,
Claimants must either make the application
on their own behalf, retain a lawyer privately,
or apply for Legal Aid.
If the Respondent is charged criminally with
a breach of an EPO then a Crown Prosecutor
will handle the case. EPOP lawyers do not
make applications in criminal court.
EPOs are for emergency situations.
EPOs may be revoked at the review
hearing, so it is important to have a
“Plan B” (practical and legal remedies).
EPOs cannot address property, custody,
access, parenting or other family issues
on a long term basis.
Never tell someone to “go get an EPO” – all they
can do is apply;
Never tell someone that they will get an EPO - it
is up to the Judge or JP to decide whether the
order will be granted.
If a Claimant requires assistance to obtain an EPO
in Provincial Court or assistance with a QB review
hearing, that person must contact EPOP directly.
Our lawyers can only take instructions directly
from the Claimant, unless the Claimant tells us
If you have any questions,
please contact EPOP at
(780) 422-9222!

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