S. Cost-of-Living Indexation

Author:Julien D. Payne - Marilyn A. Payne

Page 320

In granting orders for periodic spousal support on separation or divorce, courts may order the payments to be annually adjusted in accordance with a designated cost-of-living index.489The support order may be indexed under the broad "terms and conditions" language of section 17(3) of the Divorce Act, and a formula established by provincial legislation may be used as a guideline for cost of living indexation.490Indexation eliminates the need for repeated applications to the court to increase the amount of support because of the impact of inflation on the purchasing power of the original order. It does not prevent either spouse from applying to vary an order by reason of changes of circumstances that are unconnected with the cost of living. The impact of inflation on the purchasing power of the amount of support ordered may itself constitute a material change that warrants an application for an increased amount.491Evidence should be adduced of any increase in the cost of living.492A court may decline to take judicial notice of this matter.493In the absence of wording to the contrary, an indexation clause will function notwithstanding that the obligor’s income has increased at a lower rate than that set by the clause.494

[489] Meiklejohn v Meiklejohn, [2001] OJ No 3911 (CA); Martin v Martin, [2004] OJ No 5170 (Sup Ct). Compare Yemchuk v Yemchuk, [2005] BCJ No 1748 (CA), citing LS v EP, [1999] BCJ No 1451 (CA); RT v DD, [2008] BCJ No 1052 (SC); see also Kerman v Kerman, [2008] BCJ No 710 (SC) (review proceeding).

[490] Marquis v Marquis, [1988] OJ No 921 (HCJ), varied (1991), 32 RFL (3d) 171 (Ont CA); Gray v Gray, 2014 ONCA 659; see also Amsterdam v Amsterdam (1991), 31 RFL (3d) 153 at 161 (Ont Gen Div); Payne v Short (1995), 10 RFL (4th) 257 (Ont Gen Div).

[491] France v France (1987), 6 RFL (3d) 354 (Man CA); Brickman v Brickman (1987), 8 RFL (3d) 318 (Man QB); Jayatilaka v Roussel (1991), 36 RFL (3d) 447 (NBCA); BJB v MKB, 2014 NBQB 153 at para 190; Single v Single (1986), 5 RFL (3d) 287 at 292-293 (NS Fam Ct); Caufield v Caufield (1986), 4 RFL (3d) 312 at 314-315 (Ont HC); Winsor v Winsor (1992), 39 RFL (3d) 8 (Ont CA); Droit de la famille - 1138, [1988] RDF 29 (CS Qué), aff’d [1990] RDF 216 (CA Qué).

[492] Basque v Basque (1988), 89 NBR (2d) 214 (QB).

[493] Schmidt v Schmidt (1985), 37 Man R (2d) 245 at 246 (CA); compare Will v Thauberger Estate (1991), 34 RFL (3d) 432 (Sask QB), varied (1991), 38 RFL (3d) 68 (Sask CA); see...

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