NS Department of Justice Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Update

Practical ISO Proceedings Tips for Lawyers

Canadian Provincial and Territorial Trace and Locate Capabilities

NS Department of Justice Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Update

The ISO Act is the NS provincial legislation used to establish, vary and enforce child and spousal support orders when one party lives in Nova Scotia and the other party lives in a reciprocating jurisdiction inside or outside Canada. Click here for more detailed information about ISO matters. 

Effective February 12, 2018, new forms will be designated for outgoing ISO matters.  These forms were developed by a national ISO Forms Committee and are being proposed for adoption by other provinces and territories. Some provinces have already adopted them. To access the new forms and guides, click here. Guides to each form and fillable PDF versions of each form are available.

The new ISO forms either update or are in addition to the old ISO forms. Some key changes include:

  • Application and Variation Application Forms are now in separate Forms A1 and A2.
  • There is now an ISO-specific Affidavit which may be used to provide additional or clarifying evidence to support the application or response.
  • There is now an ability to designate an address for service on both the Application and Variation Application Forms. This can assist in ensuring safety and confidentiality.
  • The Application Forms also provide the applicant with the option of indicating interest in participating in a proceeding. Participation is not mandatory and the indication of interest in participation does not bind the court. The applicant may be given notice of the proceeding should the court direct it.
  • In general, there are clearer instructions on which forms are needed and how to complete them, including better directions on necessary attachments to include with the forms.
  • The Additional Locate Information Form may be completed to assist in locating a respondent in a reciprocating jurisdiction.

For practical tips on completing ISO Forms, click here.

Locating Respondents in NS

Trace and locate provisions in the NS ISO Act enable the NS Reciprocity Clerk to search for respondent addresses. The Reciprocity Clerk may make a written demand for contact information from some Nova Scotia public bodies to assist in locating a respondent in Nova Scotia. Information obtained through such a search will not be shared but the reciprocating jurisdiction will be advised whether the respondent is believed in Nova Scotia.  Locate requests are for ISO applications only and they cannot be used for parenting or Divorce Act applications.

Locating Respondents living outside Nova Scotia

The NS Reciprocity Clerk may be able make a formal request to certain jurisdictions to determine whether the respondent is believed to be residing in that location.  Not all Canadian jurisdictions have trace and locate provisions in legislation or, if they do, there may be certain prerequisites before a request will be considered. If you wish to have the NS Reciprocity Clerk initiate a request to locate a respondent on behalf of a NS ISO applicant, you should consider completing the Additional Locate Form

For a list of Canadian provincial and territorial Trace and Locate capabilities, click here

ISO Case Management and ADR Services

Since 2015, the NS Department of Justice, Court Services, has been offering ADR Services on ISO files.  A NS Court Officer provides both parties with a copy of the ISO application and an invitation to attorn to NS for the purposes of ADR only.  Most often, this happens concurrent to sending the application to court so that case processing time lines are not inflated.  Any request for information or amendments to existing documents are made as part of this process. Parties are always encouraged to get legal advice. Both parties must agree to participate in ADR process which is meant to assist with information sharing, clarifying positions and more fulsome disclosure. Where agreement is reached, the NS Court Officer will draft the order to be issued by a NS judge, without the parties necessarily having to attend in court.

In 2017, an external evaluator examined this initiative and found that these efforts:

  • improved access to justice for families by providing an alternative to traditional litigation
  • reduced case processing times
  • promoted problem solving
  • lead to earlier finalization of proceedings
  • lead to more responsive court orders 
  • resulted in improved communication between reciprocating jurisdictions
  • resulted in better collaboration and co-operation 

Although the data set was small and the pilot not fully mature, preliminary findings include:

  • a 46% reduction in the amount of time required for final orders to be obtained for outgoing files
  • of the 58 incoming files, 51 were deemed appropriate for ADR (88%).  In 18 of those cases (35%), both parties consented to ADR.  Of those, 11 reached full agreement (61%). Another reached partial agreement and two others had consent orders drafted.  Of the original 58 files, nearly one quarter (24%) were either diverted from the court process or had court involvement significantly reduced.
  • of the 56 outgoing files, 49 were deemed appropriate for ADR (88%). In 19 of those cases (39%), both parties consented to ADR. Of those, 5 reached full agreement (26%), and 6 were discontinued or had consent orders drafted.  Of the original 56 files, 20% were diverted from the court process.

Practical ISO Proceedings Tips for Lawyers

Tip # 1: Ensure that the application should be proceeding under ISO (e.g. that the matter is not a Divorce Act variation or that the other jurisdiction is an ISO reciprocating jurisdiction). Look for other clues which signal potential procedural or jurisdictional issues, such as 'Interim' or 'Provisional' Orders. Not all parties who are divorced have orders for corollary relief. If no corollary relief proceeding is outstanding in a divorce, then parties may have the option to apply for originating corollary relief under the Divorce Act or for relief under the ISO Act.

Tip #2: Inform yourself about the Forms and legal process followed in Quebec and non-Canadian reciprocating jurisdictions. For example, outgoing applications involving a Quebec or UK respondent will require a provisional hearing process. Quebec matters may require additional or alternate forms. Matters involving a respondent in the Pacific Ocean region, including Australia and New Zealand, require special forms.

Tip # 3: Sworn documents should be notarized to ensure their acceptability as evidence in the proceeding. Affix your notary seal.

Tip #4: Ensure that documents are legible if hand-written. Typed documents are always best.

Tip #5: Party signatures should be made in blue ink, with the party’s name clearly written or typed. Avoid delay - many jurisdictions will reject documents which do not meet this requirement.

Tip #6: Claim details are required. This includes details such as support amount, requested support (order) start date or requested variation start date.  Failure to complete these sections will usually result in delay and a request for the documents to be amended (you may wish to consider addressing DBS case issues in an ISO affidavit).

Tip #7:  Courts require some evidence of income amount to order child support. A request to impute income must be accompanied by information to support the income amount suggested and a completed Form D. Statistics Canada produces labour market information, including salaries and job market trend statistics, specific to occupation and location, which may be helpful. You may attach information printouts to Form D.

Tip #8:  Disclosure is critical to application success and timeliness, especially when dealing with another jurisdiction. Disclosure must cover the time frame addressed in the application and for a minimum of the 3 most recent tax years and year-to-date in the current year. If a document is not included, state why and provide the best alternate proof available.

Tip #9: Include 3 certified copies of the order(s) being varied with your application. Certified copies of the registered order are acceptable if the order has been registered in NS.

Tip #10:  Avoid possible requests for further information from the recipient court by anticipating the other party’s legal and factual arguments. Consider filing documents with your application which will address these issues. Use the new Affidavit form to provide factual information in addition to completing the necessary Forms.  

Tip # 11: Counsel may assist the parties in an ISO matter by providing information about the ADR process to augment the PLEI information the parties will receive, by explaining disclosure and filing requirements and by providing ongoing legal advice. It is helpful for the applicant to indicate their interest in participating in ADR in a covering letter accompanying their application as this will speed up the process, although both parties may be contacted in any event. The lawyer should also indicate what ongoing role they wish to play in the ISO or ISO-ADR process (e.g. to receive copies of letters, copies of draft orders, disclosure demands etc.).

Canadian Provincial and Territorial Trace and Locate Capabilities

Have Trace and Locate Provisions

Legislative Authority* *Subject to Change without notice

Provide Effective Date for the Information?

British Columbia

Family Law Act, Part 11, ss. 235-244



ISO Act, s. 2(a)



ISO Act sections 37.1 and 37.2 and The Family Maintenance Act, s. 55(2) – (3)

Yes, if available


The Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, 1996, s. 54 (1) – (11)



Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information (chapter A-2.1.) and the Act Respecting Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (chapter E-19)


Newfoundland and Labrador

ISO Act, s.38.1


Jurisdictions that do NOT have Trace and Locate provisions:

  • Alberta
  • New Brunswick
  • Northwest Territories
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Nunavut
  • Yukon
Last updated on March 24, 2020 - 12:29pm