What is a Restraining Order in Alberta?
Restraining orders are granted by a justice at the Court of King’s Bench and can be made with or without notice to the other side. If the court grants a restraining order without notice to the other party, they will schedule a review of the restraining order. At the review hearing, both parties will attend and be provided the opportunity to tell the court their side of the story.
Restraining orders are not limited to only family members, which is the one of the biggest differences between restraining orders and other protection orders. For a restraining order, the person causing you harm could include a roommate, co-worker, neighbour, or someone you are dating.
You can only make an application on a without notice (or “ex-parte”) basis if it is an emergency. If it is not an emergency or is non-urgent, you are required to give notice to the other party. This means that you must serve the other party with a copy of your application for a restraining order, and that application must be served on them with at least 10 days’ notice before the scheduled court date.
To apply for a restraining order, you must establish:
- That you are afraid of the other persons actions. This could include situations where they have caused you personal injury, property damage, or tried to intimidate you through stalking or harassment. Harassment could include sending excessive amounts of text messages or messages through social media after you have already asked them to stop. It could also include behaviour that has threatened your reputation or privacy.
- That you are afraid for your safety. However, the person’s behaviour does not need to be considered criminal behaviour. Instead, you need to show the court you have a reasonable and legitimate fear for your safety or for the safety of your children.
Restraining orders are typically granted for one year but can be granted on a longer or even permanent basis if the court finds that is necessary in the circumstances.