You can apply for a QBPO if you are experiencing family violence by a family member and are not eligible for an EPO.
A Queen’s Bench Protection Order (QBPO) is a court order that helps protect Albertans from family members committing family violence. They are described in Alberta’s Protection Against Family Violence Act. A QBPO can order the person causing harm to stay away from you, stop contacting you, move out of the family home, allow you to use certain property, and more.
QBPO vs. EPO
The key difference between a QBPO and EPO is that an EPO is for urgent, serious situations. You may be eligible for a QBPO even if you are not eligible for an EPO.
There are a few more differences:
- You cannot apply for a QBPO without the family member’s knowledge, but you can for an EPO. When you apply for a QBPO, you must give a copy of the application to the family member you are asking for the order against.
- A hearing for a QBPO is in the Court of Queen’s Bench. You cannot apply by telephone or in Provincial Court.
- A QBPO can include more terms than an EPO. For example, a QBPO can say the family member must pay you expenses incurred because of the violence.
- A QBPO can stay in effect for up to one year and can be renewed. An EPO is reviewed after 9 working days and stays in place until it expires.
- Sometimes at the review hearing for an EPO, the court will cancel the EPO and grant a QBPO instead.
How to Apply for a QBPO
1. Fill out two court forms
- Originating Application – Protection Against Family Violence Act (Form 7)
- Queen’s Bench Protection Order Questionnaire (Form FL-13)
Find these forms on the Alberta Courts website. You must swear the Questionnaire before a Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public (most court clerks perform these services).
2. File the completed documents at the courthouse
Take three copies – one for the court, one for you and one for the respondent. The court will help you choose a court date.
3. Serve the filed documents on the respondent
You must make sure the respondent receives the documents at least 10 days before the scheduled court date. You can have someone else (such as a family member, friend or process server) serve the documents so that you do not have to see or talk to the respondent. Read the Going to Court page to learn more about serving court documents.
4. Complete and file an Affidavit of Service at the courthouse
This sworn document proves the respondent received the application documents.
5. Attend court on the scheduled date
If you need legal advice on the day of your hearing, you may be able to talk to duty counsel. Duty counsel are volunteers lawyers or Legal Aid lawyers that provide free legal advice on the day of your court appearance.
6. Tell the judge your story
Remember, the respondent can also share their story and challenge your version of events. Do not interrupt, make faces or roll your eyes. Stay calm. You may have a chance to talk to the judge again to challenge the evidence you disagree with. You can bring a trusted friend or family member with you to court for support.
7. The judge decides whether to grant the order
If the judge does grant the order, file the order at the courthouse. The order is not enforceable until the respondent receives a copy of it. Usually, a peace officer serves the order on the respondent.
8. File an Affidavit of Service to prove the respondent received a copy of the order
Whoever served the documents will swear the Affidavit of Service but you will likely have to file it at the courthouse.
9. Give copies of the documents to the police
Give copies of the filed QBPO and the filed Affidavit of Service (for service of the order) to local police or RCMP (if they do not already have them).
Family members and family violence are specifically defined for the purposes of an EPO.
The Protection Against Family Violence Act says the following are family members for the purpose of an EPO:
- someone you are or were married to
- someone you are or were in an adult interdependent relationship with
- someone you live with or have lived with in an intimate relationship
- a parent of your child, regardless of whether you have lived with that person
- someone you are related to by blood, marriage, adoption or an adult interdependent relationship (including adult children and in-laws)
- a child in your care and custody
- someone you live with who has care and custody over you
You cannot get an EPO against someone you are dating UNLESS you live together in an intimate relationship or you have children together. You also cannot get an EPO against someone you live with but are not intimate with (such as a roommate). You can still report violence to the police or get other orders to keep these people away.
The Act says that family violence includes:
- actions that injure someone or damage property AND that intimidate or harm a family member
- any act or threat of an act that intimidates a family member by creating a reasonable fear of property damage or injury to a family member
- forced confinement (such as being locked in a room with no way out)
- sexual abuse
- stalking (including repeated, harassing contact)
Family violence does not include a parent correcting a child by using force if the force is reasonable in the situation.
Contents of a QBPO
A justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench decides whether to grant a QBPO and what it should say, all based on the situation.
A QBPO can require the family member causing harm to:
- stop entering or going near your home, workplace, children’s school or any other places you regularly go
- stop contacting and communicating with you and other people named in the order, both directly and indirectly
- pay for any money lost because of the family violence, such as loss of income or support, medical or dental expenses, moving costs or legal fees
It can also:
- give you exclusive possession of your family home, even if your name is not on the lease or title
- give you temporary possession of personal property, such as a vehicle, bank cards, children’s clothing, medical insurance cards, ID, and keys
- allow your child to receive counselling without the family member’s consent
- not allow you or the family member causing harm to take, convert, damage or otherwise deal with property that the other has an interest in
- give police authority to remove the family member causing harm from your family home
- allow police to seize and store weapons used or threatened to be used to commit family violence
- require the family member to post bond to make sure they follow the order or receive counselling
Frequently Asked Questions
What if the family member cannot be found?
There are steps you can take if you cannot find the family member to serve them with court documents. For more information, read the Going to Court page.
How long is the QBPO good for?
The judge can grant a QBPO for up to one year. The court can renew it for further year-long terms. You should apply to renew your QBPO before it expires.
What happens if the family member does not follow the QBPO?
Call the police. Always keep a copy of your QBPO with you so you can show it to the police when necessary.
The police will decide whether to arrest and charge the family member with breaching the order. If the family member is charged, they will appear in court and be prosecuted by a Crown prosecutor. If the family member pleads guilty or is convicted of breaching the EPO, they will be fined or receive a jail term. Anyone convicted of more than one breach automatically receives a jail term.