OTTAWA, May 19 ( – Statistics Canada released information on divorces in Canada yesterday noting that the number of divorces granted in Canada decreased for the third straight year in 1997. A total of 67,408 couples divorced in 1997, down 5.8% from the previous year and down 14.5% from the most recent high of 78,880 in 1994.

StatsCan has long been criticized for making the divorce situation look worse than it really is so as to break down people’s inhibitions about ending their marriages. If one looks at the total number of marriages in existence in 1996 and compares that figure to the number of divorces that took place that year, one would see that only 1.24% of existing marriages will break up in any single year. That statistic is not provided in the Stats Canada report which notes a national divorce rate of 34.8% based on a hypothetical calculation of current divorce trends continuing into the future.

The study also notes that in 1997, there were 39,204 divorce cases involving a custody order for dependent children. Custody was granted to the wife in 61.2% of these cases. Joint custody to both husband and wife was granted in 27.6% of the cases and custody was given to the husband in 11.0% of the cases.