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The Alberta Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines

November 15, 2021

Alberta

,

Canada

Issue

In what circumstances will the court order termination of spousal support upon the retirement of the payor when the marriage lasted over 20 years?

Conclusion

The without child support formula for spousal support provides for indefinite support (duration not specified) when the marriage has been 20 years or longer in length (s. 7.5). (Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines)

In using the term "indefinite" we simply adopted a word that had been used for years in spousal support law to mean "an order for support without a time limit at the time it is made". Under the Advisory Guidelines an order for indefinite support does not necessarily mean permanent support, and it certainly does not mean that support will continue indefinitely at the level set by the formula. Under the current law, orders for indefinite support are open to variation as the parties’ circumstances change over time and may also have review conditions attached to them. The Advisory Guidelines do nothing to change this: "indefinite" support means support that is subject to the normal process of variation and review. In practice, most orders for indefinite support after long marriages will be significantly modified, if not eliminated, after the retirement of the payor and the receipt of pension income by the payor and the recipient. "Indefinite" often means "until the payor reaches 65". (Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines)

The Alberta Court of Appeal has consistently emphasized that the Guidelines, while not a mandatory consideration, can be a useful tool to determine the amount and duration of spousal support. (Dowhaniuk v Dowhaniuk)

After a long and traditional marriage, the ability of a stay‑at‑home parent to retrain or reintegrate into the workforce in order to become self‑sufficient may be irreparably damaged. In such cases, an indefinite, long‑term support order would generally issue. (Riad v. Riad)

In Dowhaniuk v Dowhaniuk, the parties were married for 24 years. The recipient spouse was 49 years old, and the payor spouse was 51 years old. The payor spouse submitted that spousal support should be time limited to allow the recipient spouse to achieve self-sufficiency. The Court held that a time limited spousal support order in the circumstances would be contrary to the SSAG. This was a case in which the presumption of indefinite support should apply. At the time, the recipient spouse required support and the payor spouse was able to provide support. That may change. The payor spouse had had some medical issues affecting his employment. He had also been laid off for periods of time from oilfield service work, and had had to accept positions in other industries at reduced pay. The Court held that these future possibilities affecting the recipient spouse's need for support or the payor spouse’s ability to provide support were not predictable with a sufficient degree of certainty from the evidence at trial. The evidence did not permit the Court to evaluate the consequences of a time limited support order. Further, no appropriate period for review flowed from the evidence. Thus the preferable approach was an indefinite order, which like all support orders could be varied should there be a material change in circumstances.

In Heimsoth v. Heimsoth, the trial judge decided to reduce and ultimately terminate spousal support 18 years after the parties’ 24-year marriage came to an end. The recipient appealed, arguing on the basis of the SSAG that spousal support should be for an indefinite duration in marriages lasting longer than 20 years. The Court of Appeal imputed income to the recipient and reinstated the indefinite duration of the award, subject to review when the payor reached 65 or retired, or if there was a change of circumstances.

In Warren v. Warren, affirmed on appeal 2009 ABCA 370, the parties were married for 28 years. During the marriage, the husband discouraged the wife from working. After five years of paying spousal support, the husband applied to vary support. The parties entered into minutes of settlement in 2004, settling and dividing their matrimonial property. The husband was ordered to pay $2,000 per month in spousal support. The husband applied to vary spousal support. The chambers judge ordered that husband continue to pay $2,118 per month for 4 years, $1,068 per month for another two years, and $534 per month for the last two years. Given 28-year marriage, it was reasonable for the wife to have expected spousal support for at least 12 years, and the wife would have eight years to make efforts to replace the income. The chambers judge noted that after eight years, the husband would be about 62 or 63 and would probably be retiring by then.

In Salt v Salt, the parties were married for 25 years, they had two children, and the marriage had ended twenty years previously. At the age of 71, the husband decided to retire. The wife was 67 years old and had not worked outside the home since the parties divorced. The husband applied for an order terminating his obligation to pay spousal support. At the time of the application, the husband was making $64,562 per year, and the wife's income was $30,000 per year. The Court found that the husband met his onus to demonstrate a material change in circumstances occasioned by a reduction of his income on retirement. It was reasonable for the husband to retire at 70 years of age, and he had not bowed out of the workforce to avoid his spousal support obligation. The husband's post retirement income was substantially less than what he was earning when the order was made. The parties' divorce agreement contemplated that retirement might represent a material change justifying variation to the husband's spousal support and life insurance obligations. The Court held that the wife was now at a stage in her life when income from other sources was available to her, and it was reasonable to expect that she would begin to use her assets to achieve greater economic self-sufficiency. The wife no longer had an entitlement to spousal support on compensatory grounds, but she had some ongoing need for support and the husband had the ability to pay notwithstanding the reduction in his income. The Court ordered the husband to pay spousal support of $1,400 per month, at high end of the range of the SSAG, until the wife was 71 years old and then his spousal support obligation would terminate.

Law

Section 7.5 of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, 2017-08-04, Department of Justice ("SSAG") calculates duration of spousal support under the without child support formula as follows:

7.5 The Formula for Duration

As with amount, duration under the without child support formula increases with the length of marriage. Subject to the provisions for indefinite support (duration not specified), the formula generates ranges for duration with the ends of the ranges determined as follows:

a minimum duration of half the length of the marriage and

a maximum duration of the length of the marriage.

It is important to remember, as discussed in Chapter 5 on application, that any periods of interim support are to be included in the durational ranges.

The ranges for duration under the without child support formula are admittedly very broad, allowing for an award at the top end of the range that is effectively double in value that at the bottom end. This will be particularly significant in medium-length marriages. Given the uncertainties in the current law on duration, it was not possible to come up with tighter ranges.

The formula also provides for indefinite support (duration not specified) in two circumstances:

when the marriage has been 20 years or longer in length; or

when the marriage has lasted five years or longer, if the years of marriage plus the age of the support recipient at the time of separation equals or exceeds 65 and (the rule of 65).

The "rule of 65" recognizes that length of marriage cannot be the only factor in determining the duration of spousal support in marriages without dependent children. Age is also a significant factor as it affects the ability to become self-supporting.

7.5.1 The Tendency to Ignore Duration

Our monitoring of the use of the Advisory Guidelines since the release of the Draft Proposal has shown that in practice the durational aspect of the without child support formula is often ignored. The formula is used to determine the amount of spousal support, but not duration. In some cases awards are for shorter periods of time than the formula suggests. In other cases the durational limits are ignored in favour of indefinite orders.

To ignore duration is to misapply the without child support formula. Amount and duration are interrelated parts of the formula — they are a package deal. Using one part of the formula without the other undermines its integrity and coherence. If the durational limits were to be systematically increased, for example, by lowering the threshold for indefinite support, the formula would have to be redesigned and the amounts decreased. Within the scheme of the Advisory Guidelines itself, adjustment of duration beyond the formula requires restructuring and will involve a corresponding adjustment of amount.

In what follows we discuss in more detail four aspects of the formula for duration under the without child support formula: indefinite support, the "rule of 65", time limits in short marriages, and time limits in medium-length marriages. The real problem of duration under this formula has proven to be this last aspect, the use of time limits in marriages that are neither long nor short.

7.5.2 The meaning of "indefinite" support

In using the term "indefinite" we simply adopted a word that had been used for years in spousal support law to mean "an order for support without a time limit at the time it is made". Under the Advisory Guidelines an order for indefinite support does not necessarily mean permanent support, and it certainly does not mean that support will continue indefinitely at the level set by the formula.

Under the current law, orders for indefinite support are open to variation as the parties’ circumstances change over time and may also have review conditions attached to them. The Advisory Guidelines do nothing to change this: "indefinite" support means support that is subject to the normal process of variation and review.

Through the process of review and variation the amount of spousal support may be reduced, for example if the recipient’s income increases or if the recipient fails to make reasonable efforts to earn income and income is imputed. Support may even be terminated if the basis for entitlement disappears. It is true that current law supports the idea that after long marriages spousal support will often be permanent, even if the amount is subject to reduction to reflect the recipient’s obligation to pursue self-sufficiency.

In practice, however, most orders for indefinite support after long marriages will be significantly modified, if not eliminated, after the retirement of the payor and the receipt of pension income by the payor and the recipient. "Indefinite" often means "until the payor reaches 65". Variation and review in the context of the Advisory Guidelines are discussed in more detail in Chapter 14.

After the release of the Draft Proposal we were very surprised to learn from our feedback sessions that the term "indefinite" in the Advisory Guidelines was being misinterpreted by many as meaning "infinite" or "permanent."

We realized that we would have to develop a new term to express the concept that indefinite orders are not necessarily permanent, that they are subject to review and variation and, through that process, even to time limits and termination. Our solution has been to add "duration not specified" as a parenthetical explanation whenever the term "indefinite" is used in the formulas, i.e. indefinite (duration not specified).

Section 7.6.3 of the SSAG provides some long-marriage examples:

In cases of long marriages (20 years or longer) the formula generates generous levels of spousal support for indefinite periods, reflecting the fairly full merger of the spouses’ lives. The long marriages covered by the without child support formula fall into two categories: those where there have been children who are no longer dependent and those where the couple did not have children.

Example 7.1 provides an example of the formula’s application to a long marriage with children where the wife was a secondary earner. Example 7.5, presented below, involves the familiar scenario of a very long traditional marriage.

Example 7.5

John and Mary were married for 28 years. Theirs was a traditional marriage in which John worked his way up the career ladder and now earns $100,000 gross per year, while Mary stayed home and raised their two children, both of whom are now grown up and on their own. Mary is 50 years of age and has no income. John is 55.

Entitlement to spousal support is clear on these facts and thus the Advisory Guidelines are applicable. Because the length of the marriage is over 25 years, the maximum range for amount applies — 37.5 to 50 percent of the gross income difference (capped at equalization of net incomes).

The range for amount on an income difference of $100,000 after a 28 year marriage would be:

37.5 percent X $100,000 = $37,500/year ($3,125/month)
to
50 percent X $100,000 = $50,000/year ($4,167/month, capped at $4048[76] )

Duration is indefinite (duration not specified) because the marriage is 20 years or over in length.

The formula results in a range for support of $3,125 to $4,048 per month for an indefinite (unspecified) duration, subject to variation and possibly review.

An award of $3,125 per month, at the low end of the range, would leave Mary with a gross income of $37,500 per year and John with one of $62,500. An award of $4,048 per month, at the high end of the range, would wb-eqht the net incomes of the parties.

As will be discussed further in Chapter 14, the order is open to variation over time in response to changes in the parties’ circumstances, including increases in Mary’s income or the imputation of income to her if she fails to make reasonable efforts to contribute to her own support. John’s retirement would also likely be grounds for variation.

In Riad v. Riad, 2002 ABCA 254 (CanLII), the Court of Appeal made the following comments about the duration of spousal support where the parties have been married for over 20 years:

[43] After a long and traditional marriage, the ability of a stay‑at‑home parent to retrain or reintegrate into the workforce in order to become self‑sufficient may be irreparably damaged. In such cases, an indefinite, long‑term support order would generally issue: Moge, supra, at 861; Linton, supra, at 27, 31; Jackson v. Jackson (1989), 1989 ABCA 6 (CanLII), 64 Alta. L.R. (2d) 298 (C.A.) at 299; Sitwell v. Sitwell (1998), 1998 CanLII 5898 (BC CA), 50 B.C.L.R. (3d) 205 (C.A.) at 210; Fox v. Fox (1994), 1994 CanLII 17511 (NB CA), 153 N.B.R. (2d) 1 (N.B.C.A.) at 11; Horvath v. Horvath (1996), 1996 CanLII 18137 (MB QB), 109 Man. R. (2d) 20 (Q.B.) at 24‑5; Fontaine v. Fontaine (1995), 1995 CanLII 7344 (ON SC), 14 R.F.L. (4th) 16 (Ont. Gen.Div.) at 21‑2.

[44] The extent of the appellant’s earning capacity upon completion of the teacher’s aide program is unclear. We can anticipate that it will exceed her prior earning capacity, but that it will never approach that of the respondent. Considering also the length of the marriage, and her ongoing economic disadvantage, it is inappropriate to impose a termination date for spousal support. It is of course open to the respondent to bring an application to vary this order, on grounds of material change in circumstances, once the appellant graduates from her training program and/or is gainfully employed. The appellant is to annually provide a copy of her income tax return to the respondent. She must also advise the respondent of the successful completion of her academic program, if such occurs.

In Dowhaniuk v Dowhaniuk, 2014 ABQB 217 (CanLII), the parties were married for 24 years. The recipient spouse was 49 years old, and the payor spouse was 51 years old. The payor spouse submitted that spousal support should be time limited to allow the recipient spouse to achieve self-sufficiency. The Court held that a time limited spousal support order in the circumstances would be contrary to the SSAG. This was a case in which the presumption of indefinite support should apply. At the time, the recipient spouse required support and the payor spouse was able to provide support. That may change. The payor spouse had had some medical issues affecting his employment. He had also been laid off for periods of time from oilfield service work, and had had to accept positions in other industries at reduced pay. The Court held that these future possibilities affecting the recipient spouse's need for support or the payor spouse’s ability to provide support were not predictable with a sufficient degree of certainty from the evidence at trial. The evidence did not permit the Court to evaluate the consequences of a time limited support order. Further, no appropriate period for review flowed from the evidence. Thus the preferable approach was an indefinite order, which like all support orders could be varied should there be a material change in circumstances:

[59] A review of the case law indicates that the Alberta Court of Appeal has consistently emphasized that the Guidelines, while not a mandatory consideration, can be a useful tool to determine the amount and duration of spousal support. Provided a trial judge has considered the factors and objectives required by the Divorce Act, the Court of Appeal has deferred to the trial judge’s decision regarding whether or not to apply the Guidelines.

[60] This line of authority starts with Lust v Lust, 2007 ABCA 202, 417 AR 106. The Court of Appeal articulates the argument as to why the trial judge made no error by not applying the SSAG, at para 10:

10 Although child support guidelines have the force of law and are mandatory, spousal support guidelines are not. At the same time they are instructive as to one route to proper exercise of discretion in arriving at an award. They do not fully fetter a trial judge’s discretion.

[61] In Sawatzky v Sawatzky, 2008 ABCA 355, 440 AR 267, the Court of Appeal emphasized that, while not binding, the Guidelines are a “useful tool”. The Court stated at paras 16-17:

16 As this Court has already noted in Lust v Lust, 2007 ABCA 202, the Advisory Spousal Support Guidelines are not mandatory and do not have the force of law. They are a useful tool. While they are instructive as to one route to proper exercise of discretion in arriving at an award, they do not and should not fully fetter a trial judge’s discretion.

17 While we recognize that the Guidelines were not intended to impose a radically new approach and were instead intended to suggest a range of both amounts and duration of spousal supports that reflects the current law, they cannot be used as a formula or a software tool. We agree with the New Brunswick Court of Appeal that they are best used as a useful “cross‑check” or “starting point” for spousal support that “will help in the long run to bring consistency and predictability to spousal support awards”, encourage settlement and allow parties to “anticipate their support responsibilities at the time of separation”: S.C. v. J.C. (2006) 2006 NBCA 46 (CanLII), N.B.J No. 186, at para 5, leave to appeal to SCC refused [2006] SCCA No. 246. However, they do not and cannot take the place of analysis of the relevant provisions of the Divorce Act. [Emphasis added.]

[...]

[68] The Defendant’s submission regarding duration is not supported by the Guidelines. The Guidelines “without child support” formula provides for indefinite support where the length of the marriage and cohabitation has been 20 years or longer (ss 7.3 and 7.5). The period of cohabitation and marriage extended from 1984 to 2008, a total of 24 years. This was a long term marriage, which under the Guidelines means there should be indefinite support. This does not mean “permanent” or “infinite” support. Under an indefinite support order, “the amount of support will inevitably change over time through the process of variation or review” (s 13.8).

[...]

[74] I conclude that this is a case in which the presumption of indefinite support should apply. This does not mean that support will be payable forever, there may well be a need for review or variation in the future. At this time, the Plaintiff requires support; that may change if she is successful in finding better paying employment following a move or if she is able to produce income with her share of matrimonial property. At this time, the Defendant is able to provide support; that too may change. The Defendant has had some medical issues affecting his employment: in 2011 he underwent knee replacement surgery and was off work for a period of time. He has also been laid off for periods of time from oilfield service work, and had to accept positions in other industries at reduced pay.

[75] These future possibilities affecting the Plaintiff’s need for support or the Defendant’s ability to provide support are not predictable with a sufficient degree of certainty from the evidence at trial. The evidence does not permit me to evaluate the consequences of a time limited support order. Further, no appropriate period for review flows from the evidence. Thus the preferable approach is an indefinite order, which like all support orders may be varied should there be a material change in circumstances.

In Heimsoth v. Heimsoth, 2009 ABCA 129 (CanLII), the trial judge decided to reduce and ultimately terminate spousal support 18 years after the parties’ 24-year marriage came to an end. The recipient appealed, arguing on the basis of the SSAG that spousal support should be for an indefinite duration in marriages lasting longer than 20 years. The Court of Appeal imputed income to the recipient and reinstated the indefinite duration of the award, subject to review when the payor reached 65 or retired, or if there was a change of circumstances:

[31] We accept, as we must, the trial judge’s findings: that there is no medical or mental health reason preventing the appellant from returning to work; that the appellant had been underemployed for a period of five years prior to the hearing; and that she should now be capable of returning to work. Although we accept the trial judge’s finding that the appellant is now capable of returning to work, nothing suggests that she is capable of achieving self-sufficiency, that she can support herself at a level in keeping with the standard of living she enjoyed during the marriage. We propose to resolve this matter by attributing income of $24,000 to the appellant. We attribute to the respondent, an annual income of $140,000, being an average of income earned by him in the five years preceding the trial. In 2002, Foster J. concluded that $4000 per month was an appropriate amount of spousal support. Essentially, the appellant’s needs remain unchanged with a budget of $3424. We order that the respondent pay spousal support to the appellant in the sum of $2000 per month, commencing on April 1, 2009. This order may be reviewed at the instance of either party when the respondent retires, or reaches the age of 65 and at any other time, in the event of a change of circumstances as defined by the Divorce Act.

In Warren v. Warren, 2009 CarswellAlta 1824 (ABQB), affirmed on appeal 2009 ABCA 370, the parties were married for 28 years. During the marriage, the husband discouraged the wife from working. After five years of paying spousal support, the husband applied to vary support. The parties entered into minutes of settlement in 2004, settling and dividing their matrimonial property. The husband was ordered to pay $2,000 per month in spousal support. The husband applied to vary spousal support. The chambers judge ordered that husband continue to pay $2,118 per month for 4 years, $1,068 per month for another two years, and $534 per month for the last two years. Given 28-year marriage, it was reasonable for the wife to have expected spousal support for at least 12 years, and the wife would have eight years to make efforts to replace the income. The chambers judge noted that after eight years, the husband would be about 62 or 63 and would probably be retiring by then:

3 The spousal support started at 2,000 a month, which started on November 1st, 2004, and was to continue until it was varied or terminated. It had an indexing built into it under the Family Law Act, and as a result it has climbed to the point today, and, Ms. Warren can correct me, she is getting now about $2,300 a month, is she not, or am I wrong on that?

MS. WARREN: No, sir. 2,118.

THE COURT: 2,118.

MS. WARREN: Yes. 2,118 right now.

THE COURT: Okay. The difficulty that Mr. Warren has is that the parties were in a long-term relationship that went on for 28 years, and Ms. Warren's evidence today was that she was discouraged to work by her husband. As a result of that, a lengthy period of spousal support is appropriate in my view.

4 In the last couple of years we have had non-binding spousal support guidelines that attempted to reconcile all of the court cases across Canada on the type of spousal awards that judges were handing out, and they concluded that where people do not have children — and the Warrens are in that category now — spousal support for the length of their marriage and given that Ms. Warren does not earn a living, any money, could have been a low of $2,800 to a high of $3,600. As a result, Mr. Warren at 2,118 is not paying what the guidelines would have suggested.

5 It is difficult for me to determine whether the learned courts in Ontario actually just ratified minutes of settlement or actually made an adjudication as to what would be an appropriate award of spousal support. In my view, with this 28-year marriage, it is reasonable for Ms. Warren to have expected spousal support for at least 12 years, and I am going to deal with that on that basis.

6 Four years have gone by, I direct that for the next four years, Mr. Warren pay the amount of $2,118 a month. I am ending the indexing. So Ms. Warren will slowly but surely have her amount reduced by the cost of living because her amount will not go up. At the end of 48 months from today's date, her spousal support will be chopped in half, and she will get $1,068 per month for another two years; and for the last two years of the spousal support, she, will get $534 a month. This is to ensure that Ms. Warren knows where she stands, knows the length of the spousal support, knows that she has got to start getting replacement income, plus still gives her some lengthy time into the future to handle spousal support.

[...]

THE COURT: You told me on the witness stand five years should take you to get a job; I am giving you the benefit of the doubt, and we will make it eight years. Okay?

[...]

THE COURT: Yes, but just before I do that, I want to finish off a few odds and sods here. You are going to get a copy of the order. It is going to be mailed to you by ordinary mail, and it is going to come through the lawyer's office and she is also going to send you a copy back to your ex-husband. Eight more years makes your ex-husband, I think, about 62 or 63 —

MS. WARREN: When he wants to —

THE COURT: So it is fair that he be relieved at that point of ongoing spousal support because he has to worry — he would probably be retired by then. Now, please note that other changing circumstances may be such that if, for example, your husband could not work or something, that he may have to come back and apply for further relief. But this is the order that I make at this time.

In Salt v Salt, 2019 ABQB 595 (CanLII), the parties were married for 25 years, they had two children, and the marriage had ended twenty years previously. At the age of 71, the husband decided to retire. The wife was 67 years old and had not worked outside the home since the parties divorced. The husband applied for an order terminating his obligation to pay spousal support. At the time of the application, the husband was making $64,562 per year, and the wife's income was $30,000 per year. The Court found that the husband met his onus to demonstrate a material change in circumstances occasioned by a reduction of his income on retirement. It was reasonable for the husband to retire at 70 years of age, and he had not bowed out of the workforce to avoid his spousal support obligation. The husband's post retirement income was substantially less than what he was earning when the order was made. The parties' divorce agreement contemplated that retirement might represent a material change justifying variation to the husband's spousal support and life insurance obligations. The Court held that the wife was now at a stage in her life when income from other sources was available to her, and it was reasonable to expect that she would begin to use her assets to achieve greater economic self-sufficiency. The wife no longer had an entitlement to spousal support on compensatory grounds, but she had some ongoing need for support and the husband had the ability to pay notwithstanding the reduction in his income. The Court ordered the husband to pay spousal support of $1,400 per month, at high end of the range of the SSAG, until the wife was 71 years old and then his spousal support obligation would terminate:

[65] A summary of the law explaining what a material change is was recently set out in B(WH) v B(JL), 2019 ABQB 323, as follows:

[21] In LMP v LS, 2011 SCC 64 at para 30, the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada instructed judges tasked with a variation application to approach the matter in the manner first established in Willick v Willick, 1994 CanLII 28 (SCC), [1994] 3 SCR 670 and G(L) v B(G), 1995 CanLII 65 (SCC), [1995] 3 SCR 370. This approach directs [the court] to consider the Original Order as having been correctly made, and to ask first whether the party seeking a variation had demonstrated that since the making of the Original Order, there has been a material change in circumstances such that if the change had been known at the time of making the Original Order, the Original Order likely would have contained different terms: LMP at paras 47-48. If the applicant has established a material change, the court must then determine what variation is necessary viewed through the lens of the objectives of spousal support listed in s. l7(7) of the Divorce Act.

[22] The Supreme Court of Canada further indicated in LMP at para 35, that a material change must generally have some degree of continuity and must not be a temporary set of circumstances: LMP at para 35. Further, when determining whether there has been a material change in circumstances, the court must examine the circumstances of the parties at the time of the Original Order. Significantly, in Willick at para 20, Sopinka J., speaking for the majority stated as follows:

In deciding whether the conditions for variation exist, it is common ground that the change must be a material change of circumstances. This means a change, such that, if known at the time, would likely have resulted in different terms. The corollary to this is that if the matter which is relied on as constituting a change was known at the relevant time, it cannot be relied on as the basis for variation.

....

[66] In summary, the applicant on a variation application has the burden to prove that there has been a "material" change in circumstances, in the sense that had those circumstances been known at the time of the original order, the original order would have resulted in a different direction as to spousal support. The material circumstances must not be simply temporary.

[67] In this case, the Salts’ original Divorce Judgment and Corollary Relief Order arose out of their Divorce and Property Contract. Both inform my determination that Mr. Salt has met his onus to demonstrate a material change in circumstances occasioned by the reduction of his income on retirement.

[68] First, I find that it is reasonable for Mr. Salt to retire at 70 years of age, after almost 48 years of employment. He has not bowed out of the work force to try to avoid his spousal support obligations. I note that he was badly injured in a gasoline explosion in 1958 that put him in hospital for nearly a year. He described how he learned to use the left side of his body as a crutch because the tendons in his right knee were burned. As he has aged, his physical abilities have, not surprisingly, diminished. He has a hypoglycemia condition, suffers some headaches, high blood pressure and heart issues. I accept that he is no longer able to work, even if he wished to do so.

[69] Second, I find that Mr. Salt’s post retirement income is substantially less than what he was earning

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