Calgary Legal Guidance

Restraining or Protection Orders

The topics in this series provide only general information on legal issues within the province of Alberta. The purpose is to make you aware of your legal rights and responsibilities.
This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.

Restraining or Protection Orders

There are several different types of Orders that you can apply for to protect yourself from a family member who has caused you harm or who you fear may harm you in the future. If that person disobeys the protection order against them, they may be criminally charged. What type of protection order you should apply for depends on your particular situation. This topic will identify and discuss four types of protection orders: Emergency Protections Orders, Queen’s Bench Protection Orders, Ex-Parte Restraining Orders and Restraining Orders.

Emergency Protection Orders (‘EPO’)

An application for an Emergency Protection Order can be made without giving the abusive family member any advance notice. In order to qualify for an Emergency Protection Order you must be ‘family members’ under the Protection Against Family Violence Act. ‘Family members’ are: people who are or have been married to one another, people who are or have been adult interdependent partners of one another or people who are residing or have resided together in an intimate relationship. Family members are also people who have children together regardless of marital status or whether they have lived together at any time. It also includes people who are related by blood, marriage or adoption or by virtue of an adult interdependent partner relationship and people who reside together where one of the people has care and custody of the other pursuant to an order of the court.

In order to qualify for an Emergency Protection Order the Court needs to be satisfied that ‘family violence’ has occurred. Under the Protection Against Family Violence Act, sexual abuse, physical abuse, forcible confinement, stalking and intimidation are all considered to be ‘family violence.’

In order to obtain an Emergency Protection Order, you need to satisfy the Court that: 1) you and the abusive person are ‘family members’

2) ‘family violence’ has occurred against you and/or your children, 3) that the ‘family violence’ is likely to continue, and 4) that by reason of seriousness or urgency the EPO should be granted to provide immediate protection for you and your family.

During regular business hours, you can apply for an Emergency Protection Order by going to the Calgary Court Center. A duty counsel lawyer will assist you with your application in front of a Judge. On evenings and weekends, a police officer can call in and apply for an EPO on your behalf. If you are successful in your application, a police officer will serve the EPO on the abusive family member. Once served, if the abusive family member breaches the order they may be fined and/or serve jail time.

The Order will place conditions and boundaries on your abusive family member to protect your safety.  These conditions may require them to move out of your home, stay away from your home, and may also prevent them from coming near your place of employment or the children’s school or daycare. The abusive family member will not be able to come within a certain distance of you and/or your children, no matter where you are in the province of Alberta. The Emergency Protection Order will also prevent the abusive family member from contacting you via phone, text, email etc.

If you obtain an EPO, the Court of Queen’s Bench must review it within 9 working days. The date and time of the review is stated on the EPO.  After receiving your instructions, a duty counsel lawyer will represent you for the review. You can ask for your Emergency Protection Order to be continued for up to one year.

There are a number of additional terms that can be added to the Order two of which are: a provision requiring the abusive family member to reimburse you for monetary losses suffered as a result of the violence including loss of earnings, medical expenses, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained and moving earnings and a provision requiring the abusive family member to attend counseling. 

Queen’s Bench Protection Order (‘QBPO’)

Emergency Protection Orders and Queen’s Bench Protection Orders are very similar Orders. Like EPO’s, in order to qualify for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order you must be ‘family members,’ ‘family violence’ must have occurred and there must be a reasonable likelihood that the violence will continue. Both orders provide the same protection for the same period of time. The only difference between the two Orders is the procedure for applying.


When would you apply for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order instead of an Emergency Protection Order? When the matter is not as serious or as urgent. Instead of applying ‘ex parte’ (which means without giving the other party notice), with a Queen’s Bench Protection Order you give the abusive family member notice that you will be applying. Applications for Queen’s Bench Protection Orders are far less common than applications for Emergency Protection Orders. An example of a situation in which you would apply for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order would be when violence or a threat of violence occurred but weeks or even a month has passed since the violence or threat took place. 

Ex Parte Restraining Orders and Restraining Order

The difference between Ex Parte Restraining Orders and Restraining Orders is with Ex Parte Restraining Orders you don’t give notice to the other party and with Restraining Orders you do give notice to the other party. Any type of Order granted without giving notice to the other party is an exception to the rule. The only time you would apply for an Ex Parte Restraining Order would be if your matter was serious and urgent and giving notice to the other party would potentially put your safety in danger.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions about Emergency Protection Orders, Queen’s Bench Protection Orders, Ex Parte Restraining Orders or Restraining Orders, how to apply for these Orders or which Order to apply for, call our Domestic Violence Family Law Team.

Free Legal Info is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.

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