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CHILD PROTECTION - Protective agencies and institutions - Supervision or guardianship - Access by parents

Thursday, July 30, 2020 @ 6:20 AM  


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Appeal by the mother from a Superior Court decision that overturned an order allowing the mother access to the 2-year-old child at the society’s discretion. The child had significant medical issues because of premature birth. The mother consented to an extended society care order. The trial judge concluded the benefits of the mother’s relationship with the child outweighed any detriments and that the relationship would be beneficial and meaningful for the child. He granted the mother access to the child at the discretion of the society. The appeal judge found the more restrictive approach to determining whether access would be beneficial and meaningful still applied.

HELD: Appeal allowed. Under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, the presumption against access was removed. The child’s best interests were the predominant factor in determining access. The new access test was no longer a beneficial and meaningful test but rather was a best interest test with a statutory requirement to consider whether the relationship was beneficial and meaningful for the child as one aspect of that analysis. Consideration of the child’s bests interests included consideration of all relevant factors, whether past, present or future. The trial judge did not err by taking future considerations into account. It was not an error of law for the trial judge to refer to the availability of the child’s medical history and information as a benefit of access. The trial judge’s determination as to access was restored.

Children’s Aid Society of Toronto v. J.G., [2020] O.J. No. 2822, Ontario Court of Appeal, D.H. Doherty, C.W. Hourigan and M.L. Benotto JJ.A., June 25, 2020. Digest No. TLD-July272020008