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CHILD PROTECTION - Protective agencies and institutions

Thursday, August 13, 2020 @ 6:00 AM  

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Appeal by the father from a decision dismissing his application for judicial review of the Director’s order requiring the father to supervise his children on public transit. The father argued that the Director’s decision exceeded her authority and jurisdiction. The children were 10, 9, 8 and 7 at the time. The father shared equal parenting time with the mother. A social worker met with the father and prepared a safety assessment. She concluded that the children were safe with intervention and advised the father that children could not be left alone at home, on the bus or in the community before the age of 10. They then closed the file. 

HELD: Appeal allowed. The Director’s delegates purported to exercise a statutory power that was subject to judicial review, in that they imposed a requirement on the appellant to supervise his children on public transit. This purported exercise of a statutory power was not authorized under s.16(2)(b.1) of the Child, Family and Community Service Act and was therefore unreasonable. In this case, the Director’s delegates were not making a non-binding recommendation. The record supported the chambers judge’s finding that the appellant could not ignore the Director. In the circumstances, it was reasonable for the appellant to interpret the Director’s conclusion that his children were unsafe on the bus on their own as requiring him to provide supervision. The father’s agreement to supervise his children on the bus was only given on an interim, not an ongoing, basis. Given that the Director did not consider the appellant’s children to need protection and took no further steps, her delegates had no authority to require the appellant to supervise his children on the bus.

Crook v. British Columbia (Director of Child, Family and Community Service), [2020] B.C.J. No. 1075, British Columbia Court of Appeal, R.J. Bauman C.J.B.C. and H. Groberman and B. Fisher JJ.A., July 6, 2020. Digest No. TLD-August102020007