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CHILD PROTECTION - Protective agencies and institutions - Apprehension of child

Monday, June 07, 2021 @ 9:39 AM  


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Appeal by the mother from a 2020 apprehension order granted following the ex parte application of the Director of Child and Family Services. The mother’s child was of Indigenous descent. The mother and father had a history of family violence. The child’s half-siblings were apprehended just prior to her birth and the application was made shortly after. At the time of the apprehensions, drug paraphernalia was found in the home and the mother continued to have contact with the father despite an emergency protection order. Prior to the hearing of the appeal, the child was returned to the mother under a supervision order. Since the expiry of the supervision order, the director had no further involvement with the family. The mother conceded the appeal was moot.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The resolution of the custodial issues related to the child had not resolved the ongoing question about the effect of the federal legislation on the ability of the director to proceed with an apprehension application on an ex parte basis. There was a sufficient adversarial context to enable the court to make a fully informed decision on the merits, notwithstanding the appeal was moot. In both An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families and the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, the best interests of the child were paramount. If the best interests of the child required an application for an apprehension order on an ex parte basis, the director was authorized to proceed on that basis. The justice of the peace had not erred in granting the apprehension order on an ex parte basis.

J.W. v. Alberta (Director of Child and Family Services), [2021] A.J. No. 568, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, R.W. Armstrong J., April 26, 2021. Digest No. TLD-June72021003