In D.D. v Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, 2015 ONCA 903, a mother appealed a Crown wardship Order which denied her access to her son.

S.S. was born on August 15, 2005. His mother, D.D., voluntarily placed her son into the care of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto in 2011 under a Temporary Care Agreement, due to mental health issues she was experiencing at the time. The father had no relationship with D.D. and no contact with the child.  The mother had phone access with the child until April 2012, when he asked that the phone calls be stopped. Although the mother and child continued to have visits, the child explicitly stated that he did not wish to be returned to the care of his mother. He demonstrated troubling behaviour after some of the visits with his mother. He eventually told the Society that he was regularly abused by his mother and police investigated. D.D.’s access resumed, but was again suspended after the child alleged he had been sexually abused with his mother’s knowledge. All access was cut off in February 2014, and S.S. expressed that he no longer wished to visit with his mother.

As a result, the Society brought an application to make S.S. a Crown ward and then brought a motion for summary judgment. The motion judge ordered Crown wardship with no access. The mother then appealed the motion’s judge’s conclusions. The appeal judge agreed with the motion judge’s decision.

The mother then appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal referred to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Van de Perre v Edwards, [2001] SCR 1014, which noted the high standard of review for cases involving child custody, and even more so in child protection proceedings. The Court of Appeal dismissed the mother’s appeal and found that the motion judge was not wrong to focus on the present best interests of the child. The test for access under the Child and Family Services Act places the focus on the child’s perspective. The mother did not have an ongoing relationship with the child, the child was unwilling to have contact with his mother and the trial judge concluded, as a result, that ordering access to the mother would not be meaningful and beneficial for the child.

If you have questions about child custody or Crown wardship, please contact family lawyer Jason P. Howie, online or at 519.973.1500.

To read the full decision, click here.