Sep 1, 2020

COURT OF APPEAL SUMMARIES (August 24 – 28, 2020)

Bruce Grey Child and Family Services v. A.M., 2020 ONCA 525 (CanLII)

[Feldman, van Rensburg and Thorburn JJ.A.]

Counsel:

A.M., acting in person

Cory B. Deyarmond for the respondent, Bruce Grey Child and Family Services

Elizabeth McCarty and H. Jane Robertson for the respondent, Office of the Children’s Lawyer

Keywords: Family Law, Child Protection, Crown Wardship, Custody and Access, In Loco Parentis, Civil Procedure, Standing, Fresh Evidence, Child, Youth and Family Services Act, S.O. 2017, c. 14, Sched. 1, ss. 74(1), 74(3), 104(2), 121(1), G.(C.) v. H.(J.), 1989 CanLII 8899 (ONCA), leave to appeal refused, [1990] S.C.C.A. No. 60, Children’s Aid Society of Waterloo v. JLS, 2018 ONSC 7412,

Facts:

The appellant seeks access to R, who was placed with a foster family. The appellant was involved with R’s family since R was born, and there were periods where he lived with R and R’s biological mother. The mother supported the appellant’s request for access. The Children’s Aid Society and Office of the Children’s lawyer both opposed the appellant’s request for access.

Issues:

1. Does the appellant have standing to appeal to the Superior Court of Justice?

2. Did the Superior Court judge erred in upholding the trial judge’s decision not to issue an order granting the appellant access to R?

3. Should the Court order access by the appellant to R based on fresh or new evidence?

Holding:

Appeal dismissed.

Reasoning:

1. Yes. The appellant was a party to the lower court proceeding, and the Society and OCL did not object to his standing. Although the court below did not explicitly make a finding on the appellant’s standing (which should explicitly be done), the appellant may have qualified under ss.74(1) and 121(1)(b) of the CYFSA as “any parent of the child”, and therefore he had standing for the purposes of this appeal.

2. No. The trial judge held that there was no “beneficial and meaningful relationship between them” since the appellant had had no access to R since R was apprehended in 2015. The appeal judge was correct in holding that the best interests of the child were paramount and that in this case, that there was no error made, and that nothing in the fresh evidence on that appeal would have changed the appropriateness of the orders made in respect of R’s best interests.

3. No. There was nothing in the fresh or new evidence that changed the appropriateness of the trial judge’s initial orders with respect to R’s best interests. The fresh evidence demonstrated that, while R is fond of the appellant, over a now extended period, he has expressed a preference to move forward with his adoption without an ongoing relationship with the appellant.