Monday, November 19, 2012

Best interests of the child includes preserving loving parental relationship

Children's Aid Society of Toronto v. G.S., 2012 ONCA 783 holds that, in a child protection matter, it is important to the best interests of the child to preserve the relationship the child has with a loving parent:

[28] In this case, the child's emotional needs in connection with his relationship with the appellant (s. 37(3)1), the importance of the child's development of a positive relationship with the appellant (s. 37(3)5), the child's relationships and emotional ties to the appellant (s. 37(3)6) and the risk of harm to the child if he were kept away from his father (s. 37(3)11) were all highly relevant. While the risk that the child may suffer harm through being allowed to remain in the appellant's care was also relevant, it was an error for the trial judge to consider that risk alone.

[29] That the relationship between the appellant and M.S. was positive is clear from the trial judge's reasons. At para. 19, the trial judge accepted that the supervised visits between M.S. and the appellant have "always been very positive", that the two have "a close and loving relationship",
that the appellant is "attentive to [M.S.'s] needs and very affectionate with him", and that M.S. is "always excited to see his father".

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