Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

"Supreme Court rules in favour of dads"

The Toronto Star, from Canadian Press, June 6, 2003

OTTAWA - Mothers who arbitrarily refuse to acknowledge the fathers of their children shouldn't be allowed sole power to name their children, Canada's highest court says.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled 9-0 today to strike down British Columbia's Vital Statistics Act because it violates guaranteed equality rights.

Under the act, mothers who "unacknowledge" the father can register and name their children without the dad's input.

That's unconstitutional, the high court said. But it suspended the effect of its ruling for 12 months, allowing the province time to change its law.

At the heart of the case is an unmarried B.C. father's fight to have his triplet sons bear his last name.

While it's a victory for men, the judgment won't immediately help Darrell Trociuk.

It orders the B.C. legislature - and, in effect, others with similar laws - to draft rules that better reflect the interests of both mothers and fathers. But it stops short of granting Trociuk the outcome he most wanted: to give his seven-year-old sons at least a hyphenated last name.

He'll have to wait to see if B.C. drafts a new law that will retroactively give him his wish.

The self-employed landscaper was in a two-year relationship with Reni Ernst that ended in 1995. There has never been a paternity dispute, and Trociuk has paid support and sought access to his children.

But when Ernst filled out a vital statistics registration form, she declared Trociuk "unacknowledged" - a category often used when women become pregnant from rape or incest. That allowed her to give the children her name.

When both parents register but can't agree on a name, children receive hyphenated surnames.

Ernst has said she chose not to acknowledge Trociuk because he initially insisted the children take his name only.

Once officially unacknowledged, Trociuk had no legal say in the matter, and no recourse to appeal.

Fathers such as Trociuk "should not be compared or confused with fathers who are justifiably excluded," wrote Justice Marie Deschamps for the majority.

"Among those included in the latter category are rapists and perpetrators of incest."

They can also be mistaken for dads with no interest in raising their kids, she said.

"Such confusion is disrespectful to fathers who want to participate in their children's lives through the inclusion of their particulars."

The judgment is expected to have far-reaching impact in provinces where such laws are similar, including Ontario, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island.

Only about five per cent of fathers fall into the "unacknowledged" category in British Columbia.

Today's ruling overturns a B.C. Court of Appeal decision that had upheld the Vital Statistics Act.

The Ontario Court of Appeal also ruled last June that a mother can acknowledge a father for custody or child support reasons but does not have to acknowledge him on a birth registry for naming purposes.

It said the province's Vital Statistics Act, which is worded similarly to that in B.C., provides mothers with the "ultimate ability" to name their children.

Copyright 1996-2003. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited.

National Post - Canada

The time for shared parenting is now

By Edward Kruk, Professor of Social Work and Family Studies at the University of British Columbia, Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Six years after the long-awaited report from the Joint House of Commons-Senate Committee on Custody and Access, and four ministers of justice later, where are we on the issue of parenting of children after separation and divorce? Shared parenting, the principal recommendation contained in the joint committee's report, has yet to be realized, as courts continue to remove loving parents from the lives of their children via sole-custody judgments.

Given the benefits it offers, shared parenting -- a post-separation arrangement that attempts to approximate the parent-child relationship in the original two-parent home -- should not be controversial. Yet upon receipt of the special committee report in 1998, then-justice minister Anne McLellan demanded Read More before she would move toward implementation. Her successors have found similar excuses for inaction. During the interim period, public support for shared parenting has increased: A recent National Post poll showed that 91% of respondents are in support of shared parenting after divorce. Read More ..

Dept. of Justice - Canada
Consultations on Custody, Access and Child Support in Canada

The Federal / Provincial /Territorial Family Law Committee

National Post - Canada

Women's groups balk at sitting with fathers' rights advocates

Calls to boycott talks on changes to divorce law

Read More ..

Mother Abducted Child

DNA paternity test confirms fraud, annulment granted: judge | Visayan Daily Star Newspaper | Phillipines

Missing boy found in B.C.
Ex-Ottawa woman charged in son's abduction

Ottawa Sun, April 3, 2003, By LAURA CZEKAJ

A 12-YEAR-OLD Ottawa boy who was allegedly abducted by his mother eight years ago has been found living in a rural British Columbia community.

Oceanside RCMP raided a cottage in Coombs, near Parksville, B.C., Tuesday around 9 p.m. and arrested a 49-year-old former Ottawa woman on an outstanding Canada-wide warrant for parental abduction.

The boy, who cannot be identified, was taken into the custody of the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development. His father, a Parry Sound resident, was en route last night to reunite with his son, said Rhonda Morgan, executive director of the Missing Children Society of Canada (MCSC), which has spearheaded the investigation since 1996. Read More ..