Bill Proposes to Confirm Grandparents' Right to Apply for Custody and Access

I have written before about a grandparent’s potential right in some circumstances to apply for custody of or access to a child.   At the moment, this right is only implicit in the current wording of the Children’s Law Reform Act, which states that a parent or “any other person” may apply.

However an Ontario Private Member’s Bill – now at the second-reading stage – aims to confirm and solidify a grandparent’s rights in this regard.

Bill 48, titled “An Act to amend the Children’s Law Reform Act with respect to the relationship between a child and the child’s grandparents”, aims to amend the existing legislation to specifically mention a grandparent as being one of the people who can apply for a custody or access order in connection with a child.  

(In such scenarios, the court being asked to make the order must still consider the usual factors that pertain to custody and access determinations; these include the love, affection and emotional ties between the child and each of the people who are entitled to or claim custody of or access to the child.)

At the moment, this Private Member’s Bill has not been formally sponsored by the current Liberal government.   Previous versions of the Bill have been proposed on numerous occasions but were defeated at third reading each time.  However, the present incarnation might be a little different:  it has multi-party support, since it has been co-sponsored by PC deputy leader Christine Elliot and NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo.  It will be interesting to see whether in this round, and with this enhanced support, the Bill finally makes it into law.

Shulman Law Firm is a Toronto-area firm of experienced Family Lawyers who can provide tailored,  practical advice and effective representation in connection with separation and divorce, child custody and support, cohabitation and separation agreements, family mediation, and all other areas of Ontario Family Law.  Contact us to set up a free consultation.

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