Supreme Court of Canada Agrees to Hear Mom’s Appeal in Self-Help Case
Back in November 2021 we reported on an important Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in a case called N. v. F.
The decision focused on the important issue of whether the Ontario Court could exercise its jurisdiction to order a non-resident mother – the primary caregiver – to return the children to their father in another country. She had taken self-help measures to unilaterally keep the kids in Ontario after a visit here.
The outcome turned on the proper interpretation of the Ontario Children’s Law Act, and on how (and when) the standard “best interests of the child” test should be applying in determining whether the Ontario court could assume authority over the matter. The case was complicated by some other international aspects: The mother was a Canadian citizen, she married the husband in Pakistan, and they lived entirely in Dubai during their 8-year marriage.
When the mother failed to deliver the kids back to Dubai, it was the father who applied successfully to the Ontario trial court for a return order; the mother’s appeal was dismissed 2:1 by the three-member panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Now, the Supreme Court of Canada has given the go-ahead for the matter to be appealed even further; it will consider the mother’s latest appeal arguments at an expedited hearing date set for March of 2022. The appeal will be confined to the two pivotal issues that help establish the jurisdictional test.
Until that March hearing, the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision ordering the return of the children has been stayed. The Attorney General of Ontario has been added as an Intervenor party.
It promises to be an interesting ruling, and one that will have broader ramifications for those separated and divorced parents with international ties. Stay tuned for more!
For the full text of the decisions, see:
Leave to appeal granted by the Supreme Court of Canada on December 2, 2021: