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Parents have No Rights
August 2, 2007 permalink
The Supreme Court of Canada has issued an important decision in a case in which a child was taken from her parents for an imaginary cause. The care of children by the social services system is too important to allow professionals to be concerned by parental rights. The Supreme Court agrees with the listing of parental rights on our parody page.
Here is the operative part of the opinion:
The deciding factor in this case is the potential for conflicting duties: imposing a duty of care in respect of the relationship between the family of a child in care and that child’s court‑ordered service providers creates a genuine potential for “serious and significant” conflict with the service providers’ transcendent statutory duty to promote the best interests, protection and well‑being of the children in their care. When a child is placed in the temporary care of the Children’s Aid Society, or if Crown wardship is ordered, the Child and Family Services Act creates an inherently adversarial relationship between parents and the state. The fact that the interests of the parents and of the child may occasionally align does not diminish the concern that in many if not most of the cases, conflict is inevitable. While it is true that ss. 1 and 37(3) of the Child and Family Services Act, which the family seeks to rely on to ground proximity, make reference to the family, nothing in them detracts from the Act’s overall and determinative emphasis on the protection and promotion of the child’s best interests, not those of the family. Furthermore, the treatment centre and B are providing services to R.D. in a treatment context, a context that invokes medical paradigms of confidentiality and privacy. To recognize a duty to parents in this context could also result in conflicting duties in the provision of medical treatment to children who have been removed from their parents’ custody. It is very difficult to see how different professionals, including doctors and social workers, could all effectively work together if some of them owed a duty other than to the child/patient. Lastly, the conclusion that there is no proximity is reinforced by two additional reflections of legislative policy. The first is that the Act itself provides a remedy for families seeking to challenge the way their child is treated. The second is that there is a clear legislative intent to protect those working in the child protection field from liability for the good faith exercise of their statutory duty, and this intent is reflected in statutory immunity provisions. Since the statutory mandate is to treat the child’s interests as paramount, there is, where the duties to the child have been performed in accordance with the statute, no liability to the family.
Source: Supreme Court Decisions hosted by University of Montreal
In case the link is altered, you should be able to find the decision from the citation:
SUPREME COURT OF CANADA, Syl Apps Secure Treatment Centre v. B.D., 2007 SCC 38, Date: 20070727, Docket: 31404.