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  • Shankar Law Office

Going Through a Child Protection Case? Don't Lose Hope.

Justice Sherr just released an empowering decision in Children’s Aid Society of Toronto v. N.G., 2022 ONCJ 235

For any family going through a child protection case and losing hope, this case offers an important lesson - don’t lose hope. The Court is there to listen, to be fair and to recognize the efforts of the parent(s) despite facing a powerful opponent in the form of the Children’s Aid Society.

In this case, the CAS wanted an extended care order. The father fought furiously…and won!

Some key takeaways from this case:

1. The court considered that the father does not have to be a perfect parent for it to find that it is in the best interests of the child to be placed in his care. He only needs to be “good enough” based on the minimum parenting standards we expect of parents. This is the appropriate standard in determining a child’s best interests when we are deciding cases involving state intrusion into the lives of a family and deciding whether to permanently sever a child from her parents. 2. The Court found that it should not apply middle-class parenting standards in assessing whether to place a child with a parent. The father faces many challenges. English is not his first language and this has likely been a barrier in navigating the intricacies of social service programs. He is not well-educated. He is not a sophisticated litigant. He struggled at the start of the trial with the technology until arrangements were made for him to testify from T.G.’s home. He has struggled with poverty and recently was sleeping under a bridge. He presents with a quiet and passive personality.

3. This led to the related issues of housing and poverty. Could the father find adequate accommodation for the child in time, given that the child has been in care well past the statutory timeline of 12 months? 4. The court finds that the father’s plan for housing is not ideal but it is good enough. The child should not be placed in extended society care due to the father’s poverty and his plan for housing. 5. The father presented well at trial. He was alert, well groomed, attentive throughout and consistently on time. There was no evidence of any drug use.

Analysis: What do the above observations mean for litigants?: It is not a crime to be poor. You can be poor, yet dignified. Appearances matter. Clients need to present well in Court by being respectful, calm, attentive and on time. You don’t need to live in a palatial home as long as you have a decent home to protect and bring up the child and have the necessary support network in place.

Conclusion: At Shankar Law, we will ensure that we do our research well, apply solid case law and represent you to bring out the positive points about you to the Court - irrespective of your status, class or background. We have had successes in many child protection cases. We will do our best for you as well. We work throughout Ontario with offices in Wiarton, Port Elgin and in Owen Sound and serving surrounding areas. We look forward to serving you!



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