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  • Joe Broadhurst

Emergency parenting applications and COVID


Unfortunately while the BC courts are hearing emergency applications, the instances that they give written reasons have been few and far between, forcing us to look to Ontario for guidance. A significant case came out in Ontario in the past week that sheds a bit more light on how the Courts are going to deal with parenting situations during the COVID pandemic.


Lee v Lee, 2020 ONSC 2044


In this case a co-worker of the father's had tested positive for COVID-19. The judge ordered that the father's parenting time would be suspended for a period of 14 days of self-isolation in case he had contracted the virus. the judge notably said both of the following things:


"The possibility of the respondent having been exposed to COVID-19 appears to be small, and perhaps nominal. Yet in such uncertain times, it is preferable to avail oneself of certainties when available."


and


"In coming to this decision, I am not making a finding that the respondent has done something wrong. I trust that the respondent, and for that matter the applicant, will continue to follow the government COVID-19 protocols and minimize all potential exposure to themselves and their son."


While earlier cases have suggested that the existence of the pandemic is not enough on its own to stop parenting time from going forward, this case suggests that a more tangible risk is a reason to take a self-isolation break from the usual parenting schedule.


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