Thursday, October 22, 2015

Canadian Court: Grandparents Have No Right To Force Religious Exposure On Grandchild Over Mother's Objections

In A.R. and B.R. v. M.W. and L.R., (BC Prov. Ct., Oct. 21, 2015), a British Columbia (Canada) Provincial Court rejected an application by paternal grandparents for unsupervised contact time with their 4-year old granddaughter.  The grandparents want to be part of the child's life even though their son (the child's father) has little contact with them or with the child.  The child's mother, however, objects to the grandparents' insistence on taking the child to Jehovah's Witness religious services.  The court rejected the grandparents' claim that their right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to free exercise of religion has been infringed, saying:
No one is questioning the applicants’ right to practice their religion. This dispute arises from the applicants’ refusal to accept that they have no say in the religious and spiritual upbringing of A.W. They are not guardians and they do not have any parental responsibilities.
The court limited the grandparents' visits to one hour per month in the mother's home, supervised by the mother.  CBC News reports on the decision.