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Case Study: Children's Aid Society

B. (R.) v. Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto
by

Katia Ghanem

on 4 April 2013

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Transcript of Case Study: Children's Aid Society

(1992), 10 O.R. (3d) 321 Ontario Court of Appeal B. (R.) v. Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto Final Decision In 1983, The Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto was awarded temporary custody of the appellants newly born infant. Has s. 2(a) of the Charter been infringed? It is very clear that the law hinders the parents from exercising their religious beliefs if their child is to undergo a blood transfusion. The Oakes Test THANK YOU Summary of Facts Therefore, the Reasonable Limits Clause under section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms must be examined. Is the infringement justified under s. 7? This challenges.. the constitutionality of the Child Welfare Act What is the issue in this case? The infant required a life saving blood transfusion due to suspected glaucoma, contrary to the religious beliefs of the parents as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The parents appealed this custody order to the Ontario Court of Justice. The blood transfusion had already been performed; therefore the Court dismissed the appeal. The requirements to which the custody order had been granted was also replaced from the Child Welfare Act to the Child and Family Services Act The parents appealed the dismissal to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal transferred the issue back to the Ontario Court of Justice.

The Ontario Court of Justice upheld its earlier decision and dismissed the appeal. The parents once again appealed to the Court of Appeal, and... The parents’ right to liberty under s. 7 of the Charter. The parents’ right to freedom of religion under s. 2(a) of the Charter. In order to justify that an infringement, under s. 1, the 3 criteria as established in the Oakes Case are: Does the infringement pass the proportionality test? Is the objective of the law pressing and substantial? Is the limitation prescribed by law? Because s. 7 of the Charter contains the phrase “fundamental justice”, the infringement must also be in accordance with this principle under s. 7. The parents believe that the right to make health care decisions for their child was part of their right to liberty under s. 7 of the Charter. Judicial Analysis This principle refers to the state’s duty to intervene against a negligent parent In this case, the Court ruled that a child’s right to life is of greater importance than the religious rights of the parents. Therefore, any legislation designed to protect a child’s life and health is in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. Ultimately, the reasoning of the court was that in this case, the common law principle of parents patriae is included with the principles of fundamental justice. However, the Supreme Court of Canada points out that the religious freedoms under s. 2 are “subject to such limitations as are necessary.” Whether the infringement is justified must be proven through the analysis of the reasonable limits clause under s. 1. Is the limitation prescribed by law? For a limitation to be prescribed by law, the limitation must be legal and be part of a statute or legislation. The infringement in this case was made under the Child Welfare Act, which was a law passed by Parliament. Since it was a statute, any infringements made under the Child Welfare Act were legal. Whether the infringement is constitutional, however, is decided upon further analysis. Is the objective of the law pressing and substantial? In order for a law to be deemed pressing and substantial, it must be proven that the objective is important to society. In this case, the objective of the law is to protect the life and health of all children. This issue is, without a doubt, a pressing and substantial concern. Does the infringement pass the proportionality test? A key aspect of the proportionality test is whether the infringement is rationally connected to the objective of the law. There is a rational connection between the provisions used in this case (The Child Welfare Act) and its objective. The objective of the Act is to intervene in emergency situations and assume authority over the child that normally falls on the parents. Another key aspect of the proportionality test is whether the limitation impairs Charter rights as little as possible. This requirement of the test is met in this case. The blood transfusion was imperative in saving and protecting the child’s life. It is impossible to provide another solution for the treatment that is less restrictive when the child’s life is at risk. After analyzing the case and the Charter infringements presented to the court, the infringements passed the reasonable limits clause under s. 1 and the requirements under s. 7. Therefore, the Child Welfare Act was upheld in its constitutionality and the appeal was dismissed. QUIZ TIME What does the common law principle parents patriae mean? What are the religious beliefs of the parents of the infant? What charter rights or freedoms are associated with this case? State the section in the Charter and the right or freedom. What year did B. (R.) v. Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto take place?
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