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Trociuk v British Columbia (Attorney General), 2003 SCC 34,

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Jenna McKeown

on 28 October 2013

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Transcript of Trociuk v British Columbia (Attorney General), 2003 SCC 34,

Trociuk v British Columbia (Attorney General)
Case Brief Summary
Facts
Reni Ernst gave birth to triplets, fathered by Darrell Trociuk, after they were
estranged
Trociuk was able to visit his children, but at the time of the birth, Ernst had rendered Trociuk
unacknowledged
(he could not be involved in the decision of the childrens' surnames. This was allowed due to sections 3(1)(b)
*
and 4(1)(a)
*
of the
Vital Statistics Act
.
*Section 3(1)(b) - the mother of a child must register the birth within 30 days if the father is unacknowledged by the mother.
*Section 4(1)(a) - the parent who registers the birth is responsible for selecting the surname
He requested that the names be changed or that they receive hyphenated surnames
His request was denied
He applied to have it declared that the sections of the Act violated section 15 the Charter
* "Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."
His application was dismissed by the British Columbia Court of Appeal
He appealed to Supreme Court
Issues
Whether sections 3(1)(b) and 4(1)(a) of the Vital Statistics Act violate section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Whether Act must be amended (to what extent , if at all, is it infringing on rights?)

Decision
Ultimate decision of the Supreme Court was that the sections of the Act do violate the Charter.
Justice Deschamps (the Attorney General of British Columbia) agreed on behalf of a
unanimous
court that leaving the father out of the registration process was damaging to his dignity, so it constitutes discrimination
Although the appeal was allowed, the name change was not - BUT, the Act was amended to allow fathers in this situation to apply for a change
(note: the
impugned
sections cited were not changed, a new amendment was added)
If Trociuk wanted to have the name changed he would have to apply for the name change using this process in the Vital Statistics Act

Significance
Fathers who are rendered unacknowledged by a mother still have a right to participate in their childrens' lives
If this had been decided differently, then the result would essentially be putting fathers who are willing to participate in their childrens' lives on the same level as those who are only biological fathers (ie. sperm donors)
Symbolizes how both parents have equal power in raising their children
Allows the child to be aware of and involved in both sides of their heritage
Decision shows that a father who is willing to support his children and be involved with their lives can be recognized as such in the law
The End :)
By Jenna Jacks and Ryan McKeown

wait that's not right

By Jenna McKeown and Ryan Jacks
Bibliography
“Supreme Court Judgments: Trociuk v. British Columbia (Attorney General)” Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada, <http://scc.lexum.org/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/2066/index.do>

“Case Briefs: Trociuk v British Columbia (Attorney General)” Wikia, <http://casebrief.wikia.com/wiki/Trociuk_v_British_Columbia_(Attorney_General)>

“Vital Statistics Act” Canlii, <http://canlii.org/en/bc/laws/stat/rsbc-1996-c-479/latest/rsbc-1996-c-479.html#sec3 > , <http://canlii.org/en/bc/laws/stat/rsbc-1996-c-479/latest/rsbc-1996-c-479.html#sec4>

“Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”, WIkipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_Fifteen_of_the_Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms>

“Landmark Case: The Parental Rights Case - Trociuk v. British Columbia (Attorney General)” OJEN <http://ojen.ca/resource/590>

Definitions:
http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/estranged
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/unanimity
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/unacknowledged
http://www.vs.gov.bc.ca/

Terms / Definitions
Vital Statistics Act
- deals with the registration of all marriages, births, deaths, and name changes that occur within a province

Estranged
- seperated and living apart; no longer friendly

Unacknowledged
- not accepted or recognized

Unanimous
- In law, when all people (in this case, judges) involved in a decision are in agreement.

Discrimination
- unequal treatment of someone, for something that has no relation to the persons legal rights or ability

Impugned
- dispute the truth, validity, or honesty of a statement
Full transcript