According to reports, a father in Canada has lost his visitation rights to his 12-year-old child because he is unvaccinated. A court in Quebec ruled against the father, temporarily barring him from visiting as his visits “would not be in the child’s best interest.”
The ban was issued by Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Sebastien Vaillancourt on December 23rd, 2021 in response to the father – given the initials RB – requesting that his visiting time during the holidays be extended. The judge ruled that RB’s visiting rights would be suspended until February 2022 unless he gets the Covid-19 vaccine.
The child’s mother – given the initials MO – opposed RB’s request to extend his visitation time. She told the court that she recently discovered that her former partner was unvaccinated, accusing him of being an “anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist.” She cited RB’s Facebook posts opposing getting vaccinated as evidence.
RB admitted that he is yet to get vaccinated, and told the court that he had “reservations” about it. In response, Vaillancourt said that the ban on his visitation rights is only temporary, and was prompted by the rise of Omicron cases.
The 12-year-old, who is fully vaccinated, lives with his two half-siblings, his mother and her current partner. The other children are not vaccinated. Although, the judge noted that vaccines do not provide any protection against Omicron.
Canadian lawyer Sylvie Schirm, who was not involved in this case, said that the decision made by the judge was the first of its kind in Canada. She added that the ruling based on vaccination status could set a precedent.
“It won’t necessarily apply to everybody across the board. It doesn’t mean that all parents who aren’t vaccinated will stop seeing their kids, but it sets a certain precedent that’s out there,” the Montreal-based family lawyer told CTV News.
“I think what probably didn’t help [RB] was that the judge probably thought he wouldn’t respect the regulations in any way, shape or form. So regardless of being vaccinated or not, he was going to expose his son to the virus, indirectly or directly. That’s what [Vaillancourt] was aiming to protect – the best interests of the child.”
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