A few yr in the past, we coated a contentious ruling divorced dad and mom of two youngsters, aged 10 and 12, who couldn’t agree over which ones would have decision-making authority over whether or not to vaccinate the children towards COVID-19. Their dispute was acrimonious, and featured unseemly allegations and far name-calling.
Earlier than the movement decide, each dad and mom had sought to depend on science and information to claim their positions. Amongst different issues, the daddy relied on Well being Canada recommendation that immunization was secure for kids over 5; the mom, primarily based largely on anti-vaccine sources from the web, argued that ample doubt had been forged on the vaccine’s security and efficacy.
The preliminary movement ruling was given by the famed Justice Pazaratz, who’s noteworthy in Ontario Household Regulation circles for his blunt and unconventional fashion. He rejected the daddy’s bid to have decision-making authority over this side of the children’ well being, discovering it was not within the youngsters’s greatest pursuits. He concluded the daddy was “dogmatic, illiberal and paternalistic” and his assault upon the mom was “misguided and mean-spirited”.
Importantly, when assessing the medical proof and conclusions he referred to as them a “transferring goal”, and rejected the daddy’s Well being Canada proof outright, stating:
I’ve not been capable of finding any indication – within the father’s proof or within the physique of COVID vaccine case regulation – that allegedly debunked theories have ever been correctly thought of or examined. In any courtroom. Anyplace.
In stark distinction was Justice Pazaratz’s evaluation of the mom’s anti-vaccine proof she had obtained on-line. He discovered she had “gone to extraordinary lengths to tell herself” and was glad that her sources have been “certified and respected”. He discovered she had “demonstrated a transparent understanding of the science” and that she raised “authentic questions and considerations” concerning the vaccine. He described her place as “cheap and useful”.
Now, the Ontario Court docket of Attraction has overturned Justice Pazaratz’s earlier choice fully.
Particularly, it was unsuitable for him to reject the daddy’s Well being Canada proof as disreputable, whereas accepting and counting on the mom’s internet-based supplies as being credible sources of “professional proof” exhibiting authentic considerations concerning the security, efficacy and want for the COVID-19 vaccine. In truth, few of the mom’s supplies even met the established authorized standards for accepting such materials for consideration – a lot much less accepting them as truth.
Because the Court docket of Attraction defined:
 For my part, the movement decide fell into error by not assessing whether or not every doc offered by the [mother] was dependable, unbiased, unbiased and licensed by somebody with experience within the space. As a substitute of participating in an evaluation of the proof offered, he launched into a prolonged dialogue about whose supplies have been extra thought-provoking, which has no bearing in any respect on whether or not the respondent’s supplies have been admissible and ought to be given any weight.
The Attraction Court docket concluded:
 The knowledge relied upon by the [mother] was nothing however one thing somebody wrote and printed on the Web, with none unbiased indicia of reliability or experience, which, even when admissible, ought to have been afforded no weight in any respect. This was a palpable and overriding error and I’d, subsequently, give impact to this floor of enchantment.
However that was not the one manner that Justice Pazaratz went astray in his reasoning: Quite than give due consideration to the Well being Canada recommendation, he most popular as a substitute to go on a diatribe about historic occasions, all purporting to point out that Canadian authorities choices mustn’t at all times be relied on by its residents.
We’ll cowl that side of this vital Attraction ruling subsequent week.
Full textual content of the choice:
J.N. v. C.G., 2023 ONCA 77 (CanLII), <https://canlii.ca/t/jv9c5>
The decrease courtroom trial and prices choice:
J.N. v. C.G., 2022 ONSC 1198 (CanLII), <https://canlii.ca/t/jmk30>
J.N. v. C.G., 2022 ONSC 2225 (CanLII), <https://canlii.ca/t/jnmlj>