B.J.T. v. J.D.

(Prince Edward Island) (Civil) (By Leave)

(Publication ban in case) (Publication ban on party) (Certain information not available to the public)


Family law — Child protection — Custody — Child found in need of protection from mother —Grandmother and father submitting competing parenting plans at disposition hearing — Is there a legal presumption favouring a “natural parent” over all others who meet the legislative definition of “parent” in the Child Protection Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. C 5.1? — How should the “natural parent” factor be considered when determining the best interests of a child in child protection matters? — When can an appellate court intervene in determining the best interests of a child? —What is the standard of review for disposition decisions pursuant to child protection legislation and to what extent should appellate courts consider the failure to explicitly address jurisprudence raised by a party to be a reversible error?


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The father and mother were married in 2012 in Alberta and separated less than a year later when the mother returned to Prince Edward Island. The father was unaware that the mother was pregnant when she left. Shortly after the child was born, the applicant grandmother came to reside with the mother and child. When the child was four years of age, and residing only with his mother, he was apprehended by the Director of Child Protection. He was eventually placed in the care of the applicant. The Director subsequently alerted the father of the child’s existence then supported his contested application for permanent custody. The trial judge held that the child should be permanently placed with the grandmother in Prince Edward Island. On appeal, the majority held that the child should be permanently placed in his father’s custody in Alberta.

Lower Court Rulings

June 2, 2020
Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island

2020 PESC 23 ;, S1FS9016 ;
Grandmother of child awarded permanent custody; Access for biological father not determined
November 27, 2020
Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal

2020 PECA 14 ;, S1-CA-14444 ;
Permanent custody of child awarded to biological father with specified access to grandmother