A judge in Canada bars an unvaccinated man from seeing his three children in person.
An unvaccinated man in Canada has been temporarily barred from seeing his three children in person after a judge deemed him to be a health risk to his immunocompromised daughter, according to multiple media reports.
Justice Nathalie Godbout of the Court of the Queen’s Bench in New Brunswick passed the ruling on January 31, CBC News reported. Under the ruling, the children’s mother is allowed to vaccinate her children without requiring the father’s consent.
In her 26-page decision, Godbout wrote that she passed the ruling with a “heavy heart” and that the father poses a health threat to his three children — especially to his 10-year-old daughter, who has a blood condition that requires specialized care. Neither parent was named in the ruling.
The father and the children’s mother separated in 2019 and have joint custody of the children, CBC reported.
Per CBC, the mother applied in October to have the father’s visitation rights suspended after she found out he and his new partner were unvaccinated. Prior to the hearing in January, the father refused to let the children get vaccinated.
The mother’s lawyer, Grant Ogilvie, told CBC that the three children have since received their first COVID-19 vaccine doses. Ogilvie told the outlet that, for the mother, pursuing the case was about doing “what’s best for the children.” Ogilvie did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.
The father will be granted a “generous” amount of contact with his children but only through phone or over video calls, CBC reported. If he gets vaccinated, he can apply to have the ruling lifted.
Godbout also dismissed the father’s “research” into the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which led him to believe that it could harm his daughter, noting that he may have only sought information that supported his position on vaccines.
“His own anecdotal research on such a highly specialized topic carries little to no weight in the overall analysis when measured against the sound medical advice of our public health officials,” wrote Godbout.
According to the World Health Organization, the Pfizer vaccine can be safely administered to people aged five and above, with children receiving a smaller dose than adults. In November, Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11.
A Canadian family lawyer told The Globe and Mail the ruling was unsurprising and showed that Canadian courts are acting in support of official health advisories concerning COVID-19 vaccines.
“I think courts are more likely right now, especially with the Omicron variant, to make orders actually impacting the parents’ access,” another Canadian lawyer, Kirsty Warren, told The Globe and Mail.
The case is not the first time unvaccinated parents have had their visitation rights suspended.
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