A couple of 12 months in the past, we lined a contentious ruling divorced mother and father 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 youngsters towards COVID-19. Their dispute was acrimonious, and featured unseemly allegations and far name-calling.
Earlier than the movement choose, each mother and father 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 enough 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 Legislation circles for his blunt and unconventional fashion. He rejected the daddy’s bid to have decision-making authority over this facet of the youngsters’ well being, discovering it was not within the youngsters’s finest 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 court docket. 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 Courtroom of Enchantment has overturned Justice Pazaratz’s earlier determination solely.
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 “skilled 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 Courtroom of Enchantment defined:
 In my opinion, the movement choose fell into error by not assessing whether or not every doc introduced by the [mother] was dependable, unbiased, unbiased and licensed by somebody with experience within the space. As an alternative of participating in an evaluation of the proof introduced, 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 needs to be given any weight.
The Enchantment Courtroom 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 might, due to this fact, give impact to this floor of attraction.
However that was not the one means that Justice Pazaratz went astray in his reasoning: Slightly than give due consideration to the Well being Canada recommendation, he most well-liked as an alternative 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 are going to cowl that facet of this essential Enchantment 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 court docket trial and prices determination:
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>