Judge declines to order COVID travel restrictions in family law case

Despite the spike in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, a judge has declined to place travel restrictions in a family law case.

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Despite a spike in COVID-19 cases arising from the spread of the Omicron variant, a B.C. judge has declined to place restrictions on a mother planning to travel with her son to Jamaica.


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The mother, who is not identified in a provincial court ruling, wants to take her son with her for a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay in the Caribbean country so that the family can gather with her father, who is gravely ill.

She told the court that it was important for her son to spend time with his grandfather, siblings and extended family, and said that she would take all the necessary precautions to address any COVID issues.

She said she and her other children would not be making the trip if the boy was not permitted to travel, although other family members will be travelling.

The position of the boy’s father on the planned trip from Jan. 21 to Jan. 30 was that he was opposed to the trip but would abide by whatever the judge decided.


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The father noted a federal government travel advisory, issued Dec. 15 in response to the Omicron variant, against non-essential travel outside Canada.

In his ruling on the case, Judge Michael Brecknell said that previous family law decisions have emphasized that large family gatherings can be important for and beneficial to a child’s development. He also recognized that since the COVID pandemic began, the courts have also been mindful of the concerns surrounding out-of-country, non-essential travel.

Brecknell noted that the estranged couple wanted him to make an order confirming or denying the mother’s travel plans, but he declined to do so.

He said that he would not prohibit the boy from travelling to Jamaica and would leave the decision to the father, as a guardian, to determine whether he would complete a travel consent letter.


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“If he does not wish to sign what is necessary for the child to travel to Jamaica, that will be his prerogative. In doing so, he must consider only the child’s best interest regarding not only this travel, but any further travels he may contemplate with the child.”

The judge ordered the dad to inform the mother of his decision immediately and added that if the child does not travel to Jamaica, the parents are to cooperate in taking all reasonable steps to ensure the child has time with his grandfather while he is well enough to enjoy time with his grandson.

Gregory Petrisor, a lawyer for the father, said he didn’t have permission from his client to say what the man will do.

“It’s still an active proceeding, so I don’t really want to comment on it.”

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