Top News

Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge reverses order allowing removal of biological father's name from children's birth certificates

———
Government of Canada

The provincial Registrar of Vital Statistics had appealed the order

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

A provincial court judge didn’t have the right to allow the removal of a man’s name from the birth certificates of his children without his consent, a Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge has ruled in an unusual case.

Hearing an application made by the children’s mother last October, the original judge had made an order allowing the removal of the man’s name from the birth certificates of his two children, ages six and nine, without his consent. The man had been served at his last known address in Alberta, and both his parents had been served as well, but he did not respond or participate in the court proceedings.

The children’s mother told the original judge she was not able to change their passports and social insurance cards without their biological father’s consent, expressing frustration that he had not had any recent contact with the children nor obeyed court orders to pay child support.

The woman indicated she had been granted a sole custody order.


The children’s mother told the original judge she was not able to change their passports and social insurance cards without their biological father’s consent, expressing frustration that he had not had any recent contact with the children nor obeyed court orders to pay child support.


The original judge granted the woman’s application, but the Registrar of Vital Statistics appealed that decision, saying the judge did not have the authority to do so. The registrar argued the judge could have issued an order allowing the woman to change her children’s names without their biological father’s consent, but there is no provision in the province’s Change of Name Act authorizing the removal of the father’s name from a birth certificate.

“Further, on this appeal, (the mother) indicated that the last name of the children on their birth certificates is the same as her family name and not the family name of (their biological father),” Justice Rosalie McGrath noted in her appeal decision. “As such, that type of order would not have been necessary.”

McGrath said she recommended to the mother at the appeal hearing that she obtain legal advice in relation to her frustrations in dealing with governmental agencies.

“I noted there are applications she could potentially bring to obtain orders from the provincial court to assist her in dealing with governmental agencies on matters such as the children’s social insurance cards and passports,” McGrath said.

A provincial court Judge would have the authority to order the biological father’s consent was not necessary to change passports or social insurance cards, she explained.

However, McGrath said, that was not what the woman had requested in her application and it’s not the order that was granted.

“What was ordered is the dispensing of the consent of (the biological father) to the removal of his name as the biological father on the children’s birth certificates,” McGrath said. “There is no authority under the act or any other legislation that gives the provincial court judge the authority to make such an order.”

McGrath reversed the decision, but said she hoped her comments would help the mother when it came to dealing with government agencies in respect of the children.

RELATED:

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories