Reported as: 2018 SKCA 19
Docket Number: CACV 3093 , CA17135
Court: Court of Appeal
- Family Law � Custody and Access � Foster Parents � Person of Sufficient Interest
Digest: A chambers judge designated foster parents as persons of sufficient interest in relation to a child whom they were fostering. The child�s grandmother, who had earlier been designated a person of sufficient interest, had opposed the application. She appealed the decision. She argued that foster parents, as agents of the state, aligning themselves against a family member could result in an imbalance of power that diminished the objective of family reunification contrary to the purposes of The Child and Family Services Act. She asserted that if a designation of foster parents as persons of sufficient interest is opposed, a chambers judge should direct that the matter be determined at trial as part of the protection hearing. The Ministry and foster parents argued that persons of sufficient interest simply have party status to the proceeding.
HELD: The appeal was dismissed. The designation of someone as a person of sufficient interest can confer something more than party status only. It can have legal and practical implications, including disclosure of confidential information, full participation in pre-trial and trial, and may ultimately influence the outcome of a protection hearing. However, there is no basis in law to support the position that all applications for designation must be made to a trial judge. It is a matter of law that such application may be made in chambers. The designation is discretionary. Thus, the appropriate standard of review is deference. The chambers judge was clearly aware of the heightened obligation on foster parents to establish that they have a sufficiently close connection to the child. He did not fail to act judicially, nor was his decision clearly wrong.
- Child and Family Services Act, SS 1989-90, c C-7.2, s 3 ...