Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bill 33 Grandparents Rights...Long Overdue

I'm proud to say Kim Craitor is my MPP. Kim has brought forward this cutting edge Private Members bill and, in my opinion, it is a long overdue piece of legislation.

Bill would give Ontario grandparents more rights
Updated Thu. Apr. 24 2008 6:14 PM ET

A private member's bill that would give grandparents in Ontario better access to their grandchildren is one step closer to becoming law.

Bill 33, drafted by Niagara Falls Liberal MPP Kim Craitor, received second reading in the Ontario legislature on Thursday. The proposal will now go to a committee for further examination.

If passed, Craitor's proposal would require courts to consider the relationship of children to their grandparents as part of a custody case involving the kid's parents, or if a parent dies and the grandchildren are taken away.

The legislation would also guarantee grandparents court-ordered visitation rights.

"We often forget that we must speak for the grandchildren, and that's what my bill does," Craitor told the legislature on Thursday.

"Far too often, as many of you may know in this House, after a messy divorce, for example, access to children of the marriage has unfortunately been used as a lethal weapon.

"Spite, hatred, revenge and anger can be an awful thing, but no child, no child, should be used as a weapon."

Craitor says many seniors are on fixed pensions and don't have the money to go to court to fight for standing or rights.

The bill, the third time Craitor has introduced it, received support from all parties on Thursday.

"I cannot imagine being refused access to Olivia, my granddaughter, my own flesh and blood, and I hope that I never have to go through that," said Progressive Conservative MPP Joyce Savoline. "Grandparents bring so much to a child's life."

New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo asked why the bill wasn't introduced by the governing Liberals, instead of as a private member's bill.

About 75,000 grandparents in Ontario are denied access to their grandchildren, meaning more than 100,000 grandchildren have been cut off from their grandmother and grandfather, CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss reported.

Craitor says he has received thousands of emails, letters and phone calls from constituents in support of his bill.

He said similar laws to protect grandparents already exist in Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Yukon.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss

For those of us that are or were close to our grandparents and who have children of our own that are close to their granparents, we know how important this bill is.


Geekwad said...

I find this less than thrilling. It spun as protection for children, but it's actually privilege for seniors. Great way to get votes, at any rate.

Lots of people love children. Many people who love a child (and vice versa) aren't even a blood relative. What is so special about grandparents? And what's the deal with commutative rights? Do great-grand parents also have rights to their even more distant progeny? Why not uncles and aunts? Nannies who worked more than three years? This just strikes me a silly an arbitrary.

James Curran said...

Really? Oh boy!

Daniella said...

I am disgusted by even the notion of this bill. Coming from a dysfunctional family and being estranged from my parents on and off for years; being told I am dead to them on more than one occasion, it is my right to protect my child from being exposed to this dysfunction. This bill would entitle the so-called "grandparents" to more rights then they deserve. As a parent it is my job to protect my child from such dysfunction and this bill would deny me such rights. Someone needs to stop this from happening!

James Curran said...

Um. That's not the function of this bill. Each case would be heard on its own merit.

Here's a not-so-hypothetical case.

You're a divorced mom with custodial joint custody. And, although the father has "joint custody", he is generally absent, perhaps not even living in the same province.

And, because you are a single mom, you have to go out and earn some income, thereby leaving the children in the care of the "grandparents" who live in the same town as you. The kids love gram and gramps and they are, for the most part the world to them, just as your were while you were the apple of their eye.

To make matters worse, the father has a few addictions, wo you worry about the children when and if they are with them. You fear for them so much so that you can't sleep well when they are with your ex.

Then, suddenly, on a dark road, on your way home from work, you are blindsided by a transport truck and parish in the insuing wreck.

And, since there is a joint custody order, your ex now gets to have your children all to himself. No visitation required for gram and gramps after helping raise those kids for say the last 10 years of their lives while their father gallavanted all over the country hardly giving a damn about their very existance.

Really now. You wouldn't want your parents to fight for the children. Really?

Daniella said...

I think the case you presented is a sad one and a special case. Unfortunately after reading the proposed bill it is not outlined for only a case such as this. It is quite broad and general and opens the door for any grandparent regardless of their deserved level to fight for rights to their grandchild and it becomes a battle of money and who can afford to fight the battle in court longer. This Bill may have the best of intents but many laws are written for ideal situations that are then twisted for ill-intent. This is going to create more harm than good for many and take away the rights of the parents to choose how they wish to raise their children and what is best for their children...

James Curran said...

Well D., just so you know, family law in Ontario is ridiculous even in best case scenarios. There is never any right or wrong answer. The courts still favour a mother over a father. All kinds of injustices happen on a daily basis. Substance abuse mothers get custody over working fathers and vice versa.

This law allows grandparents to have a right to petition. Like it or not, there are thousands and thousands of grandchildren and grandparents that should be allowed visitation. Teh scenario I just gave you is pretty close to one that just happened in my own life. It happens, and for the sake of the children, their grandparents should have the right to take them from a dangerous and abusive situation.

Of course, the alternative could be that FACS steps in and the kids end up in foster care. That's always nice.

providentially said...

The example you propose may be one for which such legislation was intended, but you, and I, and every intelligent, news-reading citizen know that legislation such as this is often - frighteningly so - applied heavy-handedly by the courts. While the job of our judiciary may be to apply our laws narrowly, and with focus and without extraneous interpretation, this is, quite simply, often not the case.

Any legislation which can serve to effectively suspend the rights of parents and award rights to non-parents should be approached diligently, warily, and with a VERY critical mind. Moreover, I fail to see how broadly written legislation serves the best interest of any citizen, regardless of age.

I do not think that this piece of legislation is a valuable one; while the motivation behind its proposal may be justified, the possible results could be devastating to some families, families truly undeserving of such effects.

Colin said...

Another example :

A couple has a child and both agree that one set of the grandparents are volataile and vindictive, and as a result they will not expose their child to that. The "grandmother" decides to sue for access to the child so she can "tell her grandchild how horrible their parents are".

Even if they win, this young couple has to go so far into debt that they may not recover, and as a result who suffers?.. the child.

If they lose then the child ends up as a pawn, much like they do during divorce.

I agree that spite, hatred, revenge and anger are terrible things, but just because someone is a grandparent doesn't mean they aren't those things.

The intent of this bill was good, but it is too vague, and can be interpreted to many ways

providentially said...

I absolutely agree. The examples provided by MPP's as evidenced in Hansard are all positive and of loving, caring, wonderful grandparents...but many are not! There are unfit grandparents who could abuse the purported intent of this bill as a means of obtaining access to grandchildren whom they should not see. Vague terms like "reasonable"(as used in the proposed legislation) do not go nearly far enough to prevent such abuses.

Most importantly, who concluded that our provincial legislators know better than parents, such as myself, what is best for my child?

grandma in tears said...

My husband and I are being denied access to our young grandchild simply because her mother and I had a disagreement about the new man in her life. She herself told me he has beaten her, has a drug problem and more things detrimental to a safe environment for our grandchild. CAS is already involved. Prior to this guy coming into their lives,(who my grandchild does not like, but or course has no say in the matter) we had a very close relationship, including daily phone contact, overnight visits at least twice a month and more. Now because of this ridiculous argument and the hold he has over them, we can't even see her? Hows that for justice? Since this all started my daughter has made all kinds of allegations against us and the services she's involved with (including CAS) can't even speak to us without her consent, so we don't even know what she's telling them, or our grandchild as to why she can't see us anymore. The only way to gain access is thru the court system in cases like this. If there are any lawyers
reading this who may have an interest in this case, please comment on this site with info.

Grandma in Tears.
Grandma in tears

Suzanne said...

I am a grandparent who is very lucky that when my son so foolishly threw away his family and my granddaughter's mother met and married that I still have access to my granddaughter. She is legally not our granddaughter as she was adopted by her step-father. Many people are not as lucky as us. And People use their children when they get angry to hurt others. I don't remember my paternal grandmother as I hadn't seen her after I was 2 and my parent's split up. She died before I was old enough to have a say. I would not want the same fate for my grandchildren. I believe unless there is abuse involved (and in those cases the child should have no contact with the persons) then there should be contact.

deniedgrand said...

I am a grandparent who has not seen my son or my three grands, for nearly 4 years. We had a fall out, and since I moved away, he and his wife no longer feel that I am his mother or even the grandmother to these children.

Jane said...

I am quite sure there are thousands of people out there who love kids! But heck....I don't remember a single one driving at 3:30 a.m. to a drug bust to retrieve my Grand Children? That would be me. Grand Ma. I did it because I love my Grandchildren and up until now I had no power to help them. I tried to no avail. They are with me now. Safe and structured and loved. I consider myself far from dysfunctional, sorry for those of you that have experienced this. I am almost sure that is what screenings are for? There is an epidemic of young drug ridden parents out there and there are allot of scared children. This bill is most certainly needed. For those of you who don't think so, you could not have possibly experienced the situation first hand. If you haven't, I pray you never do. One of the hardest things in the world is to watch your grandchild cry as you drive away, knowing there is not a damn thing you can do.
These 2 beautiful children are with me now. I for one pray this bill goes through. There is no grey area. Loving 'functional' grand parents should be 1st choice.

Faye said...

well my comment was erased when I went to sign up and am too tired to continue.
Suffice to say in BC
the Liberals have taken almost all emergency monies away from the child benefit; Department of Social Assistance causing over 351 children to die " in care", in 4 years.
There is little hope of children being safe once they leave the family unit.

suzanne evans said...

I just read this blog. I'm a grandmother of a 4 year old boy. My 28 year old son is denying me access - why? Becasus I was stupid enough to challenge HIM on his treatment of me, his own mother. My son has been verbally, emotionally and financially abusive towards me since he was 14. His "partner" left the boy with him, and the only reason that he was granted custody is that he was the only parent who bothered to show up in court! BUT anytime he feels like it, he hands the boy off to his "incompetent" (his words) mother for days to a week at a time. Suddenly she's a fit parent.

The only consistent, stable home the boy has ever known has been mine, as his father and his mother travel between new "Loves-of-the-week", and various "homes". Grandparents are essential to the health and wellbeing of a child, but every case is and must continue to be decided on its own merits. Yes, I know all about dysfunctional homes - my childhood went beyond dysfunctional and included booze, knives, guns, arson, sexual assault, physical violence and just about anything else. OPP cops were totally useless and so was CAS. BUT my son had absolutely none of that, yet he turned into an abuser anyway. NO child should live with someone like that.

Anonymous said...

I think the Law is not that bad, but it can be dangerous in the hands of bad grandparents, we are all aware of monster-in-law, believe me they do exist.
if a Mother isn't happy just for the mere fact that you are married to their child, they will found all sorts to keep in control of personal life, how else but through your offspring. I am speaking from experience, I have a court case at present, because my mother-in-law has taken my wife and I to court because she thinks we don't wnat her to see our child.
let me just give you flavour of things here, she didn't want to know about our lives until our child was born. all of a sudden she has a right, I think this law in a long run will break a lot of home if we are not care full, government should re think this thorougly. Finally can I just say that every parent will love to have a good Grandparent child relationship going, the only way a parent would stop thier pararents from visiting their home is if they are bad grand parent. food for though. Grand parents remember only good parents become good grand parents.

Anonymous said...

grandparents should stop using their grand children to fill in a void ion their lives, it is totally unfair on everyone and it is total greed done in the pretence of emotion.

Anonymous said...

good law, but dangerous in the hands of bad and poisonous grandparents.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should be asking ourselves, why would parents stop their kids from seeing their grandparents. There is no smoke without fire.

Anonymous said...

Grandparents, stop playing this emotional lovey stock game.
get a life. Stop looking to use peoples children to make yours better.

Anonymous said...

Grandparents, if your children don't want you to see your grand kids, get over it, there is always a reason. take up some new sport. stop trying to get over your lonely lives by stealing other peoples children, especially when you don't even get on with your own kids. I don't blame you I blame the law makers. they have lost the plot and you are just exploiting.

Anonymous said...

Grandma in tears.
get a grip, you are just jealous of your daughters new found joy.
Please if you really think that something bad is happening get the police in to investigate, and please if the parents are cleared, please let them be peacefully and you get on with your lonely life.
stop traumatising your daugher

Anonymous said...

Okay, that was pretty weird.

I think bloodlines are a stupid way to establish proprietary rights over humans.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I can say that I argreed but disagree. I currently do not allow ONLY MY MOTHER not to see my kids as she is verbally and physically abusive to me, even now at 38 years old, and my children. She is mentally unstable. I have been told by legal authorities to keep my kids away. She started this "Rights" in her yard and broadcasted it. Now she's taking me court for what? She don't even know. Access or custody. But she hasn't even mentioned the kids fathers in all this...I think giving grandparents rights should be decided with the parents when there are two parents involved and no conflict. Any parent that was AND stil is verbally and physically abusive to their children/grandchildren should not be allowed. Not even access. The people need to weigh the odds on WHY a grandparent/grandparents are not allowed to see thier grandchildren. There is always good reasons to 90% of why they are denied visits. What about children that has parents that are not together. One weekend is one parents, the next the other parent. Same with holidays. What if the child/ren don't want to see the grandparents? Alot to consider and I don't think it should be up to the government to decide this rights. Nobody is thinking of the children, just themselves as I see it.

madcleaner said...

I have to agree but disagree with some of the above comments from some of the authors. However I wouldl like to put a different twist on the table. Grandparents who are not allowed to see their grandkids because of parents posining the childrens minds about grandparents because they don't get their way so they make things up to destroy any relationship still left. Mothers that think that they have all of the answers and believe that grandparents are there for a financial support and when the grandparent starts to realise that the money is going fast and fast so tries to put the brakes on so they are kick to the side of the road like a bag of Sh*t. Kid however do grow up someday and the start to think more and more for theirselves but most of the time it is to late to recover the mess that has happened by overpowering meadling momthers who don't want there kids to choose for themselves.

As a grandparent I a of a week ago not allow any further contact with any of my three not saying I want to have a relationship with all of them. ONLY TIME WILL TELL if and WHEN I every be contected or see them again. BUT YES I AM READY TO FIGHT FOR IT AND I HAVE MY POSIN TO USE IF I HAVE TO BUT IT WILL PUT TYHE KIDS AT RISK.

Donna said...

another grandmother in tears. I have a very similiar story. I have been very close to my daughter and 2 granddaughters until very recently when she became involved with a guy. I have been arguing with my daughter over this relationship. The guy had 2 recent charges of domestic violence and 1 count of breach. My daughter was aware of this when she hooked up with this guy 2 months ago. This guy has totally taken control of my daughter life. She no longer talks to family, because we don't agree with the relationship. She doesn't understand our concern for her safety and the girls. I now have no access to my granddaughters, whom i have been very close to for 10 years. The oldest practicly lived with us. Her sister is 5. My heart breaks kowing that i may not see them again and how confused they must be feeling. How is this fair. We need a law that protects grandparents rights.

Anonymous said...

I think their are many parents who want to get back at their parents by not allowing them to see their children. The children are being denied the love of their grandparents and are being used as pawns to punish the grandparents.

This is our new entitlement generation and if they don't get what they want...they will get back at you.

I have 3 grow and married children, married and with their own families. I see two of my children regularly and their children. I am allowed to see those grandkids whenever I want too.

I have never laid eyes on my one son's 2 children because he and his wife have been angry at me for many years for various dumb reasons. Personally I think there may be drugs involved or mental illness as they won't have anything to do with anyone from my son's past...friends, family, brothers and sisters...Noone!

I am hoping that I am given an opportunity to allow the courts to decide if it is in my grandkids best interest to know their own family and to partake in their heritage.

I hope this law sends a clear message to immature young parents such as my son and his wife who think they can play head games and use their children as pawns.

Children are not to be used for self serving reasons by anyone.

Children need to be protected. Some children should be protected from their grandparents and others from their parents.

Let the courts decide.

Anonymous said...

I hope the law will address and fix the problem for grandparents access for the childrens sake.

Kids tend to be more resilient if they live in hopeful, helpful and connected communities. Kids tend to be resilient if their families are hopeful and optimistic and have taught their kids how to resolve problems.

Disputes between families and ongoing hard feelings have an negative impact on children.

Alienating children from their families by pretending to protect them is abuse.

A good parent will put their own feelings aside and put their childs best interests first. Good parents will want to foster a healthy minded child and don't have to worry about the grands taking them to court for access.

It is imparitive for a child to know their roote for their own self develpoment.

I feel this new law will provide an avenue to bring families back togeather.

gailjrichardson said...

Grandparents Rights are very important not only to use but our grandchildren. I hope that someday all grandparents will be allowed to see their grandchildren

Betty said...

Since 1997 we have presented 5 bills for grandparents rights we need EVER grandparent to support Bill # 22.

See access


Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you are doing something to help those of us grandparents who because our children are angry with us for some reason that we may be able to have a relationship with our grandchild - I would be willing for supervised visit's if that what it took to see my grandchild.

Betty said...

Bill 22 still has not been passed....Please do whatever you can to put pressure on the governement to do this !

Anonymous said...

is there any petition against passing this bill? I would like to sign that one. This change is too vague in the hands of dysfunctional and abusive grandparents.

Anonymous said...

Try ANY kind of legal recourse when your grandchildren live in different country and you are being denied visits. Heartbroken grandmother. I wish you all the very best.

Anonymous said...

I agree that any bill such as this needs to be specific. I would like those people who are against the bill to speak to any of the thousands of devastated GOOD grandparents who are denied the opportunity to visit with and love their grandchildren. You may be a little more understanding.

Anonymous said...

After spending 3 years in court and almost $40,000.00 in attorney fees I lost against those no good control freak parents of mine. Now I am facing bankruptcy. They're fucking lucky I haven't kicked their sorry asses yet, along with that jew lawyer of theirs. You old fucks better consider whether or not it is worth ending up in a wheelchair and a feeding tube.

Kerri said...

Why hasn't the Bill gone to it's 3rd reading?
as for the post above mine, maybe the reason you lost is due to your obvious inability to control your temper, threats will get you no where and are certainly not good for the children.
JAMES, please post and let me know who to contact and get this bill pushed through.

James Curran said...

Kim Craitor. He's still the MPP in Niagara Falls. It's his bill and it should be revisited after the election with a new co-sponsor.

Anonymous said...

I think this bill should have been passed long ago. I am currently going through this issue with my daughter who entered a new relationship 10 months ago with a guy that is very controlling and she needs his approval before i can access my grandchildren that i helped raise for 11 years while she was a single mother of 2 girls. Now i'm treated as an outsider. The cost to go to court is outragous.


Lonely NANA

Anonymous said...

This situation is affecting more children and seniors than anyone knows. It's an epidemic!

Young parents are proud of alineating their children and encourage other young parents to do the same.

These situations used to be seen when young parents divorced BUT NOW there are an alarming number of intact couples aleinating their children to spite a parent.

What a bunch of messed up children Ontario is breeding.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This board is a great find.
Anyhow, I think the real losers are the children when they are denied their grandparents. Family tie connections are important part of a kids development. If a child is lucky enough to have living grandparents they can be a good influence in a child's life. I don't like my inlaws but I would never deny my kids their love. They are good to my kids.

Anonymous said...

I quit talking to my mother over three years ago. I did not have any children at the time and am currently having my first child with my husband. We are both responsible adults in our thirties. The idea that I should have to allow a this woman into my life and my child's life simply because she gave birth to me is wrong. I removed her from my life because it was an unhealthy relationship. The idea that she could go to court to try and have access is ridiculous. The financial burden this puts on people and the stress to an already over stressed legal system is outrageous.

Anonymous said...

Governments have an obligation to protect children from the emotional abuse that parents are inflicting by denying children their enherant support system. Parents who socially isolate children from forming family connections without just cause are dysfunctional and unfit and they have violated their parental trust as decision maker for that child. Many parents who alienate their child are instilling hate and fear and prejudice in the child. Children have the right to be loved by and feel that they belong to their groups of people from which they came from. These situations have ballooned and become public issues that require policy changes in Ontario. We teach children not to bully, yet we allow parents to bully the child's grandparents ?? Grandparents today are unwanted, neglected and bullied ! That's a fact !

Faye said...

James this has been my life for almost eleven years. My poor grandchildren are suppressed constantly. The eldest, now fifteen now seeks rewards for obedience such as requesting and getting expensive 'toys' Ipods, all kids of technilogical stuff that is way beyond the parents' means. My granddaughter is still very precious at 12 but will she sucuumb I wonder. Prior to the eleven years the children were screamed at, with-held special, tasty foods while the parents got the cream of everything. I contacted the social services and the children were taken away for the night. I expect they were assessing for bruising etc. That would not happen however; it is the emotional and spiritual bruising that happened/happens. I pray. And I pray they will be safe and happy. Just lately after my daughter tried to choke me in the children's presence she had me blocked from ther cell tel, and Facebook. The other grandparents in MB have been dealt the same way. Now they have no grandparents they can communicate with....

Family Attorneys said...

I think you are correct many parents spent his money in fulfillment of necessity of his children . They have no any money to fight for his visitation rights in Illinois.