August 25th, 2022

// Ontario Family Lawyers Say Coronavirus Vaccine Dispute Involving 12-Year-Old Breaks New Legal Ground

Ontario Family Lawyers Say Coronavirus Vaccine Dispute 
Involving 12-Year-Old Breaks New Legal Ground
Judge found pre-teen was capable of deciding on her own to not get vaccinated

TORONTO, Ontario—Longtime family lawyer Russell Alexander said a recent Ontario case involving a preteen who did not want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus could portend more judicial skepticism on the issue.

The case involved divorced parents who have joint custody of their 12-year-old daughter. The father asked the court to order that the daughter be vaccinated against the coronavirus and receive any other upcoming vaccines in keeping with provincial health regulations.

But the mother declined, saying that while she did not object to the vaccine, the daughter did, even going as far as emailing the mother’s lawyer to flatly declare that she did not want to be vaccinated and that nothing would change her mind.

In a decision rejecting the father’s request,Superior Court Judge J. Christopher Corkery found that the 12-year-old was a “mature minor” who could decide on her own and said that the science around the vaccine is still changing.

“This case is notable because judges have typically backed vaccination by taking the best interest of the child into account,” said Alexander, founder of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers, which has offices throughout Ontario. “In this new phase of the pandemic, it’s possible that judges may take more of a hands-off approach.”

Alexander said that disputes between divorced parents rose sharply during the pandemic on such issues as whether children should be going to school in-person, staying with parents at risk of exposure due to their jobs and getting vaccinated. He said that disputes also tend to rise just before school starts in the fall.

“Making decisions on how to raise children is already contentious when parents are divorced, and the pandemic just added another layer of strain,” added Alexander. “The court’s decision to recognize a preteen as having the ability to make decisions here will only make these cases more tricky to resolve in the future.”


RussellAlexander Collaborative Family Lawyers 
Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers is committed to practicing exclusively in the area of family law in Ontario dealing with all aspects, including separation and divorce, child custody and access, spousal support, child support, and division of family property. A team of lawyers provide guidance from start to finish, helping clients identify and understand the legal issues as well as the options and opportunities available through the transition. The firm has offices in Toronto, Concord, Markham, Whitby, Oshawa, Lindsay and Peterborough, Ontario.. 

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