Precedent – In Quebec, a father, denied visitation rights to his twice-vaccinated child because he is unvaccinated and is an adherent of the “conspiracy theory” regarding vaccination.
Superior Court Judge Sébastien Vaillancourt ruled that the order was issued to protect a 12-year-old child who is twice vaccinated, given his father’s “unvaccinated” vaccination status and the fact that “the pandemic situation has since developed unfavorably because of the Omicron option.”
“It is normally in the child’s best interest to have contact with the father, but it is not in the child’s best interest to have contact if he is unvaccinated and opposes public health measures in the current epidemiological context,” the judge wrote in his Dec. 23, 2021 order.
The father admitted in court that he had not been vaccinated against COVID-19. The judge also called him a “conspiracy theorist” based on data from his Facebook page, “so the court has good reason to doubt that he respects public health measures as he claims in his written statement,” the ruling said.
This is not the first time a Quebec judge has intervened in a family dispute over the COVID-19 vaccine. In October, Superior Court Judge Chantal Lamarche ruled that a 12-year-old boy from the Montreal suburb of Longueuil was entitled to two doses of the vaccine, despite the objections of his father, who was unable to produce any evidence in court that the vaccinations could be dangerous.
The case comes at a time when opinions are polarly divided over the rollout of a mass vaccination campaign, especially in Quebec, where Prime Minister François Legault vowed Tuesday to impose a health tax on adults who refuse vaccinations for non-medical reasons.
The family lawyer said this family law case highlights a debate about the relationship between individual and collective rights, as the father had to make a difficult choice: keep his beliefs or keep his relationship with his son.
“I think we live in difficult times, but there are some values that clash, and this decision is an example of two values that clash,” she said.