On April 7, 2020, the Honourable Judge P. Bond of the British Columbia Provincial Court issued a judgment in a case involving a health care worker who had been exposed to Covid-19. The father denied the mother, who worked in the healthcare field, her parenting time due to concerns surrounding the mother’s exposure to Covid-19. The mother applied for return of the child and assured the court that she is following every precaution recommended to nurses. While the parents agreed to the child’s return, Judge Bond set out some guidance on this issue. At paragraph 22, Judge Bond states:
 I find a constellation of factors to consider, in assessing what is in a child’s best interests. In this situation, the following factors are relevant:
- Whether the child is at an elevated risk of suffering the more severe consequences of the virus;
- Whether either party, or those in their household are at an elevated risk of suffering the more severe consequences of the virus;
- Each party’s exposure to the risk of contracting the virus;
- Steps taken by each party to mitigate the risk of exposure;
- All of the relevant factors listed under s. 37 of the Family Law Act, including:
- The child’s health and emotional well-being;
- The child’s views, where appropriate;
- The child’s relationship with each parent;
- The history of the child’s care;
- The child’s need for stability, given his age and stage of development;
- Each parent’s ability to exercise his or her parental responsibilities;
- The ability of each party to cooperate in parenting the child; and
- In the larger context, society’s need to maintain and access resources in the community, including health care and other ventures that provide services and income for families in a safe manner over an extended period of time.
Ultimately, Judge Bond concluded that the child should continue to have parenting time with his mother, despite there being some risk she could contract the virus. She was mitigating the risk by abiding by all precautions.
Read the full decision here.
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