A Quebec man has lost his child visitation rights after a Superior Court judge issued a temporary suspension on the grounds that he is not vaccinated and appears to oppose the province’s COVD-19 public health measures.
“It would normally be in the best interest of the child to have contact with his father, but it is not in his best interest to have contact with him if he is not vaccinated and is opposed to health measures in the current epidemiological context,” Judge Jean-Sébastien Vaillancourt wrote in his ruling on Dec. 23.
“However, the suspension of Mister’s access must be for a short period since the situation related to the pandemic is changing rapidly, even more so with regard to the Omicron variant, and it may be necessary to reassess the situation in the short term.”
Vaillancourt’s ruling came after the father requested to have access to his 12-year-old son for one more day over the Christmas holidays. His request was contested by the boy’s mother, who requested all access be suspended after learning he is unvaccinated, “anti-vaccine,” and a “conspiracy theorist,” according to the judgment.
The father told the court he did not get the shots due to his “reservations about the COVID-19 vaccines.” He added that he has respected the province’s public health measures and has hardly left his house.
But the mother produced excerpts from the father’s Facebook page containing articles and messages such as “Quebec Stand-up,” “Report from Lucie Laurier which you won’t find on French CBC,” and “Masks are useless.”
“The excerpts from Mister’s Facebook page leads one to believe that he is indeed what is commonly called a ‘conspiracy theorist,’” Vaillancourt wrote. “The Court has strong reason to doubt that he is respecting the health measures as he claims to do in his written statement.”
Vaillancourt reasoned that even though the son has been fully vaccinated, the protection is not enough for him to meet his unvaccinated father, especially in light of the Omicron variant that is currently spreading in Quebec.
The judge also noted that the couple has two other children aged seven months and 5 years old, and who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. In Quebec, children under 5 are not offered vaccination.
In view of these circumstances, it is not in the interests of any of the three children that the father can exercise access at this time, Vaillancourt wrote.
The judge set another hearing for Feb. 8.
The Canadian Press and Noé Chartier contributed to this report