Bill would give Ontario grandparents more rights
Published Thursday, April 24, 2008 6:14PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 8:06PM EDT
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