NDP bill to help grandparents with access to their grandchildren passes third reading

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Algoma-Manitoulin NDP MPP Michael Mantha’s Private Member’s Bill 34 – Children’s Law Reform Amendment Act: Relationship with Grandparents has passed it’s third reading in the Ontario legislature. This bill was conceived in order to ensure grandparents the rights to access and develop relationships with their grandchildren. It is estimated that in Ontario, over 75,000 grandparents have been denied the ability to visit or see their grandchildren, with well over 112,000 grandchildren losing contact with their grandparents.

Mantha was supported by members of the Alienated Grandparents Anonymous group, families and grandparents across Ontario. Mantha said, “I am very happy to see this bill pass. This will most definitely help many grandparents and grandchildren across the province. This is about grandchildren’s rights and maintaining a nurturing and loving relationship with their grandparents. It’s time for Ontario to catch up to other provinces and act in the best interest of our children.”

This legislation will ensure that courts consider the merits of individual cases and determine granting access, not by mere default, but rather based on whether contact would be appropriate in the circumstances. With the passing of this legislation Ontario joins Saskatchewan, Yukon, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia that have already recognized this issue within custody arrangement proceedings.

The bill is expected to receive Royal Assent and become law in Ontario before the legislature adjourns for the holidays.

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