Canadians agree Fathers are important to children!
1998’s Special Joint Committee of the Senate and Commons on Child Custody and Access Report entitled For the Sake of the Children.
· This committee, composed of members of both Houses of Parliament, held 55 hearings across the country, and heard testimony from over 500 Canadians, and received written submissions from many others. This Special Joint Committee reported to both Houses on December 9 and 10, 1998 it’s comprehensive report entitled For the Sake of the Children.
· The Committee in its Report made 48 recommendations to Parliament. About the most significant recommendation for shared parenting, Committee member Senator Mabel DeWare on November 16, 1999 speaking to the Throne Speech of October 12, 1999, said, at page 161 Senate Debates:
“The most important recommendation involved changes which recognized both mothers and fathers must continue to have an important role in their children's lives. These recommendations focus on the concept of shared parenting, which involves joint decision-making, with time-sharing and residential arrangements to be worked out between the parents. With shared parenting, both father and mother continue to be active in the care and nurturing of their children.”
· The two cornerstone recommendations of the Special Joint Committee’s Report, both on shared parenting, are Recommendations 5 and 6, being:
“Recommendation 5.This Committee recommends that the terms ‘custody and access’ no longer be used in the Divorce Act and instead that the meaning of both terms be incorporated and received in the new term ‘shared parenting’, which shall be taken to include all the meanings, rights, obligations, and common-law and statutory interpretations embodied previously in the terms ‘custody and access’.”
“Recommendation 6.This Committee recommends that the Divorce Act be amended to repeal the definition of ‘custody’ and to add a definition of ‘shared parenting’ that reflects the meaning ascribed to that term by this Committee.”
· Another pivotal recommendation of the Special Joint Committee’s Report, Recommendation 18, was on the need to correct the Federal Child Support Guidelines, being in part:
“Recommendation 18.Whereas the federal government is required by statute to review the Federal Child Support Guidelines within five years of their implementation, this Committee recommends that the Minister of Justice undertake as early as possible a comprehensive review of the Guidelines to reflect gender equality and the child's entitlement to financial support from both parents…”
The Committee’s Report was highly supported by the public and editorial comment in all media. Public opinion surveys also expressed national support for the Committee’s perspective and approach to parenting after divorce.
· The Compas poll for Southam News published November 23, 1998 during the same time as the Special Joint Committee’s Report, found that:
· 89% of Canadians believe the stress of divorce is more severe now than a generation ago; and that 70% of men and women say that courts do not pay enough attention to the needs of children;
· 62% of men and women feel the courts pay too little attention to the needs of fathers; and that 80% of Canadians believe that the children of divorce must maintain on-going relationships with their non-custodial parents;
· 65% of Canadians feel it is a priority that the Government should protect rights of the children to relationships with their non-custodial parents, and that no custodial parent should be allowed to bar this access.
· Angus-Reid Group opinion poll May 25, 1998 for the Globe and Mail said:
· 71% of Ontarians believe a women’s child support should be withheld if access is denied; and also that Ontarians are equally split as to whether, or not, jail terms are appropriate for access denial.
Many fathers feel that they are not treated equally or fairly during separation or divorce, especially when they wish to maintain their parenting relationship with their children. Sometimes their efforts to spend more time with their kids are pegged as suspect or as a means to reduce their child support obligation. The truth is that most fathers genuinely care about the health and welfare of their kids. More importantly, children miss spending time with their dads. Studies prove that consistent parenting time (access/visitation) greatly benefits children self-esteem especially during separation.
For kids, divorce and separation is a very scary time. They most often do not understand why it's happening and tend to blame themselves. Children may feel lost or vulnerable during this time. To help them through this difficult period, a consistent on-going parenting relationship with both parents can give them the feeling of security they need while eliminating the need to escape – teens, for example may use drugs or alcohol to forget about the pain of the family breakup.
Children suffer the greatest loss!
Loss of their family, stability, security and the benefits of parenting and guidance that they deserve and long for, from both of their parents. Let us help you remain an active parent.
YET SINCE DECEMBER 1998 all parties in Parliament have done nothing to implement andy of these recommendations.