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This case pertains to where a child should go to school.


The parties never married but were in a relationship for several years. They have a daughter who is 4 years old (“The Child”).

Both the Applicant mother and the Respondent father are unemployed. However, the Applicant plans to find employment once The Child begins school. The Respondent is unable to work because of 2 serious medical conditions.

Both parties have agreed to joint decision-making and to an equal division of parenting time on a weekly basis. However, the parties disagree over where The Child should go to school. The Applicant mother wants The Child to enroll in the school in her catchment area, and the Respondent father wishes for The Child to enroll in the school in his catchment area. Neither the Applicant nor the Respondent own cars.


  1. In which school should The Child be enrolled?


The Court determined that the best interests of the child principle must be considered when making the determination of where The Child should go to school, pursuant to Section 24 of the Children’s Law Reform Act (“CLRA”). The Court also noted that the interests of the parents are relevant only insofar as those interests influence the best interests of the child.

Section 24 of the CLRA lists factors that are relevant to finding the child’s best interests. In this case, the relevant factors include:

  1. The Child’s safety, security, and well-being;
  2. Her need for stability;
  3. The nature and strength of The Child’s relationships with her parents and other family members;
  4. Plans for The Child’s care;
  5. The ability of the parents and others to care for The Child; and
  6. The ability of those people to cooperate on matters affecting The Child.

The Applicant mother plans to return to work once The Child begins school. If her work makes it difficult to drop off or pick up her daughter from school, the Applicant plans to get assistance from her mother, sister, or niece, all of whom live near the school in the Applicant’s catchment area. Further, the Applicant’s older daughter from a previous relationship attends the high school in the same catchment area. So, she can walk with The Child to and from school.

By contrast, the Respondent father does not work and lives very close to the school in his catchment area. Thus, the Respondent claims that he will always be available to take the child to school and bring her home. He is also willing to provide assistance to the Applicant when she has parenting time. Essentially, the Respondent argues that his availability and proximity to his preferred school is a significant benefit to The Child, especially in case of an emergency.

The Applicant mother counters the Respondent’s position, arguing that the Respondent dislikes her family and wishes to keep The Child away from them. The Court notes that there is evidence to support this submission.

In addition, the Applicant argues that it is important for her to have employment. She claims that enrolling The Child in the Respondent’s preferred school would decrease the ability of her family to help her and it would put a geographic limit on her job search. This is because the Applicant would need to find an employer that takes into account the added travel time to the school in the Respondent’s catchment area. The Applicant also claims that since there is no foreseeable prospect of the Respondent’s ability to return to work, the Respondent has the extra time to travel to The Child’s school, so he should be the one required to do so.

Applying the Law

The Court ruled that it is in The Child’s best interests that the Applicant mother be employed. This is because the Respondent is unemployed and neither of The Child’s parents are wealthy. Thus, it would be an obvious benefit to the child’s security and stability for the Applicant mother to improve her financial position. The Court also determined that choosing the school in the Applicant’s catchment area will allow the Applicant greater flexibility in finding a new employer because she would not have to account for a longer travel time.

The Court noted that these benefits to the Applicant mother are important only because they are directly beneficial to The Child.

Furthermore, the Court determined that it is important that The Child’s relationships with her grandmother, aunt, cousins, and older sister be fostered. Thus, allowing them to be involved in The Child’s life is to be encouraged.


It is in The Child’s best interests that she be enrolled in the school in the Applicant mother’s catchment area.