The appellant mother, HD, and the respondent father, DD, were married and have two young children together. During the marriage, the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) became involved because of concerns for the children’s mental and emotional wellbeing as a result of exposure to domestic violence. Following separation, there were several incidents following which DD pleaded guilty to criminal harassment HD.
HD was later granted sole custody on a consent Order. CAS recommended against unsupervised access for the father, but DD refused to engage in supervised access. After receiving a positive and supportive response from CAS, HD moved with the children to Alberta. At this point, the father had not seen the children for nearly 6 months.
DD brought a motion to vary the consent Order to gain custody of the children. An ex parte Order was made in Ontario ordering HD to return the children to DD’s temporary care while the motion to vary was adjourned. HD returned to Ontario for the hearing while the children remained in Alberta as per an arrangement with child welfare authorities.