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Grandparents Rights Canada: Know the Legal Issues

Grandparents Rights Canada-Know the Legal Issues Featured Image

Grandparents are the keepers of the family’s traditions and the most important individuals after parents. However, due to some unfortunate events, such as divorce, not every kid gets the chance to keep in contact with them.

After separation, complicated issues with custody of the child can make it difficult for the grandparent to meet the children. However, certain sections of the law allow you to stay in touch with the kid. If you face the same legal problems, read the article below to know how your lawyer can help you win the Grandparents rights Canada.

What Does the Law Say Regarding Grandparent’s Right?

Last year, the related authority modified the grandparents’ rights in Canada for the Divorce Act and Children’s Law Reform Act. A new section named Contact Orders was added in the Lawbook. This modification will clear the concept of contact between a child and anyone other than the spouse.

The old section- Custody Orders, limited the access and custody to either the mother or the father. And if non-parents wanted to make contact with the kid, they had to take permission from that parent.

Fortunately, after the changes have been made (in section 16.5), any third party, for example, grandparents or anyone important to the child, can also apply for a contact order and, in some cases, for the custody of the child.

However, under variable circumstances, if you are looking for the Parenting Order for the children, you can also apply to the court with section 21(2) law. But the process is long and quite complicated. You can seek lawyers for successful child custody.

The Complications of Contact Order:

The contact order for grandparents in both Divorce Act and Children’s Law Reform Act focuses on the child’s wellbeing and best interest rather than what the parents or grandparents want. Even so, in different circumstances, different complications may arise. You must consider hiring a family lawyer if you are facing any of the following problems:

Parents are Living Together but are Unwilling to Give Access

This clause refers to the issue when the parents of a child are legally married and live together. Together they can add a clause in the will or write a notarized statement regarding who is getting the access to spend time with the children. Due to problems with their in-laws, many parents take legal actions stating that the interaction with the grandparents does not benefit the child.

In this case, the grandparents have to show sufficient evidence of their relationship with the children. The case will be preferable if their grandchild wishes to stay connected with them.

In Cases of Separation or Death

The Contact Order cases become more complicated when one of the parents of the children has died or got separated after divorce. Conflictions between grandparents and parents or step-parents’ adaptation after remarriage may hamper the rights. The parent with primary decision-making rights can prohibit anyone from visiting the child.

But with new changes in law, grandparents are allowed to apply for a Contact Order in such cases. Like the previous case, the child’s wish will be viewed with much preference.

Parents Want to Take Back the Custody from Grandparent

This is an exceptional case where somehow the parents could not take care of the children after birth or some year after that due to illness, career, civil or criminal activities or drug addiction. During that period, the grandparents were the caregiver. The problem arises when the parents claim their children back without permitting the grandparents to meet.

Although the case is favorable for the grandparents if they want to have legal guardianship, the parents may still have the upper hand because the parent’s presence in a child’s life is also crucial. However, the case will be solved with who serves the better lifestyle for the kid. If you want to know what grandparents have rights in Canada, continue reading.

Types of Access:

The authority has decided to set four types of access to preserve Grandparents’ legal rights in Canada or any non-parent person other than the spouse.

  1. Reasonable:

To take part in activities such as education, training, camping, or caring for the child, grandparents can visit their grandchild.

  1. Fixed

If the third party is an important person to the kid and helps in any socio-emotional development, the court awards the contact order. But they will have to visit on a fixed date and cannot oppose any court orders/notices.

  1. Supervised

Grandparents can have contact rights only when the parents supervise the meeting.

  1. No

They have the right to make decisions that can completely prohibit any contact between the grandparents and their grandkids.

How will the Court Make Decision?

As long as you are concerned about the parents’ consent as a grandparent, the court and jury board will surely keep that under consideration. But, if the court thinks that the award is beneficial to the child’s mental and physical conditions, the grandparents can still win the case.

After the hearing is done, the court will only award the grandparents’ right to spend time with the children while considering the following matters:

  • Child’s preferences and views considering age and maturity
  • The mental stability of the child is ensured
  • Nature of the relationship between the grandparents and the spouse
  • History of the childcare of the non-parent party
  • Differences in religious, cultural or linguistic views
  • Capabilities of grandparents to fulfil the kid’s necessities
  • The willingness of the parents to continuous communication and assistance regarding the childcare
  • Ensuring overall safety, wellbeing, and security of the child.

When Family Violence is Present:

If the parents are separated because of family violence, the victim’s father or mother can ask the court not to contact the grandparents of the party at fault.

  • The wishes of the primary parents will be strongly considered
  • Pieces of evidence of violence, threatening, abuse, or harassing history by the grandparents
  • Interaction with the previous impact on the child
  • Reasons behind limiting or inhibiting the time of abusing parent

To fight such cases, you need to file a petition with the family court for revoking the rights of contacting your kid. The abusive parent may visit the kid when they are at their grandparents, affecting their mental health. With proper shreds of evidence and the experience of a skilled lawyer, you can win this case without much difficulty.


To understand legal rights and regulations as a grandparent, seek assistance from legal firms. Even though there are complications and complex cases, the courts and jury boards always try to restore the bond between grandparents and grandchildren legally with the Grandparents rights Canada.

Moreover, keep in mind that you can lose third-party custody without the help of an experienced lawyer. No matter how many years you have raised the child without a formal agreement, you need to know your rights to avoid any controversial legal issue.


1. Do Grandparents’ Have Rights to Grandchildren in Canada?

The answer to this question is yes, but the grandparents need to fulfill certain criteria to receive the rights legally. The court allows visitation and guardianship while highly considering the children’s interests and wishes and grandparent’s financial capability.

2. What Rights Do Grandparents’ Have in Canada?

Grandparents can have the following rights awarded by the court after proper discussion, sufficient evidence, parent’s consent and most importantly, what the child want.

  • Visitation
  • Guardianship
  • Adoption

3. Can a Mother Stop Grandparents from Seeing Grandchildren in Canada?

If a history of violence is in the family and the child has an abusive father, a mother can apply for such a petition. She can send legal notice where all the causes will be listed. A mother can take such action to protect her kid as the abusive father can cause harm when the child is under the supervision of the paternal grandparent.