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Top Five 2009: AC v Manitoba (Director of Child and Family Services)

Each year at OJEN’s Toronto Summer Law Institute, a judge from the Court of Appeal for Ontario identifies five cases that are of significance in the educational setting. This summary, based on these comments and observations, is appropriate for discussion and debate in the classroom setting.

AC v Manitoba (Director of Child and Family Services), 2009 SCC 30, [2009] 2 SCR 181

This case examined the ability of the courts to order medical treatment for childrenless than 16 years of age. A 14-year-old female Jehovah’s Witness rejected a necessary blood transfusion due to her religious beliefs, but an applications judge ordered that she receive the blood transfusion pursuant to the Child and Family Services Act.  The Supreme Court of Canada determined that the Child and Family Services Actwas constitutional because the Act allows individuals less than 16 years of age to lead evidence proving their ability to exercise mature and independent judgment.  Convincing evidence would allow individuals that are less than 16 years old to make their own decision regarding treatment. The full decision is available here.

Key Words: Constitutional Law – Family Law – Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Fundamental Justice (s.7) – Equality [s.15(1)] – Freedom of Religion – Blood Transfusion – Jehovah’s Witness – Youth – Children – Medical Treatment

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