Joint submission to the BC Law Institute on Parentage

In a joint submission, West Coast LEAF and Rise Women’s Legal Centre responded to the BC Law Institute’s (BCLI) Consultation Paper on Parentage. The Consultation Paper suggests reforms that will update and modernize  BC’s parentage laws under Part 3 of the Family Law Act (FLA).

Parentage is the legal relationship between a parent and child. In Canada’s colonial legal systems, parentage is a lifelong and unbreakable relationship that forms the basis of a child’s identity, citizenship, and inheritance rights. It is also a gateway through which parental responsibilities are recognized or granted, allowing a parent to protect, take care of, and make decisions about their child. The legal recognition of a child’s parents is thus critical to the child’s social, physical, and emotional health and well-being.

Currently, the FLA has gaps in its recognition of parent-child relationships in family structures that do not conform to the heteronormative, nuclear family model (i.e., two parents who live together with their children). Our submission arises from a shared interest in reforms that will make parentage laws more inclusive and accessible, with a focus on the substantive equality of children and parents in 2SLGBTQIA+, polyamorous, non-conjugal, and single parent families. .

In our submission, we make recommendations in the following areas:

  • The importance of providing legal recognition to diverse family structures and pathways to family formation.
  • The importance of fair, effective, and accessible processes for establishing parentage that do not impose unnecessary burdens on families.
  •  The right of donor-conceived children to information about their donor(s).
  • The parentage of children who are conceived as a result of sexual assault.
  • The importance of the BCLI engaging in a proactive consultation process that centres the voices of people and families with lived experiences of parentage law.

Read the full submission (PDF, 376 kb)

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