Ontario has announced a vaccine passport system for non-essential businesses starting September 22, 2021. The certificate will be necessary to access public spaces such as indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theatres and concert venues. As the Delta variant continues to spread, the necessity to prevent a fourth COVID-19 wave increases.  

While the pandemic pushes us to change routines, many parents struggle to agree on what is the best way to protect their children. It is no surprise that divorce parenting disagreements will arise, especially during a time when global political conditions are changing so quickly. In this article we will guide you through what you need to know before having those inevitable conversations and how the mandatory vaccine passport might affect your situation.  

Dealing With Disagreement  

Considering the safety and wellbeing of your children is the most important part of parenting, so what happens when two parents disagree on what is considered safe? Divorce parenting through COVID disagreements can be a major challenge. If you are currently struggling to come to an agreement with your ex about how to manage co-parenting through COVID, here are some helpful things to keep in mind:  

        • Speak with your ex about what is best for your child given their specific lifestyle and situation. For example, if one or both of you live in a highly populated area and your child has weekly soccer practice, their needs may differ from those of a child who has less frequent exposure to others.
        • Small sacrifices go a long way. For example, if your ex prefers that you wear a double mask when dropping off your kids, doing so can ease a lot of tension and make communication easier.
        • Practice acceptance and be respectful. Everyone’s opinions come from their personal life experiences. Practicing acceptance does not mean that you need to approve an opinion you do not stand for, but rather that you accept the reality of something you may not be able to change. This process shows respect and can help you and your ex build the trust needed to co-parent well.

COVID Safety & Custody Issues  

As Ontario prioritizes the requirement for vaccination, it is becoming more clear that our current systems will soon rely on it. This reality may cause issues for parents and children who remain unvaccinated as the vaccine passports become a necessity. In regards to COVID and child custody, the court’s main objective is to review the needs of the child and push for their safety and wellbeing. While the government remains in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, judge’s will make decisions based on medical and scientific data. This will determine if the parent’s idea of COVID safety is healthy for the child.  

Judge’s may revoke custody or limit visitation to online contact based on the situation at hand. Although a judge cannot order a parent to get vaccinated, here are some reasons a custody order can change: 

        • If a party requires vaccination due to a health risk in the family  
        • Evidence is shown that a party is not following safe COVID protocols  
        • When the lack of a vaccine passport prevents the child from going to school 

How The Passport Could Help Parenting 

During divorce, when family time can seem like a fleeting activity, spending time with your kids is highly important. The reality is that an individual’s choice against the vaccine can severely limit the contact they have with their children. The vaccine passport allows entry into  restaurants, theatres, cinemas, event spaces, recreational facilities, and more. These spaces provide the ability for spending quality family time and can be a great way to help you parent throughout divorce. Considering the wellness of your children during COVID, being for the  vaccine passport may be in the best interest for you and your family during this time.  

Every family is different and making divorce parenting work for you will depend on your situation. Even through the stresses of divorce and COVID, it is important to prioritize healthy communication skills with your family in order to build trust, ease discomfort and maintain positive relationships. So, if the requirement for vaccine passports causes conflicts between you and your family, it is best to take some time and determine what to do based on the needs of you and your children. For more information about Ontario’s vaccination requirements click  here

At Hussain Law we focus on helping our clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges of separation and divorce. Our office remains fully operational, and we have implemented various new procedures that allow us to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at  647-428-3919.

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