October 2010 Law Column
Etienne Ruel, lawyer
In a recent case, the Honourable Yvan Godin, S.C.J., had to rule on a petition filed by a 14-year-old seeking to modify his parents’ custody agreement. The teenager asked to be placed in the sole custody of his mother instead of the shared custody he had been in for the past three years.
The teenager’s mother chose not to petition the Court for sole custody in order to avoid allegations of parental alienation, and the child therefore testified in court and requested the change himself.
The law and caselaw stipulate that a minor must be represented by his/her guardian when exercising his/her access rights. Only in exceptional cases are minors authorized to seek remedy themselves.
The Court interviewed the teenager and concluded that he possessed a certain intellectual maturity, clearly understood the consequences of his legal action and demonstrated the ability to make his own decisions, since he had met with his lawyer four times and consistently expressed his wish to modify the agreement.
In light of the evidence that was presented and the singular nature of the case, the Court authorized the teenager to seek recourse himself to assert his rights and ask that custody be awarded to his mother. The Court was of the opinion that it was in the teenager’s interest to allow him to seek recourse, seeing as he was directly impacted by the custody agreement.
The decision was certainly an exceptional one. We are convinced, however, that it will become a judicial precedent for all family law practitioners who, to ensure that their clients are not falsely accused of urging their children to live with them, will now recommend that minors initiate proceedings to realize their interests.
The Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans Act (the Act) will come into effect on July 1, 2014. As of the 1st of July, all employers with an establishment in Quebec and which employs at least five eligible employees must offer a voluntary retirement savings plan (VRSP) to their employees.
Most of the provisions of Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) will come into effect on July 1, 2014. CASL is under federal jurisdiction and therefore applies across Canada. It covers those who send out commercial electronic messages (CEMs), alter transmission data and create and install computer programs.
For most businesses, the clientele is their most important asset. Therefore, it can be very worrisome when a key employee leaves the business to work for a competitor and takes the client list along with him.
THE LAW COLUMN IS TAKING A BREAK FOR THE SUMMER AND WILL BE BACK IN SEPTEMBER. WE WISH EVERYONE A GREAT SUMMER !!
A group of PFD lawyers who also happen to be amateur cyclists invite you to join them every Thursday at 6 p.m. for a weekly ride leaving from St-Augustin arena in Mirabel.
On May 4th, the PFD team took part in the 12th edition of the Défi course et marche Desjardins organized by the Club des Lions de Sainte-Thérèse.