Ontario Civil

Civil Procedure

Mother aware of process to request bilingual hearing and did not pursue matter

Mother and father separated in 2010, and entered two agreements which provided for joint custody of two children, born 2004 and 2007, equal residential time and no child support. Unfortunately, relations soon deteriorated. By January 2012, mother had not seen children for over one year and father granted interim custody. In March 2012, parties agreed mother should have supervised access up to two hours per week. In May 2012, mother ordered to pay child support of $1,098 per month on income of $74,484 per year. In July 2012, court ordered custody and access assessment, but assessment did not proceed because mother failed to provide one-half of retainer. In January 2013, trial fixed for November 2013 with bilingual judge, reporter and interpreter to accommodate francophone mother. However, shortly before trial, mother applied for adjournment to arrange for assessment or appointment of lawyer to represent children and unsupervised access in interim. Mother also applied to have all previous orders set aside on ground they had been made in violation of her right to bilingual hearing. Applications dismissed. Under ss. 125 and 126 of Courts of Justice Act (Ont.), party could request bilingual proceeding. Pleadings and documents could be in French as of right in specified areas and with consent in others. However, in Family Court of Superior Court of Justice, originating process could be written in French and documents could be filed in French. No question mother could file any future documents in French. However, that did not mean that previous orders should be set aside. Mother aware of process to request bilingual hearing, at least since December 2011, and did not pursue matter. Apparent that mother relatively proficient in English. Situation that led to father`s application for interim custody had nothing to do with language and warranted change whether hearing conducted bilingually or not. Mother would be able to have court consider all evidence afresh in upcoming bilingual trial.

Sera v. Amboise (Nov. 14, 2013, Ont. S.C.J., C.A. Gilmore J., File No. Newmarket FC-10-035725-00) 235 A.C.W.S. (3d) 746.

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