glossary

best interests of the child

The "best interests of the child" is a legal test used to decide many things about children. The test is different for different family law issues.

For example, when making decisions about decision-making responsibility and parenting time, which used to be called custody and access, some of the things the test considers are:

  • the child's physical, emotional, and psychological safety, security, and well-being
  • the relationship between each parent and the child
  • the child's views and wishes, unless there's no way to find out what they are
  • if there's been abuse against any family member or any child

In child protection cases involving the Children's Aid Society, some of the things the test considers are:

  • the child's views and wishes, unless there's no way to find out what they are
  • the importance of keeping the child's identity and connection to their community and culture if they are First Nations, Inuk, or Métis, even if they're not an official member of the community
  • race, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, sex, and sexual orientation
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