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‘With a heavy heart,’ N.B. judge temporarily suspends unvaccinated father’s custody

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Both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick say only about 45 per cent of eligible residents have received a COVID-19 booster shot. Nova Scotia altered its rollout after an apparent slowdown in demand, but as Travis Fortnum reports, New Brunswick isn’t making any changes. – Feb 2, 2022

A New Brunswick judge has temporarily suspended an unvaccinated father’s in-person parenting time with his three children and ruled that their mother can have the children vaccinated despite the father’s objections.

Justice Nathalie Godbout provided her written decision on Jan. 31, saying that she revoked the father’s in-person access to his children “with a heavy heart,” but that she has allowed him “generous” parenting time by phone or video.

The Court of Queen’s Bench judge says she made her decision because the father’s decision to remain unvaccinated poses too great a risk to his immunocompromised daughter.

Read more: COVID-19: New Omicron subvariant BA.2 detected in New Brunswick

The ruling says the couple split up in 2019 and have been sharing custody of their children on alternate weeks for the past three years.

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Godbout says neither the father nor his new partner are vaccinated against COVID-19, despite the recommendation of the immunocompromised child’s doctor, and the father would not consent to his children being vaccinated.

The judge says the father’s own research into COVID-19 vaccines and his resulting concerns about them were presented without evidence or verification and thus carry no weight.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2022.

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