A proposed Quebec legislative reform that recognizes and regulates surrogacy in order to protect the best interests of the child, establishes new regulations on parentage, and aims to protect children born as a result of sexual assault has been commended by notaries but drawn mixed reaction from family law experts.
Bill 12, part of an ongoing effort by the provincial government to revamp family law, allows a child born as a result of rape to challenge his filiation to the assailant, compels the aggressor to pay compensation to meet the child’s needs, amends the Civil Code of Québec to specify the various ways of establishing filiation, and puts Quebec on the same footing as several other provinces by giving legal recognition to surrogacy contracts.
A controversial Quebec bill that would amend the Civil Code and family law has been lauded for creating a legal framework for the use of surrogate mothers but has been slammed for scaling back trans rights and possibly opening the door to a divisive debate over the rights of a foetus.
A child in Quebec can legally only have two parents named in a birth certificate but that does not preclude a third person from parenting, ruled the Quebec Court of Appeal.
In a ruling that underscores the need for legislators to pay heed to societal changes, the Quebec Court of Appeal confirmed the “sharp” distinction between who is a legal parent by virtue of filiation and who may exercise parental authority, reasserts that there is “plenty of space in Quebec law” for a genetic father to be active in the life of a child without legally deemed to be a parent, and seems to indicate that an agreement signed by three individuals over parenthood may not necessarily be binding, according to family law experts.
A woman who sought to be legally recognized as the mother of a child borne by a surrogate mother was thwarted by a Quebec Court judge who held that, unlike in the rest of Canada, surrogacy agreements are illegal in Quebec.
“This child does not have a right to maternal filiation at any cost,” said Judge Michel Dubois in his 11-page ruling.
A man who discovered that he was not the biological father of a child lost his bid before the Quebec Court of Appeal to strike his name off the child’s certificate and invalidate his bond of filation with the child.
The Rimouski businessman, who had a seven-year common-law relationship that lasted between December 1998 and June 2005, discovered from acquaintances, shortly after being separated, that it was unlikely he was the father of the child born in 2002. On January 2007, a DNA test concluded that, with a probability greater than 99.99 per cent, that he was not the biological father of the child.