A Vancouver father is challenging the province after it told him he couldn’t let his children take transit unsupervised.
Adrian Crook, a single father of five, was told by the Ministry of Children and Family Development in fall 2017 that his four school-aged children could not ride the bus unsupervised. The children ranged in age from seven to 11 years old at the time.
“As a result of their brief investigation, the MCFD informed me that, ‘until the children are 10 years old, they cannot be unsupervised in the community, at home, or on transit,’” Crook wrote in a blog post.
“This was despite the MCFD complimenting my parenting, saying there’d been no negligence and that I ‘went above and beyond’ what they expected any reasonable parent to do when training kids to take transit.”
Crook, an independent candidate for Vancouver city council, launched a Charter challenge Friday.
In it, Crook says he wants the B.C. Supreme Court to quash the decision made by MCFD in 2017 to stop his kids riding the bus unsupervised, on the basis that the ministry’s decision infringed on Crook’s right to make decisions as a parent.
“We seek declarations that the Director exceeded their authority and jurisdiction and that the Director failed to explain how they represented a proportionate balance between my family’s rights and liberties protected by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Director’s objectives in coming to their decisions,” Crook said.
“We also seek a declaration under section 24 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that the decisions failed to appropriately weigh an infringement of section 7 of the Charter against the justifications for such infringement and were therefore unreasonable.”
A GoFundMe for Crook’s legal fees has raised more than $41,000 since it was launched in January.
In a statement, MCFD said that it “completely supports building independence in kids” and that it would be “comfortable with children as young as 10 or even younger riding the bus alone if they are ready and capable of doing so.”
However, the province said that “there is no set ministry policy and every circumstance is different.”
The ministry said it would be filing a response to Crook’s petition in “due time.”