Until 2016, when Bill 34 became effective in Ontario, grandparents were not explicitly mentioned with relation to access or visitation. Family law advocates worked to strengthen grandparents' rights for years before the Children's Law Reform Amendment Act (Relationship with Grandparents) was finally passed. While this did not significantly change existing laws, the act now specifically mentions grandparents.
However, even with these changes, the court will continue to prioritize the best interests of the child when grandparents seek access or child custody. One of the aspects that the court will consider is the existing bond between the grandparent and the child. The nature of the child's relationship with his or her other family members will also be considered, and depending on the child's age, the court may take into account his or her preference.
The stability of the child's environment and the ability of the grandparent to meet the needs of the child are further matters that will be scrutinized by the court. Furthermore, the applying grandparent must present the court with a proposed plan for access. If the grandparent is seeking child custody, the court will consider that person's parental abilities.
Grandparents in Ontario who want to petition the court for access or child custody may find comfort in knowing that an experienced family law lawyer can explain their rights and help them navigate the legal proceedings. The lawyer can assess the circumstances of the grandparents and the children before suggesting the way to proceed. With such support and guidance, the legal proceedings may be less complicated than anticipated, and the outcome may be best for both the children and their grandparents.
Source: thespruce.com, "Grandparents' Visitation Rights in Canada", Susan Adcox, Accessed on Dec. 15, 2017