Make the Canada Child Benefit Program Gender Equal and Inclusive

Public Policy

Parental Alienation and Equal Parenting

CONTACT

Justin Trottier, Executive Director
Canadian Centre for Men and Families
jtrottier@menandfamilies.org
416-402-8856

Call to Action

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“The concept of female presumption might not reflect today’s reality”: Auditor General

On February 25, 2021, the Auditor General released a report into the Canada Child Benefit program, which highlighted a serious problem with its “female presumption” framework.

To date, the government has presumed that any adult female in a household is the primary caregiver. The Report concluded that “the concept of female presumption might not reflect today’s reality.” The CRA has accepted the Auditor General’s conclusions and is considering ways to ensure that all families have equal access to government support.

In response, a coalition of groups is asking the Canadian federal government to amend the Income Tax Act.

The Income Tax Act (ITA), Section 122.6(f), provides that any female in the residence of the child is presumed to be the primary parent and the recipient of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).

income tax act 122.6(f)
definition of eligible individual
(f) where the qualified dependant resides with the dependant’s female parent, the parent who primarily fulfils the responsibility for the care and upbringing of the qualified dependant is presumed to be the female parent,

The Canada Revenue Agency further clarifies eligibility as follows:

When both a female and male parent live in the same home as the child, the female parent is usually considered to be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child. She should be the one applying for the CCB. However, if the male parent is primarily responsible, he should apply and attach a signed letter from the female parent stating that he is the parent who is primarily responsible for all the children in the home. [1]

In instances where there is an unrelated female adult living in the child’s residence, the CCB will by default be provided to this female individual, even though she may have no biological or custodial connection to the child. [2]

Fathers who are primary caregivers must receive written permission from their female partner and/or jump through a variety of additional hoops in order to be eligible for the benefit.

The Auditor’s Report states that “today, families in Canada come in many different forms not envisaged only a short time ago. Laws, procedures, and systems have not always followed course with the changing reality of what constitutes a family.”

The current policy, which excludes people from family-related benefits based on outdated, sexist presumptions, conflicts with government policies on diversity, inclusion and equality. In 2005, Canada legislated marriage equality for same sex couples. Families are not, and have never been, restricted to one man and one woman. The presumption of a sole female primary parent is out of step with family diversity. Canadian families take many forms, including families with two dads, two moms, and parents who identify in non-traditional gender terms.

The female primary parent presumption affects women’s equality too. The continued incentivizing for women to remain primary caregiver enshrines an unhelpful gender binary. Women’s equality in the workplace is directly linked to men’s equality in parenting.

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees “equal protection and benefit of the law for male and female persons” (Section 28). The Income Tax Act is in violation of the Charter.

Most egregiously, the current policy has the effect of denying children with a father as primary parent with direct and unhindered access to critical financial support to which they should be entitled.

We propose that the ITA be amended such that 122.6(f) be struck in its entirety and the rest of 122.6 be amended to follow the same eligibility framework as is already provided for in shared custody arrangements, namely that each parent receive 50% of the available CCB.

The Coalition calls upon all Canadians who believe in equality, fairness and the best interest of children, to support this timely change. In 2021, policy and law must catch up with the evolving family landscape of our nation.

[1] https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit-overview/canada-child-benefit-before-you-apply.html

[2] for example,
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/revenue-canada-rule-on-child-benefits-upsets-dad-1.1048992


CCMF Legal Fund

Public Policy

CONTACT

Justin Trottier, Executive Director
Canadian Centre for Men and Families
jtrottier@menandfamilies.org
416-402-8856

We received intervenor status in our first case before the Supreme Court of Canada.

In R v Langan, our legal team offered unique testimony on the use of male gender stereotypes in ascertaining credibility and argued before the highest court that false and damaging beliefs about male sexual insatiability should be seen as the male equivalents to the established rape myths.

Support the CCMF Legal Fund

This first success in receiving intervenor status makes it easier for CCMF to apply for standing in future cases and could allow us to impact landmark legal decisions that affect thousands of families. But only with your help.


Parental Alienation and Fatherlessness

Public Policy

Parental Alienation and Equal Parenting

CONTACT

Justin Trottier, Executive Director
Canadian Centre for Men and Families
jtrottier@menandfamilies.org
416-402-8856

Call to Action

Donate

Lets bring this billboard to cities across Canada.
Join the conversation.  #LetsTalkMen

Parental Alienation and Fatherlessness Billboard

Introducing Parental Alienation and Fatherlessness

The second in our three part Men’s Issues Billboard Advertisements have arrived!

“I am not parental prey. Help me keep mommy AND daddy. Parental Alienation Hurts”
Look for this billboard at the following locations:
* Avenue Rd at Roe Ave
* Danforth Ave at Dawes Rd
* Dupont St at Dufferin St.

Watch the Press Conference:

 

Are You a Separated or Divorced Father?
Register for a New Program Designed for You!

Fathering After Separation or Divorce is a new program providing knowledge, resources and skills with a curriculum built for fathers, based on the best research from child psychologists, father-friendly lawyers and men’s health providers. Register now and join us at the Canadian Centre for Men and Families.

Starting in fall 2015 we will be offering an exciting new program dedicated to divorced or separated fathers. The ‘Fathering After Separation or Divorce’ (FASD) program will provide a broad range of knowledge, resources and skills for fathers looking to maintain a strong relationship with their children following a divorce or separation.

 

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation sometimes occurs when parents engage in a high-conflict separation or divorce. Parental alienation means that the child has become enmeshed with one parent (the preferred parent) and has rejected a relationship with the other parent (the target parent) without legitimate justification.

Read the CCMF Research Brief

 

What Are We Recommending?

1. Parents should put the well being of their children first and adopt co-parenting arrangements that allow for a full relationship with both parents
2. A presumption of equal shared parenting should be made the law in Canada following a family break up
3. We must make available fathering programs that support dads undergoing a family break-up with resources and tools to maintain a healthy relationship with their child or children

 

The Importance of a Father on a Child’s Development

Read the research brief

 

Consequences of Parental Alienation

Adult Children that have experienced parental alienation may exhibit the following effects long term:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Truancy
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Difficulty with intimate relationships
  • Feeling shame for hurting the rejected parent
  • Alcohol or drug problems
  • Higher propensity for divorce

 

Signs of Parental Alienation

17 Signs of Parental Alienation

Behaviour & Warning Signs Exhibited by Child, Alienating Parent and Rejected Parent
Parental Alienation and Fatherlessness Billboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Are the Symptoms of Parental Alienation

Click here to learn more about the Symptoms of Parental Alienation

 

The Benefits of Shared Parenting

Shared Parenting: Facts and Fiction, by Dr. Linda Nielsen, Professor of Women’s Studies, Wake Forest University

 

Support Organizations

Brochure of Parental Alienation Awareness Organization

 

Scholarly Research

An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Foundations, by C.A. Childress, Psy.D.

Key findings:
The characteristic psychopathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent draws the child into a role-reversal relationship to help the narcissistic/(borderline) parent regulate three separate but interrelated sources of intense anxiety

Parental Alienation Syndrome — The Parent/Child Disconnect, by Amy J. L. Baker, PhD, Social Work Today, Vol. 8 No. 6 P. 26

Key findings:
1 Parental alienation syndrome develops in children who come to hate, fear, and reject the targeted parent as someone unworthy of having a relationship with them.
2 Richard Gardner, PhD described that there are eight behavioral components that have been validated in a survey of 68 targeted parents of severely alienated children (Baker & Darnall, 2007), including A Campaign of Denigration, Absence of Guilt About the Treatment of the Targeted Parent and Rejection of Extended Family

The Hostage Metaphor for “Parental Alienation,” by C.A. Childress, Psy.D. (2014)

 

The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children – Undermining Loving Parent-Child Relationships as Child Maltreatment, by Edward Kruk, April 25, 2013

Key findings:
1. One parent denigrating the other “targeted” parent results in the child’s emotional rejection of the targeted parent, and the loss of a capable and loving parent from the life of the child.
2. The severe effects of parental alienation on children are well-documented; low self-esteem and self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, and substance abuse and other forms of addiction are widespread, as children lose the capacity to give and accept love from a parent.
3. Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child; it has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate or fear the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child.

Shared Parental Responsibility: A Harm Reduction-Based Approach to Divorce Law Reform, Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, Vol. 43(3/4) 2005

Key findings:
1 “Shared parental responsibility” approach which embodies the principle of the “best interests of the child, from the perspective of the child,” emphasizing children’s needs for protection from harm, parental equality and family autonomy as core interests of children in the divorce transition.
2 The “shared parental responsibility” approach to divorce law reform is comprised of four main elements:
1)      The establishment of a legal expectation that parents must jointly or separately develop a parenting plan before a court hearing is held on matters related to their divorce.
2)      The establishment of a legal expectation that existing parent-child relationships will continue after separation.
3)      Shared parental responsibility will be the legal rebuttable presumption.
4)      Exempt will be established cases of abuse and domestic violence which will continue to be dealt with via third party intervention, with child protection as the overriding concern.

Woozles: Their Role in Custody Law Reform, Parenting Plans, and Family Court, by Linda Nielsen, Wake Forest University, American Psychological Association, 2014, in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol. 20, No. 2, 164 –180

Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report, by Richard A. Warshak, American Psychological Association, 2014, in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol. 20, No. 1, 46 – 67

Key findings:
Young children’s interests benefit when two adequate parents follow a parenting plan that provides their children with balanced and meaningful contact with each parent. Overnights help to reduce the tension associated with rushing to return the child, and thus potentially improve the quality and satisfaction of the contact both for the parent and child. An additional advantage of overnights is that in the morning the father can return the child to the daycare; this avoids exposing the child to tensions associated with the parents’ direct contact with each other.

Statistics Canada 2007 – Study: Frequency of contact between separated fathers and their children
Key findings:
1. Dads who remained closely involved with their children in the first few months following separation had a much greater chance of remaining so later on, the study showed.
2. The majority of fathers and mothers form new unions in the years following separation, often with individuals who also have children from an earlier union. Close to half of these new couples go on to have a child together.
3. The earlier separated fathers entered a new union, the less frequently they saw their children later on. In particular, non-resident fathers who began a new union within two months of separation had significantly less contact with children than those who did not.
4. Fathers who invest time in their children are also more inclined to invest money and other resources
5. Fathers who were involved in their non-resident children’s lives after separation did not abandon them, whatever the family commitments they later took on.

Lesson Notes: How Do Fathers Fit In? – Topic: The importance of fathers, from Civitas

Fathers’ Involvement With Their Children: United States, 2006–2010, by Jo Jones, Ph.D., and William D. Mosher, Ph.D., National Health Statistics Report, Division of Vital Statistics, Number 71, December 20, 2013

Key findings:
1 Black fathers (70%) were most likely to have bathed, dressed, diapered, or helped their children use the toilet every day compared with white (60%) and Hispanic fathers (45%).
2 A larger percentage of older fathers had not played with their non co-residential children compared with the youngest fathers.
3 Fathers who lived with children under age 5 were six times more likely than fathers who did not live with their young children to have read to them.

Shared Physical Custody: Summary of 40 Studies on Outcomes for Children, by Linda Nielsena Department of Education, Wake Forest University, in the Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, Published online: 04 Nov 2014.

Key findings
1. Shared parenting children of all ages made better grades, were less depressed, and were more well-adjusted behaviorally than the children in the sole residence families.
2. High, ongoing conflict in which the children are involved sometimes diminish the benefits of shared parenting. But this does not mean shared parenting will create negative impact, in fact, shared parenting is more likely to decrease the negative impact of conflict.
3. Even though shared parenting couples tend to have somewhat higher incomes and somewhat less verbal conflict than other parents, these two factors alone do not explain the better outcomes for the children.

 

Mum’s the Word of Fatherhood Download the book by Jim Macnamara

Parental Alienation and Fatherlessness BillboardIdeology and Dysfunction in Family Law
Download the Book By Grant A. Brown | May 6, 2014
For several decades now, fathers have faced significant, widespread bias in family courts across Canada. But as author Grant Brown shows in this free e-book, many of the popular prejudices behind this bias simply have no basis in law or fact. In Ideology And Dysfunction In Family Law – How Courts Disenfranchise Fathers, Brown shows us why dads are getting such a raw deal – and what can be done about it.

 

 

 

Parental Alienation and Fatherlessness Billboardchild custody, access and parental responsibility
Download the Book by Edward Kruk, University of British Columbia Professor | December 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Headlines

Kidnapper’s Trick, Time Magazine, September 2006, by Nathan Thornburgh

Judge not, lest ye be judged: In family courts across the land, judges hold effectively the same powers over separated parents as feudal lords held over their serfs, and it pleases them to exercise this power without much restraint.

The plight of divorced dads(National Post December 08, 2007)

 

 

Videos

Trailer – Erasing Dad documentary

Welcome Back Pluto Chapter 6

Good morning America Interveiw of Dr. Amy J. L. Bake

First of Dr. Craig Childress YouTube video’s

Second Dr. Craig Childress YouTube Speaking to the child

They Ambushed My Dad I Child of Parental Alienation I Ryan Thomas Speaks

 

Want to Learn More?

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us… We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
– Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum
“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it”.
— Clarence Budington Kelland.

Read CCMF’s blog posts on Parental Alienation, authored by Kiran Thomas

 

Infographics

Parental Alienation and Fatherlessness