Gouvernement du Québec - Justice

International Child Abduction

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

International Child AbductionFor the past few years, the number of international child abductions has been on the rise. Such abductions usually occur when one of the parents has been denied custody of a child or fears losing custody of the child. That parent then reacts by taking the child to another country. The reason for this is, on the one hand, to prevent the other parent from exercising his or her rights of custody or of access and, on the other hand, to try to obtain custody of the child in a foreign country.

The Minister of Justice of Québec acts as the Central Authority responsible for the application of the Act respecting the civil aspects of international and interprovincial child abduction and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Minister helps to locate and bring home children who have been wrongfully removed to or retained in a foreign country or Québec by a parent.

Objectives
Applicability
Application for assistance
Rights of access
Costs
Interprovincial removal or retention
Criminal aspect of international child abduction
Central Authority for Québec


Objectives

  • To secure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to or retained in a designated State or Québec to the place of their habitual residence and re-establish the situation as it existed before the wrongful removal or retention, without trying to solve the issue of awarding custody rights.

  • To ensure that the rights of access under the law of a designated State are respected in Québec and the rights of access under the law of Québec are respected in a designated State.

Applicability

In order for the Act and the Hague Convention to apply, the following three conditions must be complied with:

  • The child in question is under 16 years of age (the Act and the Hague Convention cease to apply once the child reaches the age of 16);
  • The child’s habitual residence before the removal or retention is:
    • Québec or
    • a State designated under section 41 of the Act respecting the civil aspects of international and interprovincial child abduction;
  • The removal or retention is considered wrongful by the Central Authority for Québec.

Application for assistance

The left-behind parent who would like the assistance of the Central Authority for Québec can do so by sending the following documents:

  • The Request for the Return of the Child form duly completed;
  • The Authorization to Act form duly completed;
  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate;
  • A certified true copy of any decision or agreement granting custody of the child before the removal or the retention;
  • A solemn declaration stating the circumstances of the removal or retention of the child, the steps that have since been taken to locate and bring the child back setting forth, where applicable, any fact leading to the belief that the child’s safety and well-being are threatened;
  • A declaration stating that the child was not, immediately before the removal or the retention, subject to measures taken in his or her respect under the provisions of the Youth Protection Act Clicking on this icon will take you to another website.;
  • A recent photograph of the child and of the abducting parent;
  • A copy of the warrant of arrest issued, if any;
  • A list of the persons (parents, friends, others) or bodies likely to hold information regarding the whereabouts of the child;
  • A copy of the judicial proceedings related to custody instituted by the abducting parent in the State of refuge, where applicable.

The documents and forms must be written in French and, if necessary, translated into any other language in accordance with the requirements set by the competent authorities of the State of refuge.

After examining the documentation received, the Central Authority for Québec will send the request for return to the Central Authority of the State of refuge for appropriate action.

In the case of a child removed to or retained in Québec, the Central Authority for Québec will assist the foreign parent so that his or her Québec attorney will file a motion for the return of the child before the Superior Court.

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Rights of access

A parent may also file an application for organizing or securing rights of access. The parent must complete and send to the Central Authority for Québec the required form to apply for rights of access. It is recommended to specify the terms and conditions of the rights of access and the difficulties the parent is having in exercising them or to specify the terms and conditions for exercising the proposed rights of access and overnight stays.

Costs

The Central Authority for Québec does not impose charges to assist a parent who applies for assistance. However, when the application of the Hague Convention involves court proceedings, there could be costs associated with legal counsel if the requested State does not provide legal counsel free of charge or if the applicant parent is not entitled to legal aid in that State.

Interprovincial removal or retention

Since the other Canadian provinces and territories have not been designated under section 41 of the Act respecting the civil aspects of international and interprovincial child abduction, it does not apply to cases of interprovincial child abductions.

The recourses available when a child has been wrongfully removed to or retained in another Canadian province or territory are those provided for in the Divorce Act where the latter applies. Since the custody order made pursuant to that Act is in force throughout Canada, the parent may apply to the courts of the province or territory of refuge to obtain its forcible execution against the abducting parent and thus have the child returned.

However, in the absence of a custody order or when that order does not result from the application of the Divorce Act, the parent whose child has been removed to or retained in another province or territory may try to obtain a custody order or to have a custody order recognized and enforced by applying to the competent court in the province or territory of refuge.

Criminal aspect of international child abduction

When the whereabouts of a child are not known by the left-behind parent, it is important that the police of the place of the child’s habitual residence be informed immediately of the abduction (missing persons report) so that steps may be immediately taken to locate the child.

The investigating police officer may submit the facts obtained to the Deputy Attorney General of Québec who will decide, if applicable, to lay a charge of abduction and to request the issue of a warrant of arrest against the abducting parent, pursuant to sections 282 and 283 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Central Authority for Québec

Left-behind parents or their lawyers may report a removal or retention at the following address:

Direction des services professionnels
Ministère de la Justice
1200, route de l’Église, 2e étage
Québec (Québec) G1V 4M1

Telephone : 418 644-7153
Fax: 418 646-1696
E-mail: enlevement.enfant@justice.gouv.qc.ca

The content of this document is strictly informative and has no legal value.

If a parent finds himself or herself in a similar situation, if he or she wants to know how to prevent an abduction, how to obtain the forms referred to in this document or wants to know the list of the States designated by Québec, we suggest that he or she consult our file or contact the Central Authority for Québec.

Note: In this text, the masculine form is used to designate either sex.

For more information Clicking on this icon will take you to another website.
Youth Protection Act (Publications du Québec)

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Latest update: February 5, 2009



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