The following is useful information from Department of Foreign Affair’s International Child Abductions: A Manual for Parents.
Child abductions are difficult and complex when they occur within Canada. When they involve other countries, they are even more so. Provincial/territorial and federal governments co-operate closely in assisting parents affected by such abductions.
You and your child may be vulnerable if:
- Your relationship with the other parent is broken or troubled
- The other parent has close family in or other ties with another country or province
- Permission is granted for a child to visit or travel to another country or province.
In many cases, abduction or custody issues arise when the child is prevented from returning to Canada. These cases may not be considered as abductions under the criminal laws of other countries concerned or of Canada. Rather they may give rise to custody or wrongful retention issues. You should bear these factors in mind when you are contemplating travel for either yourself or your child.
If you are contemplating travel for either yourself or your child, are you familiar with the laws, as they relate to children and women, in the country that you plan to visit? In some countries, children must obtain the permission of their father and women must obtain the permission of their husbands in order to travel. You should acquire a thorough knowledge of the laws and customs of the country before making final arrangements for the trip. The Consular Affairs Bureau in Ottawa can provide information. If you are separated or divorced, or if there is a court order with respect to custodial arrangements for your child, you should discuss your planned visit with a Canadian lawyer experienced in such matters. Sometimes it may be necessary to discuss your situation with a lawyer in the country you will be visiting. Consular officials can provide you with a list of lawyers in foreign countries who may be able to assist. If at any time you believe your child may be in danger of being abducted, you should discuss the matter with your local police and other organizations that may be able to provide you with assistance and advice. It is easier to prevent an abduction than it is to recover a child after an abduction has taken place. Do not ignore your fears, act upon them and seek assistance.
Information and Document Checklist
Whether or not the country to which your child has been abducted is a party to the Hague Convention, it is important that you develop and maintain a complete file of information and documentation concerning your child and the abduction. You should ensure that all people acting on your behalf provide you with copies of written correspondence and, where appropriate, you should maintain records of telephone conversations. To the extent possible, you should maintain a file of certified legal documents.
1. The Child
- Full name, Including all alternative spellings, and nicknames
- Date of birth
- Place of birth, including hospital, town, state and country
- Address prior to the abduction or retention
- Canadian Social Insurance Number, If issued
- Canadian passport number, along with place and date of issue
- Details on other passport or travel documents that might have been used
- Nationality (include all possibile nationalities of the child, even if you are not certain)
- Weight (specify measurement and date)
- Colour of eyes
- Colour of hair
- A colour or black-and-white photograph
2. The Father and Mother
- Full name, including all alternative spellings and arrangements of the family name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Nationality Include legal status In Canada (i.e., citizen, permanent resident, student)
- Full details on passport or other identifying documents. If more than one passport is used, ensure that details on all passports are recorded (i.e,, number, date of issue, issuing office and expiry date)
- Occupation, including any professional certifications
- Other work experience
- Current address and telephone numbers, and, if a street address is not available, specific location information
- Canadian Social insurance Number
- Names and addresses of family, relatives and friends in Canada and in other countries
- Date and place of marriage or dates of common-law relationship
- Date and place of separation or divorce and details of courts involved and documents issued
- Marital status at the time of the abduction or retention
Note: If the abduction or retention involves other people, ensure that the information detailed above is collected on them as well.
3. The Abduction
- Record the full details, to the extent known, of the following:
- The date that the child left Canada or when the wrongful retention began
- The location from which the child was taken, the circumstances and who was involved
- The means and route taken
- The legal relationship with the abducting parent at the time of the abduction and the living arrangements for you, the other parent and the child
- Your knowledge or suspicions of where the child might be, along with complete details of other people who have provided assistance in the abduction and/or who may be providing assistance now in Canada and/or in another country.
B. The Documentation
- Birth certificate for the child
- Marriage certificate
- Separation or divorce agreements
- Custody order, along with any special arrangement for visitation and travel
- Provincial/territorial laws and regulations concerning child welfare and custody
- The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
- Sections of the Canadian Criminal Code relating to parental child abductions