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  • Writer's pictureJared Davies, Lawyer

Jurisdiction to make a parenting order pursuant to Latreille v. Puyuttaq, 2023 ONSC 6172


In the landscape of family law, disputes involving jurisdiction can add an additional layer of complexity. The case of Latreille v. Puyuttaq presents such a scenario. The Respondent, the child’s mother, asserts that the jurisdiction of Nunavut, not Ontario, should decide parenting matters concerning the child in this particular case. However, the Applicant brought the matter in Ontario.

The Legal Issue

The central legal issue in this case is the jurisdictional question: which court has the authority to determine parenting issues concerning the child?

The Respondent argues that Nunavut is the proper forum due to the family's strong ties there. The Applicant disagrees, asserting that the child’s residence changed when the Respondent came to visit Ottawa. The court must now decide where jurisdiction lies to ensure a fair and just resolution.

Analysis and Findings

The court outlined the law with respect to jurisdiction and family proceedings involving children. The court reiterates that the child’s “habitual residence” will determine jurisdiction. The Children’s Law Reform Act provides guidance on this issue:

[34] In s. 22(2) of the CLRA, “habitual residence” is defined as where a child is habitually resident in the place where he or she resided, either with a) both parents; b) where the parents are living separate and apart, with one parent under a separation agreement or with the consent or acquiescence of the other or under a court order; c) with a person other than a parent on a permanent basis for a significant period of time, whichever last occurred.

[35] Section 22(3) of the CLRA also addresses the situation where one parent unilaterally removes or withholds a child and states: “The removal or withholding of a child without the consent of the person having custody of the child does not alter the habitual residence of the child unless there has been acquiescence or undue delay in commencing due process by the person from whom the child is removed or withheld.”

[36] In Kimpton v. Kimpton, 2002 CarswellOnt 5030 (Ont. S.C.J.) it was noted that the status quo meant the primary or legal status quo, not a short-lived status quo created to gain a tactical advantage. Further, Horton v. Marsh, 2008 CarswellNS 371 (N.S. S.C.) notes that the status quo is the status quo which existed without reference to the unilateral conduct of one parent.

The Respondent had traveled to Ottawa, Ontario, with the child in June 2023, aiming to explore a possible reconciliation with the Applicant. What follows is a chain of events where the Applicant takes temporary care of the child and refuses to return her to the Respondent.

The court found that the appropriate jurisdiction for this matter is in Nunavut. The court found that the child was ordinarily and habitually resident in Nunavut with the consent or acquiescence of the Applicant.

The court emphasizes that the Respondent's temporary visit to Ottawa was not indicative of an intention to permanently relocate and therefore the habitual residence remains in Nunavut.

[24] I accept the Respondent’s evidence that the trip to Ottawa was merely exploratory to determine if a reconciliation with the Applicant was possible. Conversely, I reject the Applicant’s evidence that the Respondent had a settled intention to relocate to Ottawa from Nunavut.

[25] In my view, had the Respondent intended to relocate to Ottawa, she would have brought Trent along as well, rather than leaving him in the care of her mother in Gjoa Haven. Further, the Respondent had no choice but to bring Alessa with her, owing to Alessa’s age.

[26] I accept the Respondent’s evidence that she sought and obtained emergency shelter for she and Alessa at a women’s shelter catering only to women and children. In my view, had the Respondent intended to relocate on a permanent basis, she would more likely have investigated housing that was permanent, and which could have included the Applicant.

The court found that Ontario was not the appropriate jurisdiction for this parenting matter as a result.


In the case of Latreille v. Puyuttaq, the court's analysis and findings shed light on the intricate considerations of jurisdiction in family law, especially in disputes regarding parenting issues. This case underscores the significance of a child's "habitual residence" in determining the appropriate jurisdiction, as laid out in the Children’s Law Reform Act. The court meticulously considered the circumstances leading up to the dispute. The court found that, in this case, Nunavut was the correct jurisdiction due to the child's residence there and the absence of conclusive evidence indicating the Respondent's intent to permanently relocate.


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