A Vancouver dad who has spent years fighting the province on whether his kids can take the bus alone is appealing a Supreme Court upholding of that decision.
Adrian Cook, who runs the blog 5 Kids 1 Condo, lost his B.C Supreme Court petition to reverse the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s decision this fall.
The issue started when the ministry told Crook, a single father of five, that his four school-aged children could not ride the bus unsupervised in fall 2017. The children ranged in age from 10 to five at the time of the intervention.
Crook began his Charter challenge in 2018 on the basis that the ministry’s decision infringed on his right to make decisions as a parent. His challenge followed a May 2018 letter from the ministry that laid out the safety risks they believe riding the bus solo posed to the children.
Those risks “led [the ministry] to conclude that the bus-riding arrangement was unsafe and that the children required adult supervision,” the letter, posted to Crook’s blog, noted.
In his November decision, Justice Stephen Kelleher said Crook’s right were not infringed upon and that the ministry took care to minimize its effects.
The ministry “infringed on the parents’ liberty interest but in a way that accorded with principles of fundamental justice,” Kelleher said, noting that the May 2018 letter was “reasonable.”
Crook said the judge failed to consider that although the ministry’s decision was reasonable, it went above and beyond the Child, Family and Community Service Act, which governs its actions.
“Justice Kelleher failed to address the statutory limits granted under the CFCSA, and failed to consider that the Ministry had no statutory ability or power to make the decision it did,” Crook wrote.
“This is why my attorneys and I now feel we have an even stronger case on appeal than we did originally.”
A GoFundMe started by Crook to pay for his appeal reached $1,200 of its $9,000 goal by Monday morning. Crook said the original Charter challenge cost him $45,000 and the appeal was expected to cost $15,000.
Black Press Media has reached out to the province for comment.