News Articles on MESA Archive (return to list)
CALGARY HERALD - February 15, 2003
Father fights for son’s health records. Non-custodial
parents barred from CHR data
(Front page headline, City section)
A Calgary Health Region policy of denying
biological parents information about their children unless they
also have custody is sparking a heated court battle.
A local man, who was denied access to his
boy’s, medical records, is fighting the CHR’s written policy,
claiming it discriminates against him on the basis of marital
status and it prevents him from gaining important medical
information about his son.
The hearing will take place in an upcoming
Alberta Court of Appeal case.
The Men’s Educational Support Association is
also applying to intervene in the case. MESA is a registered
charitable organization whose main objective is to help
families, fathers and children caught in the turmoil of domestic
crisis. MESA believes that the interests of all children are
best served by having both parents able to participate fully in
their lives, even after divorce or separation.
“MESA feels that this case represents one of
the many discriminations faced by non-custodial parents,” said
Paul Millar, vice-president of MESA.
The application for intervener status in the
case will be heard next Friday.
Continued on page B6
Records: Appeal filed after case denied
The man and his wife were granted a divorce
Prior to the divorce, the father found out
that his son had been admitted to the Alberta Children’s
Hospital in August 1994.
He attempted to get a copy of his son’s
medical records on Aug. 10, 1999.
QUOTABLE “I wanted to know why and they
refused to give me the record”
“I wanted to know why and they refused to
give me the record,” the man, who cannot be identified, said in
“They said they would not give a
non-custodial parent access to the records unless the custodial
parent consented or I had to go to court to get access. This was
A Calgary Health Region document states: “A
custody order may indicate the other parent has access to health
information, etc. “This is only for verbal information from a
health-care professional, they do not receive copies, or view a
chart unless a signed consent form the sole custodian is
available. Copies of supporting documents will suffice. Keep a
copy on the chart. If you are ever in doubt of custodial parent
On Aug. 29, 1999, the father filed a
complaint with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship
Commission regarding the health region’s policy and practice of
not releasing medical records to non- custodial parents.
The commission’s initial investigation into
the complaint ruled in his favour, stating that he was being
discriminated against on the basis of his marital status.
The report said the health region justified
its policy by pointing to the constraints of federal legislation
and privacy issues.
“This policy and practice is not in
accordance with the Divorce Act and is discriminatory per the
Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act.
“The investigation, therefore, finds merit to
the complaint,” stated the report filed Dec.15, 1999.
The report also recommended that the father
be allowed access to his son’s medical records and that the
policies of the health region and all provincial regional health
authorities be amended so that both parents of the child would
receive information and records “ in respect of the child’s
development and social activities such as school records,
medical records and other relevant information.”
But in a notice of dismissal document filed
March 25, 2000, the father’s complaint was dismissed. The
document states the issue is one of a complex legal nature and
the legal opinion of the commission’s counsel states the
commission lacks jurisdiction in this matter.
The Calgary man appealed this decision to the
chief commissioner, who in July 2000 upheld the decision that
the commission did not have jurisdiction in the matter.
He then took the matter to Court of Queen’s
Bench in Calgary in January 2002.
He has now filed an appeal of that decision
with the Alberta Court of Appeal.
Doug Fraser, spokesman for the CHR, said “as
long as it’s (the case) in front of the courts, we can’t speak
to the case.”
The man’s nine-year-old son lives with his
mother in Ottawa. She has interim custody of the boy, which the
father is fighting in the court system.
© Copyright 2003 Calgary Herald