Activities and Priorities Dept. Justice Private International Law 2007


a. Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Conference)

[205] This Convention, which is the first Hague Convention to be ratified by Canada, is in force across Canada. It provides for an expeditious remedy in order to obtain the return to the State of habitual residence of a child who has been unlawfully removed to, or who is unlawfully retained in, another country in breach of custody rights. Each State party is required to establish a Central Authority to deal with requests for the return of abducted children or for assistance in the exercise of access rights.

[206] In Canada, there is a Central Authority in every province and territory within the Ministry of the Attorney General or the Department of Justice. The federal Central Authority is located in the federal Department of Justice Legal Services Unit at Department of Foreign Affairs. A transportation program facilitates the repatriation of children who have been abducted by a parent; the program operates domestically and as well as internationally. The program is co-ordinated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Missing Children's Registry in cooperation with national airlines and Via Rail.

[207] A database of judicial decisions taken under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction is available at: It is hoped that this will facilitate a uniform interpretation of the Convention across all Contracting States. Relevant decisions from Central Authorities will be collected and forwarded to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference.

[208] A round of consultations has been initiated on Canada’s acceptance of the accessions by Latvia, Guatemala, Lithuania, Thailand, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua to the Convention. Several provinces and territories have already responded to the consultation by saying that they see no problem with implementation if Canada accepts the states in question. Some provinces asked for additional information before being able to make their decision.

[209] In October/November 2006, Canada participated in a Special Commission on the operation of the 1980 Convention and the status of ratification of the 1996 Convention. The Canadian delegation included Mounia Allouch (Justice Canada), Sandra Zed-Finless (Justice Canada and Federal Central Authority), Joan McPhail (Manitoba Central Authority) and France Rémillard (Quebec Central Authority) for the 1980 Convention, and Natalie Giassa (Justice Canada), Lise Lafrénière-Henrie (Justice Canada), Denise Gervais (Ministère de la Justice du Québec) and Joan McPhail for the 1996 Convention. The delegation was accompanied by two judges, the Honourable Justices Robyn Diamond (Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba) and Jacques Chamberland (Court of Appeal of Québec).

[210] The Special Commission considered the following with regard to the Abduction Convention:

  • Cooperation between central authorities;
  • Preventive measures;
  • Voluntary dispute resolution;
  • Execution of return and contact orders;
  • Interpretation of the key concepts of the 1980 Convention;
  • Judicial cooperation and communication.

[211] Certain states proposed amendments to the Convention to ensure increased protection for the children upon return to their state of residence and so that applications for access rights are treated more efficiently. The Commission refused the Convention's amendment proposals at the time because the 1996 Convention may eventually respond to these concerns. The priority will now be the implementation of the 1996 Convention.

[212] The conclusions and recommendations adopted by the Special Commission are available on the Hague Conference's website at:

[213] Action required in Canada: Follow-up on the Special Commission and continuation of accession process.

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