British Columbia

B.C. foster parents win injunction to keep Métis toddler, for now

A Vancouver Island couple fighting to adopt a Métis girl they raised since birth has been granted an interim injunction to keep her for now.

Full appeal of lower court ruling is expected to be heard later this year

The Métis toddler lives on Vancouver Island with her foster parents. (Michael Mcarthur/CBC)

A B.C. Court of Appeal judge has granted an injunction to the foster parents of a Métis toddler, preventing the child's removal by the provincial government until a full appeal is heard.

The injunction means the 2 1/2-year-old girl will not be transferred to prospective adoptive parents in Ontario who she's never met, but have already adopted the child's two older sisters.

The Vancouver Island foster father was ecstatic — saying the decision comes as a great relief.

"We're thrilled," he told reporters outside the courtroom. "It's been hard on all of our family."

The foster father said although the injunction's effects aren't permanent, it gives his family some "breathing space" before the next phase of the fight to keep the toddler in their care.

Friday's hearing was initiated by the foster parents in order to prevent B.C.'s Ministry of Children and Family Development from temporarily taking the toddler before the family's appeal of a lower court ruling can be heard.

He attributed this victory to the judge's willingness to consider the best interests of the child over what he called legal technicalities.

The B.C. couple, who are also Métis, have raised the little girl since infancy and are known to her as mommy and daddy. Her birth parents are supportive of the couple's efforts.

Lawyers for the ministry declined to comment following the loss in court. 

They've argued they believe it's best for the child to be raised in the same family as her siblings in Ontario. 

Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge dismissed the couple's petition to stop the girl from being moved.

The foster parents and their lawyer made a constitutional argument saying the best interests of the child were being ignored.

A full appeal of that ruling is expected to be heard later this summer.