TA v Alberta (Children’s Services), 2020 ABQB 97

The Plaintiff, a Cree woman, filed a Statement of Claim against a number of parties after her children were apprehended by Children’s Services. The Application to strike the Statement of Claim and the Application for Summary Judgement were granted. 

Indigenous Law Centre – CaseWatch Blog

The Plaintiff [“TA”] is a Cree woman whose six children were apprehended pursuant to court orders under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. The Claim criticized Edmonton Children’s Services’ [“CS”] handling of the apprehension of the children and sought a broad range of remedies. The Defendants pleaded that CS owed no legal duty of care to TA as the subject parent responding to CS actions and that the child protection proceedings have been handled properly and in good faith. The psychologist who assessed TA additionally asked for summary judgment on the basis that the only evidence has shown that they met their standard of care and acted in circumstances of qualified privilege.

The Defendants applied to strike the Claim as an abusive collateral attack on child protection proceedings pursuant to Rule 3.68(2)(d) and because it disclosed no cause of action. The Court relied on the rule that it is an abuse of process to attempt to relitigate a matter already decided (Dykun v Odishaw, 2000 ABQB 548). Further, the Court found that the wrongs in which TA says were done to her do not create causes of action against the Defendants, and the remedies she asks for are mostly beyond the jurisdiction of this Court. The action is doomed to fail because the mere fact that someone has done something that you do not like, treated you unfairly, or caused you emotional distress, does not automatically create a right to sue them.

The Claim was struck in its entirety, save for the defamation claim against the psychologist. The Court looked to Rule 7.3(b) which provides that a party may apply for a summary judgment where there is no defence or merit to some or part of a claim (Weir-Jones Technical Services Incorporated v Purolator Courier Ltd, 2019 ABCA 49). The plaintiff offered no factual basis to conclude the professional assessment was conducted negligently.

The Court concluded that the lawsuit is an abuse of process in the technical sense that it attempts to relitigate completed court proceedings and is based on a variety of complaints that do not give the Plaintiff a cause of action, irrespective of whether they are accurate or not. The application to strike the Claim and the application for summary judgment are granted.

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