Amid Measles Outbreak, Father Brings Mother to Court to Force Vaccination of Children

May 9, 2019

Mark Feigenbaum

Measles Outbreaks Worldwide

This week, Montreal public health issued a third warning of possible measles exposure after an individual was believed to have contracted the illness while on a trip to Paris and was hospitalized upon their return. The individual had not been vaccinated. This was the third warning related to measles issued by Montreal public health in 2019.

In the United States, a record number of measles cases have been reported in 2019, with at least 764 cases across 23 statesaccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those most affected are children under age 4 and people who have not been vaccinated.

In New York City, public health emergencies have been declared and the city has issued summonses to those not following vaccination requirements.

In Europe, more than 34,000 Europeans have been infected with measles during the first two months of 2019, leading the World Health Organization to warn vulnerable people to get vaccinated, especially if they plan on traveling.

Toronto Case: Father Bringing Mother to Court over Vaccination

In Toronto this week, a father went to the Superior Court in an attempt to appeal an arbitration decision that ruled that his ex-wife and the mother of his two children did not have to vaccinate their sons. He claimed that the arbitrator upheld his ex-wife’s wishes to leave the children unvaccinated based on “pseudo-scientific evidence” about the dangers of vaccines. In the original decision, the arbitrator cited a leading advocate in the U.S. anti-vaccination movement who claims vaccines do more harm than good.

The arbitrator wrote:

“Choosing not to vaccinate is not illegal, negligent nor immoral. It is a personal choice. I am unable to find any risk to [the children] if they remain unvaccinated. Further, I am satisfied on the evidence the vaccines may pose additional risk to them.”

This decision came despite the fact that, while the case was being heard, both children contracted whooping cough, which is a disease that is otherwise covered by standard childhood vaccinations. 

The couple had been granted joint custody in a 2015 divorce settlement that set out that disputes would be decided through the arbitration process. Though the father had not pursued the issue of vaccination during the marriage, he chose to go to arbitration demanding the children, now aged 12 and eight, be vaccinated. 

At the hearing, the wife called two anti-vaccination witnesses; a former Health Canada scientist and a medical doctor specializing in alternative medicine and homeopathy.

The medical doctor testified that certain vaccinations can cause neurological injury and that the human papillomavirus vaccine kills two in every thousand children who receive it. The doctor also testified that contracting measles can help prevent cancer.

The father is asking the court to allow him to appeal the binding arbitration decision. The decision also ordered him pay $35,000 of his ex-wife’s legal costs.

While the ex-wife has not commented on the issue of the appeal, she has stated that the father breached an agreement to keep the arbitration decision confidential and will be pursuing legal action as a result.

Get Advice

At Feigenbaum Law, our goal is to help you move forward following the breakdown of a relationship while retaining as much financial stability as possible and ensuring your children are provided for. Mark Feigenbaum is able to counsel his clients on all potential risks that may result from a family law dispute, not just those related strictly to the breakdown of a marriage. Contact Mark online or call him at (905) 695-1269 or toll-free at (877) 275-4792 to book a consultation.


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