Q: Is a biological parent automatically a guardian of their child?

A: This may surprise a few people, but No. A biological parent is not a guardian of the child if they do not cohabitate with the other parent when the child is born. Guardianship is a concept in Canadian Law which gives a person a series of important responsibilities for a child. A guardian is responsible to support a child, the child has the right to have parenting time with their guardian, a guardian can make important decisions about a child such as medical decisions, education decisions, and religious teachings. These responsibilities are Codified in Section 41 of the Family Law Act of BC.


Once a person is a guardian of a child, they remain a guardian except under the rarest of circumstances. After an application is brought, the courts sometimes limit a guardian’s section 41 responsibilities and grant one guardian decision making, education or health choices if it is in the best interests of the child to do so.


Pro Tip: Get legal advice if you feel that your relationship is unstable. Sometimes the timing of decisions like when and how to leave a relationship can have serious and long-term repercussions. It is much better to make these choices with all the information.


*Any guidance provided is not covered by solicitor client privilege, nor is it taking into consideration all of the facts of your matter beyond those in the question. The legal information is specific to British Columbia Law. If you want a more thorough and case-specific analysis of your legal matter please CONTACT US to arrange a consultation.