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The Justice Building on Queen Street in Fredericton. Image: Brad Perry

Child protection legislation gap did not exist: court

By Brad Perry Feb 13, 2024 | 11:58 AM

New Brunswick’s Court of Appeal has ruled there was no gap in the province’s child protection legislation.

The government brought forward the Child and Youth Well-Being Act to modernize part of the 40-year-old Family Services Act.

But the province said an “error” meant sections of the old act were repealed in December before the new legislation could be proclaimed and brought into effect.

The province was forced to proclaim the new legislation earlier than anticipated in January to close the “legislative gap.”

Attorney General Ted Flemming sought advice from the province’s top court to determine whether child protection revisions remained in effect between Dec. 13 and Jan. 26 and whether the court has jurisdiction to address the possible gap.

According to media reports, the court ruled Monday that child protection provisions remained in effect since it was a drafting error that caused the legislative void and not the legislature’s intention.

In a statement late Monday, Flemming thanked the Court of Appeal for its “expeditious hearing of our reference questions.”

“We will take the necessary time to review the court’s decision and have more to say on the matter in the coming days,” he said.