Father in Canada takes it upon himself to teach his four kids how to ride the city bus to and from school. Everything is sunshine and rainbows for two years but then an anonymous busybody makes a complaint to the government about young children riding the bus alone. And now the kids are not allowed to anywhere unsupervised.
Let’s assume that this good father in the great nation of Canada, like the vast majority of fathers everywhere (despite all the claims of “toxic masculinity”) loves his kids. Do you think he would knowingly place them in danger? Do you think the kids’ mom would let him do that if she thought there was any chance of the kids running into trouble? Of course not.
These were not just random kids running around unsupervised. They were kids who had been taught how to do something by a responsible parent and had been successfully negotiating the system for two years.
I can understand someone being unsettled by such young kids out in public alone and calling someone to ensure the kids are ok. But once the bureaucrats looked into it and gained an understanding of the situation, they should have apologized to the dad for the inconvenience and gone on about their day.
Adrian Crook, the dad behind the blog 5Kids1Condo,taught his four oldest kids—ages 7, 8, 9, and 11—how to ride the city bus to and from school for the past two years in Vancouver.
The result? Fantastic. The kids love it, and became friends with the bus drivers. Once Adrian even received an email from a random bus passenger saying what a pleasure his well-behaved kids were.
But (you knew there had to be a but) recently someone reported these “unsupervised” kids to the Ministry of Children and Family Development—the Canadian equivalent of Child Protective Services—and the agency opened an inquiry. They came to Adrian’s house and interviewed each child separately. Aware of the stakes, Adrian tried to be cordial. He provided character references. And, adds Crook:
I even suggested the Ministry shadow the kids on a bus ride, but they declined.
While the Ministry conducted their weeks-long investigation, they had me sign a “Safety Plan” stating that the kids wouldn’t take the bus alone until the investigation was completed. I returned to spending several hours a day transiting the kids back and forth from school, a reduction in freedom the kids didn’t understand.
Then decision day finally came.
It started off in a favourable way, with the supervisor insisting that I’d gone “above and beyond” what any parent should have to do to train their kids to be responsible and conscious transit riders….
Ultimately, however, For the Ministry had checked with their lawyers “across the country” and the Attorney General, and determined that children under 10 years old could not be unsupervised in or outside the home, for any amount of time. That included not just the bus, but even trips across the street to our corner store, a route I can survey in its entirety from my living room window.
That bizarre and benighted decision was based on a British Columbia case we’ve discussed here, in which a judge ruled that no child under 10 can stay home alone. As terrible as that decision was, it was irrelevant to Crook’s situation. That was about one 8-year-old, home alone, not four kids together, on the bus.
So what? Crook continues:
The Ministry also said that in other provinces, the legal age to be unsupervised is much higher. In fact, only three provinces have legislated minimum ages at which kids can be left home alone (and BC isn’t one of them): Ontario (16), New Brunswick (12) and Manitoba (12). Only Quebec has a statutory minimum age for being left alone in a vehicle, and that’s 7 years old.
Does anyone really think there are no children under 16 being left unsupervised in Ontario?
Of course not. But does anyone really think common sense is what we’re talking about here?
More at the link.