WHEREAS long term studies of children show irrefutably that children need both a mother and father to thrive and become well-adjusted adults; and

WHEREAS according to Statistics Canada in 2004, custody was awarded to the mother in 45.0% of cases, while fathers were awarded custody in 8.1% of cases; in 46.5% of the cases, custody was awarded to the mother and father jointly; and

WHEREAS in joint custody arrangements children do not usually spend equal amounts of time with each parent, but rather one parent retains physical custody, usually the mother, and the father is customarily awarded access rights only; and

WHEREAS the 1998 Report of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on Child Custody and Access recommended that all child custody awards in divorce cases commence with the rebuttable presumption that the father and mother have equal parenting rights with equal legal responsibility and joint physical custody of the child; and

WHEREAS a Nanos Research poll conducted during March 2009 indicates that 80% of Canadians support equal shared parenting after divorce. These results are nearly identical to a Nanos Research conducted in 2007 on the same question.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Divorce Act be amended to create a rebuttable presumption of equal parenting in all child custody cases.