2012 Jill Vickers Prize

May 31, 2012 | Jill Vickers Prize

Winner: Lois Harder and Michelle Thomarat

2011 CPSA conference paper – The Law and the Parent: the Numbers Game of Standing and Status

Excerpt from jury report: Lois Harder and Michelle Thomarat expertly weave together three theoretical lenses to analyze legal jurisprudence surrounding the concepts of ‘parental status’ and ‘standing in place of a parent’. Their paper interrogates the current legal ambivalence concerning the number of formally recognized parents in various circumstances, and convincingly challenges “the heteronormative, monogamous and biological presumptions” underpinning recognized Canadian family structures Harder and Thomarat clearly and logically draw on relevant case law evidence in their analysis to uncover the continued pride of place of the nuclear family, paternal privilege and biology in legal circles. As such, the paper makes a strong case for widening the threshold for parental standing to three (or more) parents instead of the liberal-privacy embedded, two-parent model. Their work ultimately helps break down gendered legal barriers to allow for more diverse inclusions in parental decision-making, particularly those surrounding same-sex relationships.