Father involvement good for children: Ludmer

By Staff

Men’s studies need to go mainstream before fathers can improve their parenting rights, says Toronto family lawyer Brian Ludmer.

Ludmer, principal of LudmerLaw, spoke this week at the Healthy Fathers = Healthy Families event sponsored by the Canadian Association for Equality, an educational charity working towards a goal of gender equality.

His talk was hosted by the University of Toronto’s Men’s Issues Society, but for now, Ludmer says such groups are relatively lonely trailblazers in a controversial field.

“I think these sorts of conferences and men’s studies organizations generally are necessary because there are concerns that fathers are being marginalized in various ways, and that boys are not doing as well as girls growing up,” Ludmer tells “You would hope that five years from now, it will be just as natural for universities to have men’s studies programs as it is to have women’s studies.”

Ludmer also took part in last year’s event, which he says generated strong attendance as well as some protests.

“Unfortunately, in these early days it is viewed in certain circles as controversial, but I think this is a necessary discourse,” he says.

Ludmer’s presentation focused on social science research around the benefits of greater involvement of fathers in their children’s lives.

“The social science world has coalesced around the need for the involvement of both parents,” he says. “Fathers are missing from children’s lives for various reasons, but the end result is that their absence produces poorer child outcomes.”

Even outside the context of divorce and separation, Ludmer says fathers can sometimes struggle to be taken seriously as parents, an attitude he sees reflected in some on-screen portrayals.

Ludmer has previously taken a strong stance on equal shared parenting, co-founding the group Lawyers for Shared Parenting and sitting on the advisory board of the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization.

He even helped draft bill C-560, a 2013 piece of proposed federal legislation that would have altered Canada’s Divorce Act to enshrine the principle of equal parenting responsibility as the starting point for family restructuring after a separation.

However, the bill, introduced by Saskatchewan Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott, was ultimately defeated on second reading in the House of Commons in 2014.

"Updated proposed legislation will be coming both federally and provincially in Ontario later this year," Ludmer adds.

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