If your ex-partner consents to you moving with the children, you are free to do so, but you should get his consent in written form, preferably as a clause in the custody agreement or order or, if there is already an order in place, then in an amendment.
If he does not consent, you will need to go to court and establish that the move is in the best interests of the children, that you are not moving just to interfere with your ex-partner’s access and that you will make extra efforts to support long distance access with him.
This could include allowing longer visits during school holidays, paying part of the cost of the children’s travel, paying for long distance calls or Skyping between the children and your ex-partner and/or agreeing to a reduced level of child support in acknowledgement of his travel costs to exercise access.
You may be concerned that your ex-partner may try to remove your children from Canada.
It is difficult to protect against the illegal movement of children, but there are some steps you can take. You can try to get a custody order that prohibits or places conditions on international travel and that requires either or both of you to surrender your travel documents. You can ask the court to require that the children’s passports be deposited with the court.
You can contact the Canadian passport office to have a passport alert issued, which would create a “red flag” if anyone tried to apply for a passport for the child.
For more information about protecting your children from being illegally removed from Canada, we encourage you to visit the federal government’s International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left Behind Parents.