The parents were Argentine nationals, who had married in Argentina. On March 1986 they traveled to Canada and lived at Guelph University in Ontario, where the father studied and worked.
The child, a girl, was born in Canada on February 6, 1990, she was 4 at the date of the alleged wrongful retention until then she had spent all of her life in Canada.
On December 11, 1993, the mother traveled to Argentina with the girl to visit her family. On January 4, 1994 the mother informed the father that she intended to stay in Argentina with the child.
In February 1994 the father’s return application was filed with the Ontario Central Authority. On March 7, 1994 an Ontario Court granted custody to the father.
First instance and appellate courts in Argentina found the retention of the child to be wrongful and ordered the return of the child to Canada. The mother appealed to the Supreme Court.