Ontario introduces ‘historic’ changes to child-protection laws
Sweeping changes to Ontario's child protection legislation heralded as
"historic" by youth and advocates.
Thu., Dec. 8, 2016
Advocates, child protection workers and youth are praising the introduction
of historic provincial legislation that puts the needs of Ontario’s most
vulnerable children at the heart of every decision about their care.
For Richard Marcano, 22, who grew up in the care of children’s aid, it was
an “emotional” moment.
“It gives me hope,” he said. “Not just for me, but for the youth who are
still in care and for the next generations to come. Youth feel like they
don’t have a voice. This gives them a voice.”
Young people worked hard to bring change, added Michele Farrugia, 26, a
former child in care and now a youth amplifier with the Provincial Advocate
for Children and Youth.
“We fought for this. And we’re not stopping here. We will make more
fundamental change,” he said at Covenant House youth shelter Thursday where
Michael Coteau, minister for children and youth services, announced a
rewrite of Ontario’s 31-year-old child protection law.
“I think today is a historic day for children and youth across the
province,” Farrugia added.
The proposed new Child, Youth and Family Services Act, tabled in the
legislature Thursday, would replace existing legislation with a modern,
child-centred act, that will strengthen the rights of children and youth,
It will affirm the rights of children through the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child, recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion and
the need to continue to address systemic racism.
The new law, if passed, is consistent with “Katelynn’s Principle” which
states that children should be seen, heard and respected. The principle was
a key recommendation from the inquest into the murder of 7-year-old Katelynn
Sampson in 2008.
“For too long, the system has focused on problems facing children and youth
and not enough on their voice, their opinions, their thoughts and their
goals,” Coteau said. “This legislation is probably the most comprehensive
and the biggest game-changer in child protection in decades.”
The new law would also raise the age of protection from 16 to 18, offer more
help to vulnerable children and families in their homes before crises arise,
strengthen oversight of children’s aid societies and make services more
culturally appropriate for black children and youth.
The changes are aimed at addressing the over-representation of
children from black and aboriginal families in foster care and group homes.
The language will also be more respectful of First Nations, Métis and Inuit
Coteau’s proposed changes brought Irwin Elman, provincial advocate for
children and youth, to tears.
“This is a testament to the young people’s courage and tenacity to not back
down,” he said of his decades-long fight to raise the voices of children and
youth in government corridors. “They brought Ontario to this moment.”
Coteau thanked Elman for his work on the file and the two men embraced after
the news conference.
Youth representatives welcomed the government’s plan to raise the age of
“This is a great change. It’s very exciting. It will help a lot of people
like me,” said Macy, 23, a former Covenant House resident who left an
abusive home in southwestern Ontario when she was 16 and ended up homeless
in Toronto. Macy is now a first-year Ryerson University student studying to
become a child and youth worker.
Currently, a youth seeking care for the first time at age 16 is not eligible
for support. Raising the threshold will give all 16- and 17-year-olds access
to protection services, reducing their risk of homelessness and human
trafficking, Coteau said. The move is expected to help an additional 1,600
youth in its first year and would bring Ontario in line with other
provinces, he added.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” said David Rivard, chief executive
officer of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. He said he looks forward
to a deeper briefing on the proposed legislative changes.
“With something so comprehensive, they’re going to need a lot of policy
work,” said Rivard. “I guess my fear is they may not have enough people in
government right now to do that because really it sounds like an overhaul of
the whole legislation. But I think (Coteau’s) heart is in the right place
and we want to support him in that direction.”
And then there is a matter of money, which was not discussed at the
announcement, he added.
Youth were pleased there will be more accountability for children’s aid
societies and, in particular, unannounced inspections of group homes.
“I was part of group homes where it was not good,” said Farrugia. The homes
always knew when it was inspection time, he said, and had days to prepare.
“They replaced mouldy bath mats” that had been around for a year, Farrugia
said. “They made sure the repairs were all done and made sure we were on our
best behaviour. That’s unacceptable.”
The province will establish a working group of experts, including youth, to
help the government implement the proposed legislation, the minister said.
In 2014-15, an average of 15,625 Ontario children were in foster or
group-home care because of abuse or neglect from parents, and thousands more
were investigated for possible protection. Ontario’s 38 children’s aid
societies and nine Indigenous child well-being societies received about $1.5
billion in government funding last year.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Another tragic example of propaganda by the Fascist Government of
Ontario that believes in Gender Superiority, a policy of gender apartheid that
targets fathers and children and to a lesser extent, mothers who the CAS decide
at first glance to remove their kids and rarely ever change their minds or their
goals regardless of the evidence.
In Ontario, child protection is run by private corporations under
contract to the Ontario Government. They have Government type incomes,
Government style unions but NO Government accountability. Last year, they
collected directly 1.5 Billion Dollars. That is in direct operating costs. The
cost of their Criminal Offences is many many times that amount paid for by the
citizens of Ontario and the Federal Government who had over "extra amounts" upon
request without any public inquiry. They have bottomless buckets of cash to
spend destroying those who they don't like and, their targets all too frequently
Local lawyers call them the Gestapo" for good reason.
Their lawyers are notorious for fabricating evidence, and then
being "anointed" as judges where they "rubber stamp" decisions regardless of the
Ontario Children's Aid Societies employ sociopaths, psychopaths
and the least suitable who rise in power to maintain a fascist organization,
that promotes abuse of children.
If you are a father and have a story of abuse of power by the
Children's Aid Society of Ottawa or anywhere else in Ontario, drop us an email