CANADA ADOPTION NEWS

Attention News Editors:
Ontario Delivers On Its Commitment To Implement New Adoption Information Laws Implementation Of Legislation Will Help Protect Privacy
TORONTO, Feb. 1 /CNW/ – Ontario is fulfilling its commitment to deliver a
new, more open adoption information disclosure system that will allow easier
access to information in adoption records and provide new privacy protections
for people who do not want to be contacted, Minister of Community and Social
Services Madeleine Meilleur announced today.
“We are making it easier for thousands of adoptees and birth parents to
learn about their medical and personal histories while establishing stronger
privacy safeguards than currently exist,” said Meilleur. “We recognize that
the right to information is not the same as the right to a relationship.”
The Ontario government has begun implementing Bill 183, the Adoption
Information Disclosure Act, 2005. Adult adoptees and birth parents whose
adoptions were finalized in Ontario can now:
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– Register a “no contact” notice with the Ontario Registrar General
(ORG) if they do not want to be contacted.
– Register with the ORG a notice specifying a “contact preference” on
how they prefer to be contacted.
– Apply to the Child and Family Services Review Board to prevent
disclosure of identifying information if there are concerns regarding
sexual harm or significant physical/emotional harm.
>>
Adult adoptees will also be able to register a “waiver of protection”
that will allow the Ontario Registrar General to release information to a
birth parent even though the adopted person may have been a victim of abuse by
the birth parent.
The legislation is expected to be fully implemented in the fall of 2007.
The Province is currently putting the necessary procedures in place to process
requests for information contained in adoption orders and original birth
records. The government will also be conducting an advertising campaign in the
coming weeks across Ontario, Canada and the United States to inform adoptees
and birth parents about their new information and privacy rights.
“This act will have a profound impact on thousands of people who have
been longing for years, often decades, to know their roots or the names of
their children,” said Dr. Michael Grand from the Coalition for Open Adoption
Records. “Finally, as adults, we can make private, responsible decisions
regarding contact.”
This is the latest example of how the McGuinty government is working to
strengthen Ontario by strengthening Ontario’s families. Other initiatives
include:
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– Providing more children and youth with mental health services through
more than 200 new and expanded local programs across the province
resulting from increased investments of $38 million annually.
– Creating and sustaining almost 15,000 new child care spaces, as part
of our Best Start plan for healthy early development, learning and
child care.
– Helping single-parent families by increasing their assistance. The
social assistance rate increases, along with the NCBS flow-through,
will mean that single parents with two children are receiving $1,620
more than they would have in 2003-04 – a 15.7 per cent increase.
>>
“We’re moving Ontario’s adoption information laws into the 21st century,”
said Meilleur. “Adoptees and birth parents are finally getting the same rights
as all citizens, the right to know their identity and the right to know their
past.”
Members of the general public: 416-325-5666 or toll free at
1-888-789-4199
For information on applications for “no contact” notices, “contact
preferences” and “waivers of protection” visit: http://www.serviceontario.ca.
<<
Disponible en français
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca
Backgrounder
————————————————————————-
ADOPTION INFORMATION DISCLOSURE THAT BALANCES
THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION WITH THE PROTECTION OF PRIVACY
>>
The Adoption Information Disclosure Act, 2005, amends the Child and
Family Services Act and the Vital Statistics Act. Phase one of the legislation
has been implemented, allowing adult adoptees and birth parents to register
privacy protections with the Registrar General. When fully implemented, the
legislation will balance the right of adult adoptees and birth parents to know
about their history and identity with the protection of privacy.
<<
Right To Information
– Adoptees who are 18 years old or older will be able to obtain copies
of their original birth registrations that will provide them with
their original birth name and may identify birth parents.
– Adoptees who are 18 years old or older will be able to obtain copies
of their adoption orders that may provide information on the adopted
person’s given name at birth, birth registration number and name of
adoptive parents.
– Birth parents will be able to have access to information from their
child’s birth records and adoption orders if the adoptee is 19 years
old or older. Information about the adoptive parents would be removed
from the adoption records.
– Adult adoptees will be able to register a “waiver of protection” that
will allow the Ontario Registrar General to release information to a
birth parent even though the adopted person may have been a victim of
abuse by the birth parent.
Protecting Privacy
– Birth parents and adult adoptees can apply to the Child and Family
Services Review Board (CFSRB) to prohibit disclosure of identifying
information in circumstances where there are concerns about
preventing sexual harm or significant physical/emotional harm.
– Birth parents and adult adoptees can register a “no contact” notice
with the Registrar General. This means the birth parent or adoptee
must agree, in writing, not to contact the person who registered the
“no contact” notice, before he or she can receive information from
the birth registration or adoption order. A person who violates a “no
contact” notice may be fined up to $50,000.
– When an individual registers a “no contact” notice, it may include
family and medical history and a brief statement concerning the
person’s reasons for not wishing to be contacted. That information
will be passed on to the adoptee or birth parent if he or she applies
to the Registrar General.
>>
Information and applications to register a “no contact” notice, a
“contact preference” and a “waiver of protection,” can be found at
http://www.serviceontario.ca. For information on how to apply for an order to
prohibit the disclosure of identifying information contact:
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The Child and Family Services Review Board
2 Bloor St. West, 24th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 3V5
Telephone: 416-327-4673
Toll-Free: 1-888-728-8823
Fax: 416-327-0558
>>
Birth parents should be aware that non-identifying information about them
may have been, or may be, disclosed to the adoptee or adoptive parent by the
Adoption Disclosure Unit at the Ministry of Community and Social Services or
by a children’s aid society. Adoptees should be aware that non-identifying
information about them may have been, or may be, disclosed to a member of the
birth family by the Adoption Disclosure Unit or by a children’s aid society.
Once the Adoption Information Disclosure Act, 2005, is fully implemented,
birth relatives may be able to match this non-identifying information with
identifying information disclosed by the Registrar General. Adult adoptees and
birth parents may wish to consider this when deciding whether or not to apply
to the CFSRB to prohibit the disclosure of identifying information and whether
or not to register a “no contact” notice with the Registrar General.
The legislation is retroactive and applies to all adopted individuals
whose adoptions were registered in Ontario.
<<
Members of the general public: 416-325-5666 or toll free at
1-888-789-4199

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