Ontario Announces Changes To Child Protection Laws at Handa Law
Ontario Announces Change...
Sep 19, 2019, Admin

Ontario Announces Changes To Child Protection Laws
On December 8, the Government of Ontario unveiled several proposed changes to its child protection laws. Per the Toronto Star, the changes ‘will give children a say over decisions related to their welfare, allow the government to grab control of children’s aid societies and increase the age of protection from 16 to 18.’

The updated laws aim to improve the lives of Ontario’s vulnerable youth through expanded autonomy and increased government control over child welfare. The changes will be closely monitored by child welfare advocates and Ontario family law lawyers.

“The proposed legislation is going to be groundbreaking,” Children and Youth Services Minister Michael Coteau told the Star. “I believe that it’s going to be reflective of what people in Ontario expect in regards to the delivery of child welfare in the province.”

If you have concerns or questions about Ontario’s impending child welfare legislation changes, feel free to contact Handa Law lawyers today.”

Giving Children A Say
The proposed legislation was inspired in part by the 2008 death of Katelynn Sampson, a seven-year-old who died while in custody of her legal guardians. In November, the provincial New Democratic Party introduced Bill 57, the Katelynn’s Principle Act, which stipulates that when making decisions affecting a child, “the child must be at the center of the decision,” and that “the child is an individual with rights.”

“This legislation finally delivers on what the office of the chief coroner and provincial advocate for children and youth recommended following the tragic death of seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson in 2008,” said NDP MPP Monique Taylor, who introduced the Bill, according to the CBC. “This tragedy occurred because the government systems failed to protect Katelynn.”

Children’s Aid Societies
In 2015, a Toronto Star investigation of Ontario’s 46 children’s aid societies discovered ‘an unaccountable child protection system’ with ‘“striking” differences in the way vulnerable youth are treated across the province.’

The proposed legislation will allow the province to step in and assume control of poorly managed aid societies, and allow the Minister of Children and Youth Services to make appointments to a society’s board of directors or merge under-performing organizations.

Age Of Protection
A final important change to Ontario’s child protection laws will be raising the legal age of protection from 16 to 18, bringing the province in line with the rest of Canada.

Advocates for children’s aid have expressed concern about 16-year-olds having the power to leave care settings without the necessary resources to finish school or find work or housing.

If you believe you may be affected by the upcoming changes to Ontario’s child protection laws, contact the Ontario family law lawyers at Handa Law today. We can help you assess your legal situation and recommend a path forward.

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