Thursday, June 04, 2009

Council FIPPA Request

UPDATE: The Ministry has denied the FIPPA request. (here)

On Thursday, June 04, 2009, the Foster Care Council of Canada has mailed the following Freedom of Information Request in the public interest to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services seeking information pertaining to several matters including a highly secretive, internal survey the ministry sent to several Children's Aid Societies regarding complaints received by their clients, revocation and/or suspension of foster home and group home licenses, Child and Family Services Review Board, ministry policies and guidelines, and much more.

It is our belief the Ministry will fight most of it, or attempt to present costs which are unaccessible to the requesters.

You can download and print a copy of the final request by clicking the following link, or review the contents of the request below the link.

See the draft online at http://afterfostercare.wetpaint.com/page/FIPPA+CAS+Complaints




Mary Lou Daniels
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
FOI Manager, FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT
6th Flr, 880 Bay St, Toronto,ON, M7A 2B6
Phone:416-327-4545, Fax:416-326-2567
Email: Marylou.Daniels@ontario.ca

Preamble
As it is in the public interest for the citizen's of Ontario to understand the way in which the Ontario Government, through the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (the ministry) spends tax payer's money in the administration of its duties to the province's most vulnerable members of the public, children and families affected by child protection services the Foster Care Council of Canada would like to request from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services/Community and Social Services (as they share the same records storage facilities) the numbered list of requests on the following pages.

Waiver of Payment Request
Prior to listing the items in this FIPPA request, and in accordance with section 57 (4) of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act I am requesting a fair and equitable waiver of any and all subsequent fees associated with this request, since myself, as an individual have no income what-so-ever, and since the organization I am the volunteer Executive Director of, which is making this request, the Foster Care Council of Canada is currently limited to a bank balance of less than $235.00 with no expected deposits at this time, or any time in the near foreseeable future, with pending expenses of approximately $120.00 for our annual internet hosting fees for our organization's web site, monthly bank account expenses in the amount of $1.95 / mo, the mandatory $5.00 fee for this request, possible appeal fees of over $25.00 associated with this request should the Ministry refuse any information requested, which we feel is quite probable in this request as has been our experience in the past, and any further operating costs of the organization which would leave us in a position of financial hardship if we had to pay any or all fees associated with a search for this information.

In addition, and in accordance with section 57 (5) of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act, if the Ministry decides not to waive any and all fees associated with this request, we intend to request a review of the amount of the fee or the head's decision not to waive the fee from the Commissioner since the request is made to help us to further ensure the health and safety of Ontario's most vulnerable members of the public, children and families affected by child protection services – is upheld. The relevant provisions of which read as follows:

Waiver of payment
(4) A head shall waive the payment of all or any part of an amount required to be paid under subsection (1) if, in the head’s opinion, it is fair and equitable to do so after considering,

(a) the extent to which the actual cost of processing, collecting and copying the record varies from the amount of the payment required by subsection (1);

(b) whether the payment will cause a financial hardship for the person requesting the record;

(c) whether dissemination of the record will benefit public health or safety; and

(d) any other matter prescribed in the regulations. R.S.O. 1990, c.F.31, s.57(4); 1996, c.1, Sched. K, s.11(2).
Review

(5) A person who is required to pay a fee under subsection (1) may ask the Commissioner to review the amount of the fee or the head’s decision not to waive the fee. R.S.O. 1990, c.F.31, s.57(5); 1996, c.1, Sched. K, s.11(3).


Ministry's Obligation to Assist Re-formulate Requests where Necessary
On June 03, 2009, I received an e-mail from an Ontario citizen, David Witzel, which was also sent to yourself, Mary Lou Daniels via e-mail to Marylou.Daniels@ontario.ca which informed both myself, and yourself of Privacy Commission order number MO-2201 ( http://www.ipc.on.ca/images/Findings/up-mo_2201.pdf ) which clearly states that under section 17 (2) of the MFIPPA, where the detail provided in a request is not sufficient, the institution has an obligation to offer assistance in formulating a request so as to comply with section (1) of the Act as shown below.

Records on CD Format where Appropriate
In addition, the Ministry is welcome to place as many files as possible on CD for ease of access and distribution, and to minimize costs if appropriate to the Ministry.

Narrowing Down of Requests
I am willing to discuss the narrowing down of any requests with the Ministry in order to make the requests as efficient as possible for everyone involved.

The list of requests begins on the following pages.

Requests

1. Access to, or copies of, any and all communications or "records" as defined in the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act pertaining to a survey which was sent out to several Children's Aid Societies in Ontario which had as its focus, complaints received by Children's Aid Societies. Please be sure to include among the communications and records the following

a) any fax, electronic e-mail, or other forms of communication, memos, or records between the Ministry, regional offices of the Ministry, and the various Societies surveyed which may be related to the survey in any way

b) a list of the Societies surveyed

c) the reason for the survey being sent out to the various Societies and what the Ministry intends to do with the results of the survey

d) the various Societies responses to the survey -- as submitted to the Ministry -- and anything else which relates in any way to the survey

e) the names of the individuals who initiated the survey, who is the head of the survey project or initiative, and the approximate cost of the survey

f) any meeting records, minutes, notes, and memos of any kind resulting from any meeting which discussed or caused the survey to be created and distributed

g) clarification as to whether the results of the surveys will be included, used, consulted, or referred to in any way for the purposes of the 2010 mandatory five year review of the Child and Family Services Act as per section 224 of the Act and how they will be used in the 2010 mandatory five year review

2. A copy of any protocols as submitted to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services between the Hamilton Wentworth Children's Aid Society and the Hamilton Police Service regarding the protection of children who have been involved with or had contact with the police in any way.

3. A copy of the protocol or any related records within the Ministry of Children and Youth Services which states, or has the effect of preventing John Dunn (myself) from communicating in any way with any staff of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, either orally or in writing, except through Mary Lou Daniels, the Freedom of Information Manager.

a) any “records” as defined in the Act, ( minus identifying information) including those in any format, databases, memos, lists, written or verbal, protocols, guidelines, guides, orders, directives, e-mails, or otherwise, which the ministry or any of its staff have in their possession, or have issued to anyone, which would or could act as, or have the effect or appearance of creating a list of citizens who are being told only to communicate with the ministry in writing, or limiting their communications to a certain staff member of the ministry.

Note: I am currently aware of two citizens in Ontario who are currently being told not to communicate with the ministry in any way other than in writing and to a specified ministry staff member in violation of section 63 (1) of the Act which clearly states that FIPPA requests can be made orally as shown below:

Oral requests
63. (1) Where a head may give access to information under this Act, nothing in this Act prevents the head from giving access to that information in response to an oral request or in the absence of a request. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, s. 63 (1).


b) is the ministry, or any of its staff allowed to require, order, direct, ask, or indicate in any way that any citizen shall make all of their communications and requests for information from the ministry in writing therefore contravening section 63 (1) of the Act?

4. The number of Directives which have been issued by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and distributed to all ministry approved Societies since January 01, 2005, in addition to the name or title and subject matter of each Directive, and a copy of each Directive sorted by date from oldest to newest.

5. The number of civil lawsuits seeking damages which have named the The Crown in Right of Ontario (Ministry of Children and Youth Services) as a defendant since January 01, 2005 in addition to the "Style of Cause" minus identifying information of private citizens (for example: John Doe v. The Crown in Right of Ontario (Ministry of Children and Youth Services) and the corresponding Court File numbers of each case, the outcomes, and amount of money spent on each case, including settlements and damages.

6. Copies of all of the By-Laws of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa as submitted to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services/Community and Social Services in accordance with section 13 of the Child and Family Services Act. I am seeking to include all of the By-Laws, not just By-Law #1 in this request. To further assist in understanding this particular request, Section 13 of the Child and Family Services Act reads as follows:

Approved agency
13. (1) An approved agency shall file a certified copy of its by-laws and of any amendment to them with the Minister forthwith after they are made.

Idem
(2) The by-laws of an approved agency shall contain the prescribed provisions.


7. The number of, and copies of all records (letters, faxes, e-mails, memos, or communications of any kind) -- minus personally identifying information -- which have been received by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services / Community and Social Services seeking an Investigation by a Judge and their corresponding responses, as per section 67 of the Child and Family Services Act which reads as follows

Investigation by judge
67. (1) The Minister may appoint a judge of the Court of Ontario to investigate a matter relating to a child in a society’s care or the proper administration of this Part, and a judge who is appointed shall conduct the investigation and make a written report to the Minister. R.S.O. 1990, c.C.11, s.67(1); 1999, c.2, s.20.


8. A list of, or reasonable access to, or copies of, all "Notices of Proposal" and corresponding "written reasons" served on/to approved agencies in accordance with section 22 (2) of the Child and Family Services Act shown below.

Note: These "Notices of Proposal" and "written reasons" mentioned above inform approved agencies of the fact that the Ministry intends to revoke or suspend the approval of an agency and/or a premises as approved under 8 (1) and 9 (1) or to revoke or suspend the designation of a Society as designated under 15 (2) or that the minister may remove any or all of the members of the board of directors and appoint others in their place or operate and manage the Society in the place of the board of directors.

Notice of proposal
22. (2) Where the Minister proposes to act under clause (1)(e) or (f), the Minister shall serve notice of the proposal and written reasons for it on the approved agency, unless the agency has requested that the Minister so act or has consented to the Minister’s proposal.


9. A list of, or reasonable access to, or copies of all reports made under section 22 (7) of the Child and Family Services Act which have been sent to the Minister of Children and Youth Services by the person appointed to do so under section 22 (5) regarding the suspension or revocation of an approval under section 8 or 9, or the suspension or revocation of a designation as a Society as designated under section 15. Section 22 (7) reads as follows:

Report to Minister
(7) The person or persons appointed under subsection (5) shall hold a hearing and make a report to the Minister setting out,

(a) recommendations as to the carrying out of the proposal; and

(b) the findings of fact, any information or knowledge used in making the recommendations and any conclusions of law arrived at that are relevant to the recommendations,
and shall provide a copy of the report to the agency.


10. A list of, or reasonable access to, or copies of all section 22 (8) notices of the Ministers decisions and reasons thereof, sent from the Minister of Children and Youth Services to agencies as stated in section 22 (8) below.

Minister’s decision
(8) After considering a report made under this section, the Minister may carry out the proposal and shall give notice of the Minister’s decision to the agency with reasons.

11. A list of, and copies of any agreements made with any other Government in accordance with section 21 of the Child and Family Services Act which reads as follows:

Minister may make agreements with other governments
21. The Minister may, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, make agreements on behalf of the Government of Ontario with the Crown in right of Canada and with the Crown in right of any other province of Canada respecting services under this Act or the care or protection of children. R.S.O. 1990, c.C.11, s.21.


12. The number of deaths of children under the age of 18 who have died while under the custody of a Society and/or their agents/foster homes/group homes/ and reasons for their deaths minus personally identifying information of the victim or their families.

13. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has an obligation to monitor the Children's Aid Societies in Ontario. If a former ward of a Society asked a Society for copies of his own records as held by the Society and he was given copies of his own records and those of another person's records therefore violating the other person's privacy what is the duty or role of the Ministry in relation to such an incident. Please explain what the Ministry should do if it were to be informed of such a violation. This is not a request of what either of the parties should do. This is a request to ask what the Ministry should do if it were to be notified of such a violation of privacy.

14. Copies of all records (letters, faxes, e-mails, or communications and reports of any kind) related in any way to the incident of Jim Malone driving his propane filled truck into the Windsor Essex Children's Aid Society building causing his death and approximately 1 Million Dollars in damage to the building including any records pertaining to damage related costs or funding.

15. A list of, and copies of any codes of conduct and/or codes of ethics or similar publications, records or documents, for all Ministry of Children and Youth Services staff as issued to all staff by any department of the the Ministry, government or Unions.

16. If a regular citizen who is not an employee of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has a complaint about the conduct of a staff member of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services what is the proper procedure for that person to file a complaint about a staff member's conduct, what are all the steps the Ministry will take to resolve the issue, and what options does the citizen have if the issue is not resolved. Also if there is a publication of any kind in relation to complaints about Ministry staff, a copy of those publications, whether internally or externally, or publicly geared or directed.

17. A list of, and reasonable access to, or copies of all Directives issued from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa since January 1, 2005.

18 A copy of the Ministry's Child-Welfare Accountability Framework and any guidelines, or guides and or directives issued or sent in any way to the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, (OACAS) or to approved Societies which are related in any way to the latest Framework.

19. A list of, and reasonable access to, or copies of all records (minus identifying information) in relation to the following Child and Family Services Review Board (which is under the jurisdiction of the ministry of Children and Youth Services for FIPPA purpose as indicated in line 18 of the Schedule to the Act) file number: CA-07-0083 as shown below. Including the written decision of Brian Cohen, the presiding Board member.

Date: March 13, 2008
File Number: CA07-0083
Citation: 2008 CFSRB 17
Indexed as: W.P. and B.P. v. Lennox-Addington F&CS (CFSA s.68)



20. A list of, and reasonable access to, or copies of all records or publications which act as, or are intended to be used as guidelines, instructions, information, or directives to, and for foster parents, group homes and their staff in relation to their duties as foster parents.

21. A list of, and copies of all records, communications, or publications, which act as, or are intended to be used as guidelines, instructions, information, protocols, or directives of any kind, between the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and any other ministry, government, hospital, health agency, professional, entity, association, or Children's Aid Society in relation to, or connected in any way with “flagging” or somehow notifying hospitals and their staff, and or hospital records, or Ontario citizen's health records, or similar, regarding citizens who may come into contact with a hospital in relation to the birth of a child child when that person is known to or of concern to a Children's Aid Society.

Note: As an example to assist in finding this information, if a mother or father is known to a Children's Aid Society, hospitals are somehow informed of this fact via information which “flags” them as being a concern to a Society or something similar to that, therefore indicating to the hospital or professional reading the file to contact a Children's Aid Society to let them know those clients are currently or recently in attendance with the professional or agency or hospital etc. What procedures, agreements with other governments, ministries, agencies, professionals, or other entities are in place that the Ministry is aware of or has custody and control of, or access to, which relates to this notification process or flagging or marking of citizens files.

22. A list of, and reasonable access to, or copies of, all records or publications, or communications of any kind related to Serious Occurrence Reports received by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services

23. A list of, and reasonable access to, or copies of, all records, or publications, manuals, guides or guidelines, and policies which pertain to Ministry Crown Ward Reviews

24. A list of, schedule of, or index of, or reasonable access to, all Ministry of Children and Youth Services Policies and procedures and / or manuals, with titles and subject

25. A copy of, or reasonable access to, the latest Ministry of Children and Youth Services Child Welfare Funding Formula and any associated guides or guidelines, directives, and policies as issued, sent, distributed or communicated in any way to Children's Aid Societies in Ontario or to the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.

26. A copy of, or reasonable access to, any Directives sent, delivered or communicated in any way to the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies

27. A copy of, or reasonable access to, any reports or submissions made by the ministry to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a sessional paper since January 01, 2005

28. A copy of, or reasonable access to, any reports or written reports or submissions made by the ministry to any committee or sub-committee of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario since January 01, 2005

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