Friday, June 12, 2009

Ontario Child and Family Services Review Board left toothless by existing ministry proposed legislation

The Foster Care Council of Canada wrote to the Child and Family Services Review Board (Board) to ask what enforcement provisions or sanctions are available to the Board for use in enforcing the Board's orders when and if a Society does not comply.

The Board responded to our inquiry stating that there are no enforcement provisions or sanctions available to them since they are not under the jurisdiction of the Statutory Powers Procedures Act an Act, a statute which would provide the Board with some teeth to ensure Societies comply with Orders of the Board as provided for in section 19 which states the following:

Enforcement of orders
19. (1) A certified copy of a tribunal’s decision or order in a proceeding may be filed in the Superior Court of Justice by the tribunal or by a party and on filing shall be deemed to be an order of that court and is enforceable as such. 1994, c. 27, s. 56 (35); 2006, c. 19, Sched. C, s. 1 (1).

When the Ministry of Children and Youth Services drafted legislation (Bill 210) to modify the complaints procedures against Ontario's Children's Aid Societies as outlined in section 68 of the Act, they intentionally included the following subsection which prevents the Board from having any powers of enforcement regarding their decisions and orders.


(9) The Statutory Powers Procedure Act does not apply to a hearing under this section. 2006, c. 5, s. 26.

The Board's response letter is included below and we have chosen to remove the name of the person who wrote the response in order to protect the individual from possible retaliation by the Ministry under which the Board operates.

Mr Dunn,

This email is in response to your question regarding enforcement provisions or options available to impose sanctions if the Board orders a CAS to do something and they do not comply.

The Board does not have formal enforcement powers as the Statutory Powers and Procedures Act does not apply to section 68 of the Child and Family Services Act.


  1. If the CFSRB has no enforcement powers over the CAS then whatever value is the complaint process? We might just as well write down all of our concerns about the incompetency and inaction of the FACS and throw the document in the garbage. The CFSRB simply serves as someone to whom the officials in our wonderful government ministries can "pass the buck" which is without any doubt what they do best.

  2. Having submitted a complaint to the CFSRB with regards to the Sudbury CAS it appears to me that the CAS is spending a lot of money in order to have complaints quashed. The recent ruling in superior court attests to the fact that the Board and people who complain to the board about CAS's are in fact a thorn in the side of CAS's. All CAS's must be held accountable for the decisions they make or do not make and the CFSRB is at this time people's only avenue to address this.

    It is a difficult and lengthy process to complain and CAS holds all the financial and legal power but we will endure and continue to fight to be heard.