Thursday, June 25, 2009

Request for List of Members filed with Ottawa CAS

Over the past few years, former foster child, John Dunn has been advocating for Children's Aid Societies in Ontario to become more transparent and accountable to the public they serve.

His attempts have included successfully advocating for a private members motion (not a Bill) (Private Members Motion 41 by MPP - Andrea Horwath - see end of post for content) which seeks to have all Societies in Ontario make public the fact that they offer memberships to people in their community for a small annual fee, to make their by-laws, board meetings, and minutes available to the public. Dunn has also pressed charges against the Ottawa Children's Aid Society and its Executive Director for failing to furnish a list of their members as required by law when properly requested, and he has also engaged in related public awareness campaigns.

On Thursday, June 25, 2009, Dunn filed another request with the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa in accordance with section 307 of Ontario's Corporations Act seeking a list of the addresses of the Society's regular membership so that he can write letters to them in an attempt to convince them to requisition (ask) the Board of Directors to call a members meeting so that they can vote upon an amendment to the Society's By-Laws which pertain to memberships within the Society.

The Society, and the Executive Director, Barbara MacKinnon, has until the 6th of July 2009 to furnish or produce the list of their regular members as required by law or they will have committed an offence punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.

Dunn anticipates that the Society is again going to choose to commit the Offence of refusing to furnish the list of their members since the Executive Director stated to him in person while signing for the request, that he is already aware of the Society's position on this.

CAS Executive Disapproves of Advocacy
Dunn says that the Society's Executive Director, Barbara MacKinnon asked him if there are "any other issues" he could advocate for leading Dunn to believe she attempted to indicate to him that she does not support members of the community advocating for improvements in transparency and accountability of Children's Aid Societies.

Private Member's Motion 41

41. Ms. Horwath - That, in the opinion of this House, the Government of Ontario should instruct all Children's Aid Societies to publish information electronically on their websites, where available, and in print format, readily accessible in the lobby area of each CAS office, which informs the public of their ability to attend and make presentations at the regularly scheduled Board of Director's meetings, the schedule and Minutes of those meetings, and further, in the same manner as mentioned above, to inform the public of the fact that CAS memberships are available to people who reside in, or who conduct business within the jurisdiction of each CAS, to provide details on how to apply for membership, and to provide access to the Society's By-Laws in the same manner.

CAS Responds to Request

Thursday July 02, 2009

The Ottawa CAS has already retained the external legal services of Robert C. Morrow of Burke-Robertson Barristers & Solicitors for what appears to be the purpose of having him assist them to commit the Offence of failing to furnish a list of their members in violation of section 45 (8).

The request for a list of the Society's members was submitted on June 25, 2009. The law requires the Society to furnish a list of their members as required within 10 days. If they do not do so, they have committed an Offence.

As of 9:00am Monday July 06, 2009, the Society will have failed to furnish a list of their members as required, which is an Offence.

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