Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sudbury CAS Keeping Board Meetings Secret from Public

The Foster Care Council of Canada has received an e-mail message from a citizen of Sudbury who informed us of the fact that he has been asking for years when the Society's Board of Directors holds meetings that the public can attend and that the Society has refused to respond to him.

The Council has taken the initiative to contact the Sudbury Children's Aid Society to ask for information on the following;


a) the schedule for the monthly Board of Directors meetings
b) whether the public can attend
c) how the public can attend
d) if there are any limitations to members of the public attending Board meetings
e) a copy of the Society's By-Laws




Approximately three calls made which were not logged.

04. Friday, August 07, 2009, the Council call the Sudbury CAS to ask for a call back regarding this matter without a response. We then called at the following times as well with no returned calls

05. Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 12:59pm

06. Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at approx 1:20pm was told Collette Prevost would call

07. Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:04am - The Council has also contacted a Sudbury area Federal MP and Provincial MPP to ask if they would call to find out the schedule of Board meetings and the ability for the public to attend. They called and have not yet had a response either.

08. Tuesday, August 17, 2009 was told that the Executive Director is away for the rest of the week. The Council also contacted newspapers Sudbury Star and Northern Lights to ask them to get involved, and has learned that the federal MP's office made an inquiry into the matter but has not yet received a response.

09. Wed, August 26, 2009 at 10:10am (Louise Landry)

10. Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 12:43pm (Louise Landry)

11. Friday, August 28, 2009 at 1:25pm (Louise Landry - ) - The Council also contacted MPP Sylvia Jones the new PC Party Child Welfare Critic to ask if they could contact the Sudbury CAS office to find out the Schedule as well, who said they would get back to us on this matter.

12. Monday August 31, 2009 at 11:51 (Dianne Therrienne - Team Assistant and Louise Landry - Executive Assistant) - Also called to ask who deals with internal complaints, was told Dianne Therriene so left complaint with her asking for her to contact me to discuss how we can resolve this matter)

13. Tuesday September 01, 2009 9:22am (Dianne Therrienne - left voice message re: Follow up to complaint)

14 Tuesday September 01, 2009 9:28am (Dianne Therrienne - Left vioice message re: asking for schedule of Board meetings)

15. Wednesday September 02, 2009 06:58am (Dianne Therrienne - Left voice message re: asking for follow up to complaint and also for schedule of Board meetings)

16 Thursday September 03, 2009 8:39am (Dianne Therrienne - Left Voice Message re: asking for follow up to complaint and also for schedule of Board meetings)

17 Friday September 04, 2009 9:10am (Dianne Therrienne Left voice message)

18 Friday Setpember 04, 2009 9:12am (Louise Landry - Left voice message)

19 Tuesday September 08, 2009 11:00am (Louise Landry - Left voice message)

Also Rick Bartolucchi's Office confirmed they have talked to the CAS Executive Director, Collette Prevost and that she will submit the request for the schedule to the Board of Directors of the Society. I am following up with Bartolucchi's office to ensure follow up and some clarifications.

Today I also contacted the Society's legal Counsel, Dawn V. Dubois and left a message with her asking to call me back regarding a corporate matter.

Dawn Velda Dubois, Lawyer, Real Estate Insured, Practising Law - Employed, Children's Aid Society of The Dist Of Manitoulin & Sudbury, 3-319 Lasalle Blvd, Sudbury, Ontario, P3A 1W7, Phone: 705 566 3113 Ext. 2461, Fax: 705 521 7372,

Also talked to Federal MP Glenn Thibeault who said their office has not yet heard a response to their inquiry about board meetings since August 13, 2009

I also spoke with Lynn Tessier today, the Program Supervisor of the Sudbury Regional Office of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services at 705-564-8153 ext 341 to raise the fact that the Society has been refusing to return calls regarding their Board of Directors meetings, only to be told by her that the Society does not have open meetings to the public, and that she is quite familiar with the local Society's by-laws and that they do not allow the public to attend and monitor the public board meetings.

Lynn Tessier also instructed me to go to the various youth networks instead of trying to advocate for changes to CAS policies and practices via the appropriate corporate means and that Children's Aid Societies have "different" levels of accountability than profit corporations do.

When I asked what the Ministry's responsibility is with regard to "Monitoring" the Societies, Lynn Tessier informed me that they ensure the Societies comply with their annual service contracts with the Ministry, and that they comply with the Corporations Act, and their own By-laws. She also mentioned that I could submit to her information regarding our concerns and that she would see what they can do about it, however she did not mention that she would act on the issue of the CAS not holding publicly accessible board of directors meetings.

20 Wednesday September 09, 2009 03:19pm (Louise Landry - Left voice message)

I have learned from Federal MP's Theriault's Office in Sudbury that the Executive Director, Collette Prevost stated that the Society's Board of Directors meetings are not open to the public, and further to that, the Annual General Meetings are also not open to the public, but instead are only open to the existing members. This comes from the same Executive Director who stated that kids who were protesting the CAS's activities should do so in a gym. Presumably so the public can not hear their voices.

21 Thursday September 10, 2009 9:50am (Dianne Therrienne - Left voice message asking for schedule of Board meetings and to request a response about my complaint about the Society not responding as reception has indicated it is her duty to deal with internal complaints)

22 Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 11:20am Dianne Therrienne - Left voice message)


The informant's e-mail read as follows:
"For two years I have been asking Sudbury CAS when they hold their monthly meetings....still no relpy. I requested info under FIA, the Ministry's (Mary-Lou Daniels) wrote me and said "we just fund them""


The Council is also writing a letter to the Editor regarding this matter in the hope of bringing more public awareness to the issue. See the letter below.


Letter to Sudbury Star

From: johndunn@afterfostercare.ca
To: letters@thesudburystar.com
Subject: Local CAS Blurs Transparency
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2009 18:27:04 -0400

The Sudbury Children's Aid Society is a local, non-governmental, private corporation without share capital which has been delegated the duty to protect the Sudbury area children and youth from abuse and neglect. As such, the Society holds regular Board of Directors meetings and an Annual General Meeting which are, or should be open to the public to attend and make presentations to according to the Society's by-laws.

The Society also offers memberships to people in their area of coverage or jurisdiction as a means of ensuring their programs and services are in accordance with the needs of the community. Unfortunately, the Society does not in any way promote this important tool of transparency and accountability to members of it's community.

With the Ombudsman of Ontario, Andre Marin fighting to obtain oversight of Children's Aid Societies in Ontario against the wishes of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (Ontario Government), with the Societies renaming their job titles from "Social Workers" to "Child Protection Workers" in order to avoid oversight of them by the disciplinary body the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, with child welfare court proceedings being secret from public oversight, with the media's inability to identify sources who come to them with important stories pertaining to the conduct of some workers within the Society out of fear of retaliatory legal action from the Societies under section 45 (8) of the Child and Family Services Act, and with the lack of any real transparency and accountability in Children's Aid Societies in Ontario other than through memberships, it is vital that they make public the fact that they do hold monthly Board meetings and that the public can, or should attend them, that members of the public can apply to the Society for memberships as a means of holding the Society accountable for its conduct and spending of millions of dollars in tax-payers money each year, much the same way that shareholders hold their profit corporations accountable for their actions and inactions.

3 comments:

  1. I am really curious to see the follow up to this, and what takes place as a result of these inquiries... what would be most interesting is why it's taking so long to get a reply.

    Bossy Ducharme.
    September 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good question Bossy. The MP and MPP's have not been given responses, the local Sudbury Star has also received no response as of yet either and is looking into it. It appears as though they simply feel that they should not have to be held accountable by the public

    ReplyDelete
  3. Its been over a year now....whats happening with this? Any new info or progress?

    ReplyDelete