Monday, December 07, 2009

Ministry of Attorney General Protecting Children from Hasty Agreement between Police and Children's Aid Societies

In the Hansard (record of oral proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario) today, Sylvia Jones, the Ontario PC Party "child welfare critic" notifies the public of the fact that the Ministry of the Attorney General is not signing the agreement or "Protocol" between the OACAS and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police on how to turn over police records to CAS's. This is more than likely an issue for the Privacy Commissioner to look at. Please contact the Privacy Commissioner's Office at the coordinates below to express your concerns about this possible violation of privacy. I have contacted her office as well, however the more people that call the better.

Telephone: Toronto Area (416/local 905): 416-326-3333
Long Distance: 1-800-387-0073 (within Ontario)
TDD/TTY: 416-325-7539


Also call Min. Attorney General Chris Bentley, to say thank-you for reviewing the protocol and not just signing it blindly. Read his statements below to see how he is checking the protocol carefully before just rubber stamping it.

You can contact him at

Bentley, Hon. Christopher
Phone: 416-326-4000
Address:
Hon. Christopher Bentley
Attorney General - THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF ONTARIO
McMurtry-Scott Bldg
11th Flr
720 Bay St


Text from Ontario Legislative Assembly Hansard

Ms. Sylvia Jones: (Ontario PC Party Child Welfare Critic) My question is for the Attorney General. Your ministry, along with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, negotiated a protocol to streamline the screening of police and crown records needed for child protection services. This new protocol would mean cost and time savings for children's aid societies, crown attorneys and police services across Ontario. Why has this proposal been sitting on your desk for three months waiting for sign-off?

Hon. Christopher Bentley: In fact, it hasn't been. The parties are always looking for more effective ways to deal with these cases. As you can appreciate, there are many, many issues that arise with respect to the protection of children. The number one issue is, we must make sure the children are being completely and utterly, at all times, properly protected and properly represented. We want to make sure that any protocol that has been arrived at, or any more effective way of dealing with cases that has been arrived at, will not have unintended consequences when they're applied to the cases, which are not cookie cutter, which are not all the same. It's important that every one of those issues be fully considered and outlined as we bring in more effective ways of dealing with these very sensitive and very important-

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Ms. Sylvia Jones: The Attorney General knows full well that the MCYS minister and the Solicitor General have already signed off on this new protocol. Clearly, they are not worried about the minuscule details that you are concerned about.

You must know that the children's aid societies across Ontario have been forced to cut their budgets by $67 million. CASs are trying to find savings and efficiencies, and you, Minister, are blocking them.

This new protocol is sitting on your desk waiting for sign-off, but your lack of action tells me that you are not worried about vulnerable children in Ontario. When will you finally sign off on this new screening for child protection services and protect Ontario's most vulnerable children?

1100

Hon. Christopher Bentley: With respect, the protection of the most vulnerable children is not a minuscule detail-never has been, never will be. And you're right: The lawyers will take all the time they need to take to make sure that children are appropriately protected. We will not speed things through-

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Member from Hamilton East.

Minister?

Hon. Christopher Bentley: We want to make sure because we know that if any new procedure or policy has unintended consequences, my friend opposite will be the first one to jump up and say, "Why weren't you protecting the children?"

They're actively considering and reviewing this, making sure that it can be implemented, making sure the most vulnerable are protected, which is one of the reasons, of course, that we were able to announce the largest funding increase in legal aid history, which supports the lawyers who do this type of work that protects vulnerable children.

3 comments:

  1. Like Hon. Mr Bently, I too take the time time to review documents carefully. I am wondering if she seriously expects him to respond to her via evil mail at WINNINGKIDS.ca cause thats what she is all about. No sence in masking it eh?

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  2. I remember thinking we were going to have a good PC Child Welfare critic but am slowly learning that she is unfortunately indoctrinated by them already.

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  3. Don't let the CAS and MCYS hide behind the words "In the best Interest of the Child"

    This scheme is in the best interest of protecting themselves..not a child.

    Read between the lines on this.. CAS already believe they are above the law and become judge, jury and prosecutor. We all know that with them you are guilty until proven innocent. What next ? A license to carry guns and tazers?

    Perhaps these other ministries would serve children better by supporting Bill 93 a bill that would completley protect children and insure thier rights are not violated by cover ups. The PC Child Welfare Critic needs to listen to the public our concerns with this system are valid. Rather than supporting the MCYS and CAS and giving them even more power to destroy children's lives and traumatized them.

    I think it is time we approached the government in the same manner as those affected by residential schools. Same situation and in the future these children will need to be compensated as well.

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