Monday, April 25, 2011

Ontario's Accountable Child Welfare Election in October

A good title for October's Provincial Election on protest or awareness signs and for use in media releases etc. is to start calling it the


Many people are not familiar with the separation of issues that the various levels of government can deal with. Specifically, the Federal Government (this May Election) is a Federal Government election. Basically, Federal Government does not deal with CAS / Child Welfare issues.

They can tell you there are many problems with CAS and get you to vote for them, but they can't do much about it. It's just not in their jurisdiction to do much.

So, Federal Election for most child welfare issues.. redundant. Unless you want to ask them to provide less money to provinces under the Social Transfer Payments, but that is just too complicated because the Social Transfer Payments go to a whole bunch of social issues, (welfare, ODSP, child care, and soooo much more).

Also, something the Federal MPs might be able to deal with at the Federal level as brought up to me by (awaiting permission of person to post name for fear of any form of systemic retaliation which we have witnessed in the past) was the issue of the Child Tax Benefit going toward the CAS during Temporary Custody Orders etc. before the child protection matter has even been brought to trial for determination by a judge. This is very important because if a parent (single mother or father) has their child taken on a false allegation for example, or mistaken information, and the Child Tax Benefits are taken from the Family, this affects the parents ability to support the child financially or even afford the apartment they had with their child at home, because the parent, in the mean time, between the time the child is apprended and when the actual trial takes place (which can be up to a year in many to most cases) the parent could lose their apartment and have to move to a smaller unit.

The CAS response at that time when trial comes to the judge is often that the parent is now "under housed" to care for the children and that then becomes the child protection issue as opposed to, or in addition to the original concerns which may have been addressed and alleviated by trial date.

However, all is not lost. This year, we are lucky to have a much more involved citizenry. However, we need to ensure that our energies are being focused in the right place. Where it counts. That is the Ontario Election in October of 2011.

Ok folks, here we are.

The provincial election will gear up soon, and after this Federal Election hype is gone, we can start bringing attention to the needed issues in child welfare. We need a unified plan. All of us need to get out there and either register as candidates, independent or otherwise, and start bringing up child welfare as an election issue. We need to get it on the lips of the existing MPP's and candidates.

For those who can not run for candidacy for any reason, we need to attend as many all candidates meetings in our area as possible to ask such questions. How do we do that? How do we ensure our questions get asked at such events.

Many of us may have our own "agenda" or issue about CAS we want addressed. But we need to have a constant message to all candidates across the province.. we need them to say "the citizens are asking the same thing everywhere we go"...
so... what is the most important issue for this election that we can all raise that will at least address in some way all of our separate but related issues. One that will be most effective?

Personally I say Ombudsman Oversight is a SHORT TERM solution that we can work on to at least get some official publicly accepted and responsive reporting by the Ombudsman's office to start quickly changing how CAS's conduct themselves.

We know already he is trying his best. (Andre Marin) I know as well that the Ministry is the real problem. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is NOT overseeing the CAS's right now as they are obligated to do under the Act But that gets more complicated to try and explain in a short amount of time.

I think we could combine the two concerns into one question ... ie:

Question to MPP Candidate:

The Ombudsman has repeatedly stated that the Child and Family Services Review Board is limited in WHAT issues they can deal with regarding the conduct of Children's Aid Societies.

The Board itself has also stated that they do not have any actual enforcement powers to ensure CAS's comply with their orders because the Ministry of Children and Youth Services made the tribunal exempt from the Statutory Powers and Procedures Act.

And finally, the Ombudsman can only ensure that the Board does what it is severely limited to do as previously stated.

Therefore, keeping just these important points in mind, will you support Ombudsman oversight of Children's Aid Societies as a method of ensuring the Children's Aid Societies conduct themselves legally and properly in their dealings with Ontario's children, youth, and their families while they are in the process of trying to increase the numbers of adoptions which take place in Ontario with their new changes to the legislation introduced through Bill 179.


You only have one small and quick chance to ask a question and not engage in a back and forth discussion so make it count! It must be powerful and must capture most issues in one question.


THIS QUESTION format ABOVE pre-kills their typical response to ombudsman oversight which is "well, the CFSRB already provides Ontario families with an independent review body to ensure complaints about CASs are dealt with appropriately and the board also already has Ombudsman Oversight of the board.

You can start by joining the discussion group at

To ensure you read the latest version of this post, please visit as this post may have been modified since being sent out.

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