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Adoption records in Ontario are sealed - again!
Article Updated 19 November, 2007
By J. Brian Gilchrist email@example.com
We learned recently from CTV National News, and have confirmed from other sources, that the recent legislation in Ontario which allowed disclosure of information to both birth parents and birth children (which only came into effect this past September 17th) was on Wednesday September 19, 2007 - been struck down by an Ontario Superior Court Judge down as being in violation of privacy legislation under The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Ontario government has decided not to appeal judicial ruling
Prominent Canadian Civil Rights Lawyer Clayton Ruby argued that privacy is an individual right and no government can decide what information can be released.
While this is disappointing at first read, we should be aware and take heart that the way the decision is written could be a god-send to us all in the long run - for if the government is no longer able to "decide what can be released" one can also infer that the entire file must be made available. However, this is speculation on my part and may require new Regulations or even new Legislation to be passed.
As this is Ontario legislation and the decision was from an Ontario Superior Court Judge, I am not sure if "Leave to Appeal" can be made to the Ontario Supreme Court, The Federal Court of Appeal or even The Supreme Court.
Can any Ontario lawyers who read this and have an interest in the topic shed any light onto the next possible steps for gaining access to these vitally important records for so many people?
It must be remembered that Canadian Privacy Laws are (in theory) counter-balanced by the Access to Information laws.
As Society moves towards the use of DNA as "proof of being" for so many things, think of all the adopted citizens of this country who should also have a the same "rights" as those not involved in adoption - that being the "right to know".
Update: The Ontario government has decided not to appeal a judicial ruling that struck down a new law that would have retroactively opened confidential adoption records. Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur said on 13 November 2007, that the government would introduce a new bill next month that would let parents and children involved in past adoptions veto disclosure of information.
Respectfully submitted for your information.
J. Brian Gilchrist,
Box 74503, 270 The Kingsway
ETOBICOKE, ON M9A 5E2
1966 - 2007: 41 years of research and educating genealogists.
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