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Community Participation Denied

January 24, 2007 permalink

The press release below by John Dunn lays out his continuing frustration in getting membership in his local children's aid society. He is not the only person to be denied in this way. Ontario's children's aid societies now apparently have a policy of denying memberships through long-term foot-dragging. Mr Dunn has been advised to seek legal counsel in pursuit of his membership.

As originally conceived, children's aid societies were grassroots organizations controlled by the communities they served. The new policy prevents community participation in children's aid governance through membership. Imagine what federal or provincial elections would be like if you had to win a lawsuit to vote.



For Immediate Release: January 24, 2007

By: John Dunn
(613) 228-2178

For over one year, former foster child, and child welfare reform advocate John Dunn -- known on the internet as AfterFostercare -- has had his request for a membership with the Ottawa Children's Aid Society (Society) rejected with what in his opinion is an invalid explanation.

The President of the Society's Board of Directors, Brian McKee, signed a letter to Dunn stating that "The Board recognizes that you have acted in a manner that is inconsistent with, and contrary to, the interests of the Children's Aid Society" and that in the Board's opinion, Dunn does "not have a genuine interest in the objectives of the Society.

On several occasions, Dunn requested an opportunity to meet with the Board to learn what it was he had done and how he could improve his chances of getting accepted into the membership of the Society in the future but was instructed by Pierre Viger, Director of Professional Services at the Society to talk to Ottawa Lawyer, Robert C. Morrow, of Burke-Robertson Barristers & Solicitors, LL.P. of Ottawa.

Dunn met with Mr. Morrow and learned that the Society is not prepared to discuss the matter any further and was advised to seek legal counsel.

Dunn's next move is to request a list of the membership in order that he may communicate with the members of the Society on matters related to the corporation. (CAS)

Dunn says "few people in Ontario are aware of their right under the Corporations Act to communicate with members of the various Children's Aid Societies regarding the election of Board members and any other matters as long as they are connected with the Society".

A Children's Aid Society in Ontario is under the authority of the Corporations Act, which is why Dunn is in the process of filing a request for a list of members of the Society and their mailing addresses so he can communicate with them for purposes connected with the Society.

Any person, member of a corporation or not, has the right to obtain a list of the members of a CAS and their mailing addresses as long as they comply with the simple requirements listed in subsections 307(1) and (2) of the Corporations Act which ensure that you pay a 'reasonable fee' upon filing with the Society a sworn affidavit as laid out in subsection (2) of the Act. (your City Councillor can swear an affidavit)

If a Society does not comply with a properly executed request for a list of the members of the Society, subsection 307(5) of the Act makes it an offence punishable by $1,000.00 fine to which any person can "swear an information" in front of a Justice of the Peace charging the Society with an offence under section 307(5) of the Corporations Act which clearly states that;

"Every corporation or transfer agent that fails to furnish a list in accordance with subsection (1) when so required is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000, and every director or officer of such corporation or transfer agent who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in such offence is also guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a like fine."

This means that the "Society" AND the individual directors or officers or transfer agents will also be convicted of an offence if found guilty.

If one is so inclined, upon having their properly executed request for a list of the members of a Society under subsection 307(1) of the Corporations Act refused, they could initiate a civil suit using two previous precedent cases namely:

  1. Lawrence v. Toronto Humane Society, 2006 CanLII 20224 (ON C.A.), Docket No: C43983 and;
  2. Rodgers v. Calvert, 2004 CanLII 22082 (ON S.C.) Docket: 03-BN-6556

to assist their legal counsel in taking on the matter.

Dunn will be filing his official 307(1) request with the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa in the near future and will, upon request, keep you updated as to it's progress and if it will have to proceed to the Provincial Offences Court.

Dunn is available for interviews at the number provided above:

(Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER C.38)


(1) Any person, upon payment of a reasonable charge therefor and upon filing with the corporation or its agent the affidavit referred to in subsection (2), may require a corporation, other than a private company, or its transfer agent to furnish within ten days from the filing of such affidavit a list setting out the names alphabetically arranged of all persons who are shareholders or members of the corporation, the number of shares owned by each such person and the address of each such person as shown on the books of the corporation made up to a date not more than ten days prior to the date of filing the affidavit.


(2) The affidavit referred to in subsection (1) shall be made by the applicant and shall be in the following form in English or French:

Form of Affidavit

Province of Ontario
In the matter of
County of
(Insert name of corporation)

I, ......................... of the .................. of ..................... in the .................................. of ....................................... make oath and say (or affirm):

(Where the applicant is a corporation, indicate office and authority of deponent.)

  1. I hereby apply for a list of the shareholders (or members) of the above-named corporation.
  2. I require the list of shareholders (or members) only for purposes connected with the above-named corporation.
  3. The list of shareholders (or members) and the information contained therein will be used only for purposes connected with the above-named corporation.

Sworn, etc.

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Source: email from John Dunn