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More on Adoption Disclosure
September 30, 2007 permalink
COAR continues in its efforts to save adoption disclosure. Since the quashing of the law coincides with an Ontario election, the coalition has posted the candidates' positions on a website. During the enactment of the bill support came from the NDP and Liberals, and strong opposition came from the Progressive Conservatives. Election of John Tory as premier will be doomsday for the law.
A Bulletin from the Coalition for Open Adoption Records
September 30, 2007
We are writing to ask for your advice on how to continue supporting our community. Although the issue is complex, we ask you to wade through the information below and provide us with your thoughts in the matter of how we should proceed. If people ask questions we will try to respond in another bulletin. We regret that we will not be able to answer the many questions and letters individually.
We also want to encourage you to support the candidate in your riding who, after the election on October 10th, will promise to support an appeal of Judge Belobaba’s decision that struck down The Adoption Information Disclosure Act (AIDA). COAR has initiated a survey of candidates in the election. Please click on this link to find out the responses of candidates in your riding: 2007ontarioadoptionrecordspoll.blogspot.com. Check back frequently as the responses come rolling in! To find out your candidates and where you vote, the Elections Ontario website has the answers: http://www.elections.on.ca/en-ca. We are quite certain that a Conservative government will not appeal.
At present, we don’t know for sure if a new Liberal government will appeal the decision, although it looks likely that the Liberals want to. After the Ontario election, we expect to find out.
Appeal – Option 1
If the government does appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal, COAR would like to, again, ask the court to accept us as an intervener in supporting the government so that we can advocate in the best interests of the adoption community. We believe that we have a better chance of winning in this higher court. We will require financial donations from the community to support this appeal.
Appeal – Option 2
If the new government does not appeal, we have another option of asking the court if we, COAR, can appeal on our own. The court may or may not accept our application. If the community wants COAR to attempt an appeal on our own, and will support the effort with further funding, we will do it. If not, we won’t.
Keep in mind that the deadline for filing an appeal is October 18th. That is why we are asking you now.
If the government does not appeal, a new Liberal government may create a new law with a disclosure veto. This means that 2-5% of applicants will not get their information for many years until we can lobby successfully to eliminate the disclosure veto. In the mean time 95% of applicants will get their information. If COAR can successfully appeal on its own, significantly increased rights to our information will be established. But, this may take up to three years IF the case goes to yet another higher court, the Supreme Court of Canada. Whether we win or lose in the Supreme Court, all adoption disclosure laws in all of Canada will be impacted.
Amendment – Option 3
Presently, there is no adoption disclosure legislation in Ontario. No one can apply for his or her information and this has to change as soon as possible. Whether or not there is an appeal, COAR will advocate strongly for the government to immediately reinstate the previous “passive” registry in which a person applies for information and then waits until someone who matches also registers.
We could choose not to intervene or appeal and simply lobby the government for a new law that would have to include a disclosure veto.
In sum, if the government appeals, or if COAR appeals on its own, in both cases, any new adoption legislation in Ontario (apart from the passive registry) will likely be on hold for a long time until the “final” decision is made.
We expect that both types of appeal will cost at least $10 000. Our expenses in the last case were over $7000. (We need to remember that had our lawyers not offered their services pro bono that our current expenses would run over $200 000.) Depending on your responses to this consultation, we will be asking for pledges in another COAR Bulletin.
Please consider the following options and offer us your thoughts:
- If the government appeals, will you support COAR as interveners for the adoption community?
- If the government doesn’t appeal, will you support COAR in a separate appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal?
- If the government does not appeal, should we also not appeal and put all of our efforts into a new piece of legislation with a disclosure veto (no government at the moment would consider legislation today without it), a contact preference, wider searching power for the ADR and mandatory health information?
Please write to one of us, soon, and we will assemble the responses and report your consensus in a subsequent bulletin. We need to hear from you.
Michael Grand firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Lynn email@example.com
Wendy Rowney firstname.lastname@example.org
COAR Coordinating Committee
Source: email from COAR