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Ottawa CAS Back to Court

November 23, 2007 permalink

John Dunn and the Ottawa CAS will be back to court on January 24 in his effort to get the CAS criminally charged for failure to supply a membership list. The press release follows. In an earlier posting we incorrectly said that the case was over, based on the letter from John Dunn to crown prosecutor Yvonne Goebel.



John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada
12-1160 Meadowlands Drive East
Ottawa, ON K2E 6J2


Former foster child and child welfare reform advocate John Dunn has laid charges against the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa. Dunn, in his efforts advocate for children and youth in foster care to become voting members of the Society in accordance with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has had his efforts blocked by the Society who is now in court over the matter.

According to Dunn, the Society is required by section 307 (1) of the Corporations Act, to furnish a list of the members of the Society to any person who requests it in accordance with the legislation so that they can advocate for changes related to the Society through the members. If the Society refuses to furnish the list of its members when required to do so, Dunn says that section 307 (5) of the Act makes it a Offence and that this is where the charge originated.

On the heels of the Ontario Auditor General's Report which focused on inappropriate spending of Tax Payers money within Children's Aid Societies, the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, within a week of receiving the request for a list of their members retained the services of an outside lawyer, Robert C. Morrow of Burke-Robertson, to assist them in refusing the furnish the list as required by law.

Dunn and the Society will appear again in court to set a trial date on January 24, 2008.


Source: email from John Dunn

November 22, 2007

Today I went into court expecting to hear a plead from the Society. However, in the back of my mind, I knew something was probably going to surface. What did happen however surprised me. An expectation I had several months ago began to transpire.

I arrived at the court and was contacted by the Provincial Prosecutor at the Court house who informed me that Counsel for the defendants (their Exec. Dir) was concerned that I had not filed the information (the charge) within the legal six months from the time the Offence was committed.

I was, at first taken-aback but soon realized that I had already covered this issue from the beginning by ensuring that the charge was laid within legal limit of six months from the date the actual Offence was committed.

The request was filed with the Society on February 05, 2007. They had ten days to comply with the request before they would be in a position of having committed the Offence of contravening section 307 (5) of the Corporations Act. (Failing to provide the list of members of the Society as required by section 307 (1))

This means that they had to provide the list any time up to and including Thursday, February 15th, 2007 or, in other words prior to Friday, February 16th, 2007 in order to prevent themselves from committing the Offence.

Instead they intentionally retained a lawyer in order to assist them in committing the Offence by having Counsel write a letter to me dated February 14th, 2007 stating that they will not provide the list to me. (therefore demonstrating that they were going to commit the Offence). This letter was written just two days short of the date the Offence would officially have been deemed to have been committed. (Feb. 16th, 2007)

In this letter, three assumptions were made as "reasons" for not furnishing the list to me stating that I was not going to use the list for legal purposes and that they could not provide the list to me due to provisions of the Federal Privacy legislation (PIPEDA) which actually does only applies to commercial businesses or undertakings not exclusively legislated, non-profit organizations -- which is what the Society is.

I have since obtained a letter from the Federal Privacy Commission stating that the Act does not apply to the Society.

So anyhow, this is a strict liability Offence which only affords them the defences of Due Diligence and Mistake of Fact. Neither of which apply in this case. Therefore there is a reasonable prospect of conviction and a public interest in this prosecution since the lives of children in foster care in Ontario are affected by decisions made by the Society and they are blocking the membership from being informed of important issues of interest to the members which will only be brought to their attention via concerned members of the community who have attempted to become a member but who have had their membership applications denied by the Board due to what can only be assumed to be political reasons.

Source: letter from John Dunn to crown prosecutor Yvonne Goebel