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How to Lobby for Families
March 17, 2008 permalink
John Dunn has some suggestions on bringing about reform through the legislature.
Well folks, it is that time again. Monday, the Legislative Assembly is back in business.
The MPP's are now heading back to public work on the legislative assembly.
Knowing that, I wanted to post this first bit of advice to everyone on how to use the Legislative Assembly this year for your advocacy purposes.
According to the Ontario Legislative Assembly's website, the Standing Committee on Social Policy has the following mandate:
The Standing Committee on Social Policy is empowered to study and report on all matters relating to the mandate, management, organization or operation of the ministries and offices which are assigned to it as well as the agencies reporting to such ministries and offices.
The Ministries and Offices assigned to the Committee are:
Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Ministry of Community and Social Services,Ministry of Education and others...
The studies are conducted according to either Standing Order 109 or 124 as shown below.
Standing Order 109: Under Standing Order 109, the policy field committees may conduct relatively unlimited studies. The only restriction is that the study must relate to a ministry assigned to that committee. The subject-matter and duration of the study are left to the committee to decide. This Standing Order is usually used when the committee agrees on what it wishes to study.
Standing Order 124: Once in each Session, each member (including the Chair), of the Standing Committee on General Government, the Standing Committee on Justice Policy and the Standing Committee on Social Policy is entitled to propose a matter to be considered by their particular committee. The matter must relate to the mandate, management, organization or operation of the ministries and offices and agencies assigned to the committee which report to such ministries and offices. The proposal of a member under this Standing Order must be adopted by at least two-thirds of the members of the committee, excluding the Chair. The committee may present a substantive report to the House and may adopt the text of a draft bill on the subject matter. At least one Sessional day, or 3 hours, of debate, will be allowed on the bill in the House at a time decided upon by the House Leaders of the recognized Parties.
Katch KochTel. 416-325-3526
The Committee can be found at link.
Well, now that we are aware of the fact that there is a committee at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which focuses on the mandate, management, organization or operation of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and of the Children's Aid Societies which report to the Ministry, we can start to advocate for changes through that committee.
To make sense of all that stuff above, here is an example.
If we all felt that there should be a change or an amendment to the Child and Family Services Act so that the Act could control how Societies deal with Society memberships instead of leaving it up to the Societies' individual by-laws, we could all start writing letters to the committee in the hope of getting the interest of at least one member of that committee to take on the matter as an important enough issue to take on or study and report to the Legislature either as a report or as a possible Bill (proposed change to the Act)
If anything, this method is one more means of attempting to advocate for positive changes to child welfare that we have not yet tried.
If you do write to anyone at the committee, be sure to remind them of their duty under the mandate of the committee.
I hope this is of some help to folks out there.
John Dunn The Foster Care Council of Canada
Source: email from John Dunn