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Bill 103

December 5, 2008 permalink

The Ontario Legislature held hearings on Bill 103 amending the Child and Family Services Act. Here are links to the text of Bill 103 and the testimony before the Standing Committee on Social Policy. The witnesses were Deb Matthews, Irwin Elman, David Witzel, Les Horne, Matthew Geigen-Miller, Alex Munter, Lee Ann Chapman, Chris McCallum, Chris Carter, and John Dunn.

The bill allows foster parents to open, and confiscate, the mail of their wards. It makes an exception for letters from lawyers, but then a sub-exception allows seizure of lawyer letters as long there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that it contains material that is not privileged as a solicitor-client communication. Hostile foster parents will find something satisfying this clause in every letter.

Provincial child advocate Irwin Elman noted that, while the bill affects the operation of his office, he was not consulted before the bill was submitted. John Dunn reported on his efforts to hold children's societies to account by conducting a membership drive, and the obstacles placed in his way. He also commented on the provisions for intercepting communications between foster children and their lawyers.