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CAS Not on NDP Radar

May 20, 2014 permalink

In the last Ontario legislature the NDP led the effort to get ombudsman oversight of children's aid societies. Will the election of an NDP government next month result in action? Maybe not. Divorced mother Rhonda Nordlander asked Dufferin-Caledon NDP candidate Rehya Rebecca Yazbek for her policy on CAS. Her answer: "It’s not on our radar right now and the concern right now is their funding cuts."



Rhonda Nordlander

Press Release
May 20, 2014


On a Saturday May 17th outside a Zehrs Supermarket in Orangeville, Ontario NDP candidate Ms. Rehya Yazbek (Dufferin-Caledon) responded to a question posed by a single mother. Rhonda Nordlander asked the question, “What does the NDP plan to do about the issues with the Children‘s Aid Societies?” Ms. Yazbeck responded “It’s not on our radar right now and the concern right now is their funding cuts.”

Ms. Nordlander, like many other parents are of the impression that the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) issues were on the NDP’s radar when MPP Monique Taylor NDP (Hamilton Mountain) tabled Bill 42 in the Legislature in 2013. This is now a very big concern as many parents have been mislead to believe that the NDP would bring Ombudsman oversight to the Ontario Children’s Aid Societies.

Are the NDP now backing away from their promises and have they flipped on their position because of campaign funding and pressure from the Ontario Public Service Employee’s Union? Dufferin Child and Family Services employee's are unionized as are other branches of the Society in Ontario and now it looks as if the NDP is backing up those Unions instead of the parents who have been calling for CAS oversight by the Ombudsman.

In May 2013 Bill 42 passed second reading but remained at the standing committee level for debate when the election was called. It’s been put on the Liberal’s back burner. Premier Kathleen Wynne’s proposal of Bill 179 doesn’t go far enough and only gives the Provincial Advocate Irwin Elman oversight to act on complaints brought to him by children and youth (not parents). This leaves parents powerless once again with their CAS cases held up for years in secret courts.

Nordlander says the secrecy that goes on in child protection cases hides the real issues from the public and politicians. Over the past 2 years her complaints have fallen upon deaf ears in the government and in the Ontario Family Courts. Ms. Nordlander’s story was published in the local newspaper but recently was taken down along with another story about her efforts to access justice as a Self Represented Litigant (SRL). She feels as though she is being silenced in order to keep the serious issues at Dufferin Child and Family Services a secret.

A concern of Ms. Nordlander’s is the waste of public funding that has gone on in her CAS case where by the time her case reaches the status review hearing in August she will have been before the courts and Child and Family Services review board over 20 times and DCAFS has been having their lawyers try and silence her complaints.

The article published in the May 8, 2014 edition by Tabitha Wells Reporter for the Orangeville Citizen exposed the injustices, loop holes and unconstitutional disposition of Nordlander’s CAS case. It also exposed that DCAFS refused her children services for 2 years and that many of the child protection workers, managers and the Executive Director at DCAFS have their social work memberships suspended, cancelled or are not registered members of the Ontario College of Social Work and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) because membership is voluntary.

Ms. Nordlander wants to make the public aware of the NDP’s flipped position so that the public is not mislead on June 12th when they cast their ballots and she wants to see her articles back on the net to raise awareness to the secrecy, injustices and misappropriation of funding that goes on in these cases.

For more information and an interview please contact: Rhonda Nordlander at 519-278-4060 or

Related articles:

Orangeville Citizen February 21, 2013 and May 8, 2014 available upon request.

Source: Facebook, Rhonda Nordlander

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas jumped into the controversy with assurances that an NDP government will provide for ombudsman oversight of municipalities and other public sectors. Our copy of Andrea Horwath’s Plan that Makes Sense (pdf) does not contain the word ombudsman and does not otherwise discuss children's aid. The plan does include several provisions to increase provincial spending on programs for children.



Gélinas: NDP platform would expand ombudsman oversight

Office would gain expanded power over public sector

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin would get oversight of municipalities and other public sectors under the platform released by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Thursday.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas said the ombudsman’s office would also play the role of the patient ombudsman, something she has been on the Liberals to do for years.

“Not every single word makes it into a platform,” Gélinas said, when asked why those measures weren’t spelled out in the party’s election platform. “It is implicitly included when Andrea talks about transparency and accountability.

“We did not describe in detail what transparency and accountability mean. In health care, and in children's services, it would mean the ombudsman. In other parts of the government, it would be open to the Freedom of Information Act, or capturing more people on the Sunshine List.”

In the weeks before the election was called, Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that the ombudsman would gain increased oversight powers, including over municipalities. The office previously was an option as closed door meetings investigator for municipalities.

Sudbury city council fired Marin in 2013 after a serious of public clashes. At the time, Marin said it made little sense to give cities the power pick and choose who investigated them. Wynn’s proposed legislation would have taken away that power, as well as expand the scope of his authority.

Gélinas said her party decided to go with Marin rather than create new position.

“We prefer to give the existing (ombudsman's office) more power, rather than bring in new ways to do transparency and accountability,” she said.

“Whether we're talking for municipalities, for children's services, for the health care sector, whether we're talking long-term care or hospital care, we're talking the ombudsman.”

She stressed it’s the office that would receive the authority, whomever holds the title of ombudsman,

“(Marin) is in the office now. We have no intention of getting rid of him, but I think they have five-year terms or something like that,” she said.

“So it's the office – whether he's there or not, the powers would continue.”

Gélinas also said spending plans announced Thursday would have the four-laning of Highway 69 completed by 2016. The work will be paid for partially by money committed by the Liberals, as well as new funds.

The project has been delayed while environmental assessments were completed for the entire project.

“So the whole thing got put on hold,” Gélinas said.

“Now that the environmental assessment has been (almost) completed, that money is still there.

“And moving forward, we are committing to four-laning 30 kilometres of highway every year in the North.”

A fund was also announced that cities could use to fund projects like the Maley Drive extension, she said.

The NDP platform unveiled Thursday includes a host of new spending plans, which would be funded through a mix of tax increases and strategies to find savings in existing government programs. Like the Liberals, the NDP vows to balance the books by 2017-2018.

For Northern Ontario, the party commits to spending money right away on developing infrastructure for the Ring of Fire, although costs associated with those investments aren't detailed in the plan. Total new spending estimates are $1.8 billion in 2014-2015, rising to $2.86 billion in 2017-2018.

The party also plans to restore passenger service on Ontario Northland at a cost of $20 million a year, and $40 million would be spent in 2014-2015 to buy 200 more snowplows and sand trucks.

Other highlights for the North include a plan to open 50 family health clinics at a cost of $75 million a year, $70 million to eliminate the waiting list for acute care beds, $30 million to hire more nurse practitioners to work in hospital emergency departments. A tax credit for caregivers would cost $250 million by 2017.

A $29-billion fund would be used over 10 years for transit and transportation projects across the province. The full platform can be found at Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne is expected to unveil her party's platform Sunday in Thunder Bay.

Source: Northern Life

Addendum: Rhonda followed up at a meeting of candidates. She held up a sign:

DCAFS CAS misspending, unregistered social workers and cyw's wrecking families, Stop secret courts, CAS taking away children with improper investigations, denying grandparents rights to see children, limited 1.5 hours per week access.

The result:



Rhonda Nordlander

NPD Reyha Yazbeck rolled her eye's when I held up a sign in silent protest at the debate tonight. She has no understanding of the CAS issues

Nikki Priaulx I did watch her roll her eyes when you held up the sign. I have to say I felt discriminated with her constant "middle class" toss out. I am a poor single mother with a child who has ASD and is having issues with CAS! She came across as my vote or voice doesn't have any value to her. Well my voice has value and its also used to advocate for my son! And my voice also backs the Ombudsmen 100% in CAS oversight! As well as the fact Dufferin county has very little programs for children with disabilities. SHAME ON REYHA YAZBECK for behaving like a snotty, too good for anyone, narrow minded NDP!

I watched Syliva Jones turn her face away too! My heart strings won't be tugged on that easily by your fake promises of helping people with disabilities be more accepted and recognised in the community! I guess the jobs she refers to helping them get is serving her pancakes and strawberries! After all there are extremely limited programs for them and the sunshine list of DCFS workers grows! PUT THE MONEY WHERE IT BELONGS SYLVIA WITH THOSE KIDS FUTURES!!!

Source: Facebook, Rhonda Nordlander