Bill 12                                                          2007

An Act to amend the Vital Statistics Act in relation to adoption information and to make consequential amendments to the Child and Family Services Act

Note: This Act amends or repeals more than one Act.  For the legislative history of these Acts, see the Table of Consolidated Public Statutes – Detailed Legislative History on www.e-Laws.gov.on.ca.

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Vital Statistics Act

   1.  Section 1 of the Vital Statistics Act is amended by adding the following definition:

“original registration” means an original registration made under this Act or a predecessor of this Act; (“enregistrement initial”)

   2.  Subsection 6.1 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “sections 48.1 to 48.10” at the end and substituting “sections 48.1 to 48.5”.

   3.  Sections 48.1 and 48.2 of the Act are repealed.

   4.  The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Disclosure to an adopted person

   48.1  (1)  An adopted person may apply to the Registrar General for an uncertified copy of the original registration, if any, of the adopted person’s birth and an uncertified copy of any registered adoption order respecting the adopted person. 

Age restriction

   (2)  The adopted person is not entitled to apply for the uncertified copies until he or she is at least 18 years old.

Disclosure

   (3)  Subject to subsections (5), (6), (7), (9), (10) and (11), the applicant may obtain the uncertified copies from the Registrar General upon payment of any required fee and upon production of any evidence of the applicant’s identity and age that may be required by the Registrar General. 

Effect of notice of preferred manner of contact

   (4)  If a notice submitted by a birth parent under subsection 48.3 (2) is in effect, the Registrar General shall give the applicant a copy of the notice when the Registrar General gives the applicant the uncertified copies. 

Effect of notice of wish not to be contacted

   (5)  If there is only one birth parent and a notice submitted by the birth parent under subsection 48.4 (3) is in effect, the Registrar General shall not give the uncertified copies to the applicant unless the applicant agrees in writing not to contact or attempt to contact the birth parent, either directly or indirectly.

Same

   (6)  If there are two birth parents and notices submitted by both birth parents under subsection 48.4 (3) are in effect, the Registrar General shall not give the uncertified copies to the applicant unless the applicant agrees in writing not to contact or attempt to contact the birth parents, either directly or indirectly.

Same

   (7)  If there are two birth parents and only one notice submitted by a birth parent under subsection 48.4 (3) is in effect, the Registrar General shall,

  (a)  give the applicant the uncertified copies if the applicant agrees in writing not to contact or attempt to contact that birth parent, either directly or indirectly; or

  (b)  if the applicant refuses to agree in writing not to contact or attempt to contact that birth parent, either directly or indirectly, delete any identifying information relating to that birth parent from the uncertified copies and give the applicant the redacted uncertified copies.

Copy of notice

   (8)  The Registrar General shall give the applicant a copy of a notice described in subsections (5), (6) and (7) when the Registrar General gives the applicant the uncertified copies. 

Effect of disclosure veto

   (9)  If there is only one birth parent and a disclosure veto submitted by the birth parent under subsection 48.5 (5) is in effect, the Registrar General shall not give the uncertified copies to the applicant.

Same

   (10)  If there are two birth parents and disclosure vetoes submitted by both birth parents under subsection 48.5 (5) are in effect, the Registrar General shall not give the uncertified copies to the applicant.

Same

   (11)  If there are two birth parents and only one disclosure veto submitted by a birth parent under subsection 48.5 (5) is in effect, the Registrar General shall delete any identifying information relating to that birth parent from the uncertified copies and give the applicant the redacted uncertified copies.

Copy of statement

   (12)  If a disclosure veto is in effect, the Registrar General shall advise the applicant that a disclosure veto is in effect and give the applicant a copy of any statement that may have been included in the disclosure veto under subsection 48.5 (7).

Same

   (13)  If, at the time of application, a disclosure veto has ceased to be in effect under subsection 48.5 (13), the Registrar General shall advise the applicant of this fact and give the applicant a copy of any statement that may have been included in the disclosure veto under subsection 48.5 (7).

Definition, identifying information

   (14)  In subsections (7) and (11),

“identifying information” means information whose disclosure, alone or in combination with other information, will in the circumstances reveal the identity of the person to whom it relates.

Disclosure to a birth parent

   48.2  (1)  A birth parent of an adopted person may apply to the Registrar General for all the information contained in the following documents, with the exception of information about persons other than the applicant and the adopted person:

    1.  The original registration, if any, of the adopted person’s birth.

    2.  Any birth registration respecting the adopted person that was substituted in accordance with subsection 28 (2).

    3.  Any registered adoption order respecting the adopted person. 

Age restriction

   (2)  The birth parent is not entitled to apply for the information described in subsection (1) until the adopted person is at least 19 years old. 

Disclosure

   (3)  Subject to subsections (5) and (7), the applicant may obtain the information described in subsection (1) from the Registrar General upon payment of any required fee and upon production of any evidence of the applicant’s identity and of the adopted person’s age that may be required by the Registrar General. 

Effect of notice of preferred manner of contact

   (4)  If a notice submitted by the adopted person under subsection 48.3 (1) is in effect, the Registrar General shall give the applicant a copy of the notice when the Registrar General gives the applicant the information described in subsection (1). 

Effect of notice of wish not to be contacted

   (5)  If a notice submitted by the adopted person under subsection 48.4 (1) is in effect, the Registrar General shall not give the information described in subsection (1) to the applicant unless the applicant agrees in writing not to contact or attempt to contact the adopted person, either directly or indirectly.

Copy of notice of wish not to be contacted

   (6)  The Registrar General shall give the applicant a copy of a notice described in subsection (5) when the Registrar General gives the applicant the information described in subsection (1). 

Effect of disclosure veto

   (7)  If a disclosure veto submitted by an adopted person under subsection 48.5 (2) is in effect, the Registrar General shall not give the information described in subsection (1) to,

  (a)  any birth parent who applies for the information under subsection (1), if the disclosure veto does not specify a birth parent against whom it is effective; or

  (b)  if the adopted person specifies in the disclosure veto that it is to be effective only against a particular birth parent, the birth parent specified in the disclosure veto.

Copy of statement

   (8)  If a disclosure veto is in effect, the Registrar General shall advise the applicant that a disclosure veto is in effect and give the applicant a copy of the statement, if any, intended for the applicant that may have been included in the disclosure veto under subsection 48.5 (7).

Same

   (9)  If, at the time of application, a disclosure veto has ceased to be in effect under subsection 48.5 (13), the Registrar General shall advise the applicant of this fact and give the applicant a copy of the statement, if any, intended for the applicant that may have been included in the disclosure veto under subsection 48.5 (7).

   5.  (1)  Subsections 48.3 (1) and (2) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Notice, preferred manner of contact

Adopted person

   (1)  An adopted person who is at least 18 years old may submit to the Registrar General a notice specifying his or her preferences concerning the manner in which a birth parent may contact him or her.

Proof of identity and age

   (1.1)  A notice submitted under subsection (1) shall not be registered until the applicant provides the Registrar General with such evidence of his or her identity and age as may be required by the Registrar General.

Birth parent

   (2)  A birth parent may submit to the Registrar General a notice specifying his or her preferences concerning the manner in which an adopted person may contact him or her.

Proof of identity

   (2.1)  A notice described in subsection (2) shall not be registered until the applicant provides the Registrar General with such evidence of his or her identity as may be required by the Registrar General.

   (2)  Subsection 48.3 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “A notice is registered and in effect” at the beginning and substituting “A notice shall be registered by the Registrar General and is in effect”.

   (3)  Subsection 48.3 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “a notice registered” and substituting “a notice submitted”.

   (4)  Subsection 48.3 (5) of the Act is amended by striking out “a notice registered” and substituting “a notice submitted”.

   6.  (1)  Subsections 48.4 (1), (2) and (3) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Notice, wish not to be contacted

Adopted person

   (1)  An adopted person who is at least 18 years old may submit to the Registrar General a notice that he or she wishes not to be contacted by a birth parent.

Proof of identity and age

   (2)  A notice described in subsection (1) shall not be registered until the applicant has provided the Registrar General with such evidence of his or her identity and age as may be required by the Registrar General.

Birth parent

   (3)  A birth parent may submit to the Registrar General a notice that he or she wishes not to be contacted by the adopted person.

Proof of identity

   (3.1)  A notice described in subsection (3) shall not be registered until the applicant provides the Registrar General with such evidence of his or her identity as may be required by the Registrar General.

   (2)  Subsection 48.4 (5) of the Act is amended by striking out “A notice is registered and in effect” at the beginning and substituted “A notice shall be registered by the Registrar General and is in effect”.

   (3)  Subsection 48.4 (6) of the Act is amended by striking out “a notice registered” and substituting “a notice submitted”.

   (4)  Subsection 48.4 (7) of the Act is amended by striking out “a notice registered” and substituting “a notice submitted”.

   7.  Sections 48.5, 48.6, 48.7, 48.8, 48.9, 48.10, 48.11 and 48.12 of the Act are repealed.

   8.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Disclosure veto

Application

   48.5  (1)  This section applies to an adopted person and to the birth parents of an adopted person only if the registered adoption order relating to the adopted person was made before September 1, 2008.

Adopted person

   (2)  An adopted person who is at least 18 years old may submit to the Registrar General a disclosure veto to prohibit the disclosure of information under section 48.2 to a birth parent.

Same

   (3)  If there are two birth parents, the adopted person may specify in the disclosure veto that it is to be effective only against one of the birth parents.

Proof of identity and age

   (4)  A disclosure veto submitted under subsection (2) shall not be registered until the adopted person provides the Registrar General with such evidence of his or her identity and age as may be required by the Registrar General.

Birth parent

   (5)  A birth parent of an adopted person may submit to the Registrar General a disclosure veto to prohibit the disclosure of information under section 48.1 to the adopted person.

Proof of identity

   (6)  A disclosure veto submitted under subsection (5) shall not be registered until the birth parent provides the Registrar General with such evidence of his or her identity as may be required by the Registrar General.

Additional statement

   (7)  A disclosure veto submitted under subsection (2) or (5) may include a brief statement concerning the person’s reasons for prohibiting the disclosure of information and a brief statement of any information about the person’s medical and family history that, despite the disclosure veto, the person wishes to have disclosed to an applicant under section 48.1 or 48.2.

When veto is registered and in effect

   (8)  A disclosure veto shall be registered by the Registrar General and is in effect when the Registrar General has matched it with the original registration, if any, of the adopted person’s birth or, if there is no original registration, when the Registrar General has matched it with the registered adoption order.

Exception

   (9)  Despite subsection (8), a disclosure veto submitted by an adopted person with respect to one or two birth parents does not come into effect with respect to any birth parent to whom the Registrar General has already given the information described in subsection 48.2 (1) before the match is made.

Same

   (10)  Despite subsection (8), a disclosure veto submitted by a birth parent does not come into effect if, before the match is made, the Registrar General has already given the adopted person the uncertified copies of the documents described in subsection 48.1 (1).

Withdrawal of veto

   (11)  Upon application, the adopted person or birth parent, as the case may be, may withdraw a disclosure veto.

When withdrawal takes effect

   (12)  If an application to withdraw a disclosure veto is made under subsection (11), the disclosure veto ceases to be in effect when the Registrar General has matched the application with the disclosure veto.

Death of person who submitted veto

   (13)  If an adopted person or a birth parent who submitted a disclosure veto under this section dies and the disclosure veto is in effect, the disclosure veto ceases to be in effect when the Registrar General has received evidence of the death and the date of the death that is satisfactory to the Registrar General and has matched that information with the disclosure veto.

Administration

   (14)  Subsections 2 (2) to (4) do not apply to disclosure vetoes registered under this section.

   9.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Unsealing of files

   48.6  For the purposes of sections 48.1 to 48.5, the Registrar General may unseal any file that was sealed under this Act or a predecessor of this Act.

   10.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Review re: disclosure of adoption information

   48.7  The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall ensure that a review of the operation of sections 48.1 to 48.6 and section 56.1 is conducted within five years after section 4 of the Access to Adoption Records Act (Vital Statistics Statute Law Amendment), 2007 comes into force.

   11.  (1)  Clauses 60 (1) (r.1) and (r.2) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

(r.1)  respecting the rules that apply where an adopted person or birth parent has submitted more than one notice under sections 48.3 and 48.4 or one such notice and a disclosure veto under section 48.5, or any other combination of such documents, including providing whether a notice or disclosure veto prevails and terminating the effect of a notice or of a disclosure veto;

(r.2)  governing the disclosure of information in relation to adoption in situations where an individual has been the subject of more than one registered adoption order, including providing that all or part of sections 48.1, 48.2, 48.3, 48.4 and 48.5 do not apply to an adopted person or a birth parent or classes of adopted persons or birth parents;

   (2)  Subsections 60 (2) and (3) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Transitional matters

   (2)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations providing for transitional matters which, in the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, are necessary or desirable in connection with the enactment of sections 48.1, 48.2, 48.5, 48.6 and 48.7 by the Access to Adoption Records Act (Vital Statistics Statute Law Amendment), 2007 and the amendment or repeal of other sections of this Act by that Act. 

Child and Family Services Act

   12.  Subsection 162.1 (4) of the Child and Family Services Act is repealed.

   13.  Subsection 165 (1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Confidentiality of adoption information

   (1)  Despite any other Act, after an adoption order is made, no person shall inspect, remove, alter or disclose information that relates to the adoption and is kept by the Ministry, a society, a licensee or a designated custodian under section 162.1 and no person shall permit it to be inspected, removed, altered or disclosed unless the inspection, removal, alteration or disclosure is,

  (a)  necessary for the maintenance or updating of the information by the Ministry, society, licensee or designated custodian or their staff; or

  (b)  authorized under this Act.

   14.  Section 225 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Review re disclosure of adoption information

   225.  The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall ensure that a review of the operation of sections 161 to 165 and section 176.1 is conducted within five years after section 4 of the Access to Adoption Records Act (Vital Statistics Statute Law Amendment), 2007 comes into force.

Commencement

   15.  (1)  Subject to subsection (2), this Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

   (2)  Sections 2, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11 come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Short title

   16.  The short title of this Act is the Access to Adoption Records Act (Vital Statistics Statute Law Amendment), 2007.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

The Bill amends sections 48.1 to 48.12 of the Vital Statistics Act in relation to the disclosure of information relating to adoptions. 

Currently, sections 48.1 and 48.2 of the Act provide for the disclosure by the Registrar General, to adopted persons and birth parents, of certain information relating to adoptions.  The Bill provides for the registration of disclosure vetoes to prevent the disclosure of this information.  An adopted person may register a disclosure veto to prevent the disclosure of information to a birth parent under section 48.2.  A birth parent may register a disclosure veto to prevent the disclosure of information to an adopted person under section 48.1.  The right to register a disclosure veto is only available in relation to adoptions that were the result of adoption orders made before September 1, 2008.

The Bill repeals sections 48.1 and 48.2 of the Act as of the day the Bill receives Royal Assent and re-enacts them at a later time to be determined by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor to ensure that information will not be disclosed until after the disclosure veto provisions have been in effect.  This is to allow adopted persons and birth parents the opportunity to register their disclosure vetoes before information can be obtained under the disclosure provisions.

The Bill also repeals the existing sections 48.5 to 48.10 of the Act.  Sections 48.5 to 48.8 of the Act currently allow adopted persons and birth parents to apply to the Child and Family Services Review Board for an order prohibiting the disclosure of information under sections 48.1 and 48.2.  The circumstances in which such an order will be made by the Board are restricted and it is for the applicant to demonstrate that he or she qualifies for the order.  Section 48.9 prohibits the Registrar General from disclosing information about an adopted person to a birth parent under section 48.2 of the Act if the Registrar General is notified by a children’s aid society that the adopted person in question was the victim of abuse by the birth parent.  Section 48.10 allows an adopted person to register a notice that he or she waives the protection of any prohibition under section 48.9.

Section 48.11 of the Act is repealed.  That section allowed the Registrar General to unseal files for purposes of the provisions relating to adoption information disclosure.  The substance of that section is re-enacted, with minor changes, in a new section 48.6.

Section 48.12 of the Act is repealed.  That section provided for a review of the adoption information disclosure provisions set out in the Act within five years after the day section 11 of the Adoption Information Disclosure Act, 2005 comes into force.  A new section 48.7 extends the five-year period until five years after the day section 4 of the Bill comes into force.

The Bill makes other minor amendments to the Act, including amendments to subsection 60 (1) of the Act to provide that the Lieutenant Governor in Council can make regulations to deal with the disclosure of adoption information in specified circumstances not addressed by the Act.

Consequential amendments are made to the Child and Family Services Act.