STANDING COMMITTEE ON
DE LA JUSTICE
Thursday 13 April 2017 Jeudi 13 avril 2017
Bill 89, An Act to enact the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, to amend and repeal the Child and Family Services Act and to make related amendments to other Acts / Projet de loi 89, Loi édictant la Loi de 2017 sur les services à l’enfance, à la jeunesse et à la famille, modifiant et abrogeant la Loi sur les services à l’enfance et à la famille et apportant des modifications connexes à d’autres lois.
Le Président (M. Shafiq Qaadri): Chers collègues, j’appelle à l’ordre cette séance du Comité permanent de la justice. Welcome, colleagues. We are here for clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 89, An Act to enact the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, to amend and repeal the Child and Family Services Act and to make related amendments to other Acts.
Before we begin, I would like to draw the committee’s attention to the last two amendments in your packages, amendments 296 and 297. As they modify the preamble to schedule 1 of the bill, they will be dealt with at the end of the consideration of schedule 1, and they should be moved immediately following amendment 279. In any case, a procedural issue. We’ll remind you folks when the time comes.
I’ll take it as the will of the committee to stand down sections 1, 2 and 3 as we need to move immediately to the consideration of schedule 1, for which we have motion 1, PC motion: Ms. Martow—unless there are any other comments of a general nature before we begin. Fine. The floor is yours, Ms. Martow.
“(1.1) In determining the best interests of the child in respect of all matters affecting them, the child’s voice shall be solicited, heard and considered, and shall be given due weight in appreciation of their evolving capacity unless there is a demonstrably good cause to do otherwise.”
Basically, we’re trying to bring just a little bit more focus into the bill for Katelynn’s Principle, which speaks to the best interests of the child. This amendment is supported by testimony from the provincial advocate, OPSEU and several other witnesses. Of course, we want more of a child-centred approach. Although section 3 of Bill 89 provides rights to children and young people receiving services under the act, Katelynn’s Principle should also be reflected in the paramount purpose of the act.
Miss Monique Taylor: I would also like to reiterate the comments made by the official opposition, Ms. Martow. We heard from many presenters how important it was to have Katelynn’s Principle enacted in the bill to ensure that it had teeth, to ensure that there was a true vision, that children’s voices will be heard and seen. I will be bringing forward the next motion, which reflects this also.
“(1.1) In determining the best interests of a child for the purpose of making a decision about the child or providing a service to the child under this act, the voice, views, and wishes of the child shall be given due weight in accordance with the child’s evolving capacity.”
If I may, Chair, again, this was something that was brought forward from—I would say the majority of the presenters who presented in front of us talked about the importance of really putting this in the bill and strengthening the bill to bring it to what the government says it wants it to be. Putting this legislation and this wording in ensures that a child really does have a voice. I hope that we can get support on this motion.
Mrs. Gila Martow: Again, this was very similar to the previous motion, but I hope that it will be supported. This is, again, part of a preamble to the bill. I wouldn’t say it doesn’t have teeth, but it certainly sets out a direction for everyone to understand.
I would just want to put it on the record that I would worry that this is not being supported by the government side just because my colleague from the third party put forward a private member’s bill of the same name as Katelynn’s Principle.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Any further points, questions or comments before we proceed to the vote? We’ll then proceed to the vote. Those in favour of NDP motion 2? Those opposed? NDP motion 2 falls.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that paragraphs 4 and 5 of subsection 1(2) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
Mrs. Gila Martow: I would just want to say that I will be supporting this. I understand that it’s just respecting regional differences and just changing some of the wording. We’re happy to support it.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that paragraph 6 of subsection 1(2) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families”—quotation; sorry I should have added that—and substituting “First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and young persons and their families”.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just wanted to clarify that we’re changing “children and families” to “children and young persons and their families” because I’m guessing that some of the youth who are involved prefer not to be called children. I would just want the government to clarity that that was their reasoning.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Oh, I’m sorry. I’m just wondering if there’s an explanation for the amendment. Usually we get that when there’s an amendment put in there. Is there an explanation from the government on why the amendment is being put in?
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Well, you’re welcome to pose the question. If the government feels ready to reply, they’re welcome to—or not, as they see fit. Are there any further comments or questions or replies on government motion 4? Yes, Ms. Kiwala.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: The term “children” in the act only includes those under the age of 18. The term “young persons” includes individuals over the age of 18 who are held under the Youth Criminal Justice Act or the Young Offenders Act.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Any further comments on government motion 4? If none, we’ll proceed to the vote. Those in favour of government motion 4, if any? Those opposed? Government motion 4 carries.
This was brought forward by many presenters, including UNICEF, PACY and several others. I hope that we can get this through to ensure that there are further rights within the act to support and keep children safe.
Mrs. Gila Martow: Again, I think that we support involving the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In Ottawa, we adopted the UN protocol on many things to deal with anti-Semitism and racism and things like that. I think that it’s very important that Ontario legislation follows all of our efforts to make it a more inclusive and tolerant society, which we keep hearing from the government.
I don’t know if the government lawyer wants to comment on if it’s even permissible to add in other protocols that have been legislated by the UN that Canada has signed treaties on or things like that—how that has to be adopted into the bill.
We heard very clearly, Chair, that many of the reasons that young people come into our system are due to poverty issues. To keep kids out of care, to keep kids out of corrections, to keep kids safe, we need to ensure that their families are not living in poverty in Ontario.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I’m just wondering if the government lawyer or the members from the government have any comments on if this would affect any other bills. I’m just learning how to draft amendments and how bills work. A lot of times, I know that amendments are put forward and they have to be withdrawn because they would be affecting other bills. I’m just wondering how this would affect any other government bills.
“(a) take preventative measures and make resources available to ensure the person with custody of a child, the extended family of a child, and the community of a child are supported in the performance of child-rearing responsibilities;
“(b) make services and resources available to ensure that a child is not separated from their family or from their community because of disability, lack of health care, educational needs, inadequate shelter or financial hardship; and
“(c) ensure that funding and other support provided to First Nations, Inuit and Métis children are comparable in quality and accessibility to services provided to other children, and is adequate to meet their needs.”
This was something that the advocate brought forward. It is measures, really, to preserve and support families—quite frankly, proactive measures—ensuring that they’re in place to keep families together and not separated.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I move that the definition of “child” in subsection 2(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding “and, for the purposes of part II, includes a person older than 18 who is receiving services unless the person is the parent of a child” at the end.
Mrs. Gila Martow: Just that we need to consider those who are over 18 in care, but not involving parents of kids in care. That, I think, might get a little tricky, going forward, once we have 16- and 17-year-olds in care—I’m sure it happens sometimes for 14- and 15-year-olds—where they’re actually parents themselves. So when we’re giving rights to kids and giving rights to parents and giving rights to everybody, there can be consequences. I just want to put on the record that I’m thinking about that and concerned about it, if a young person is receiving services under the act, or they’re a member of that child’s community, that they can be involved.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I think the whole point of the amendment is that it would strengthen the bill so the child is at the centre of the decision-making process, and it would enact Katelynn’s Principle into the act. That’s really the intent.
“(d) any audio recording that has as its dominant characteristic, the description, presentation or representation, for a sexual purpose, of sexual activity with a child that would be an offence under the Criminal Code (Canada); (‘pornographie juvénile’)”
We’re just seeking to clarify, once we’re trying to protect children in care, that there are no cracks in the system. We’re clarifying what exactly would be considered child pornography in the Child Pornography Reporting Act, 2008, which was Bill 37. We’re just concerned that the omission of amendments to the original act would be problematic in the future in apprehending people who are taking advantage of kids in care.
I think it’s a particular problem for kids in care when they’re being taken away from their parents—that we ensure that they’re not being put in a more difficult situation. Again, we don’t have crystal balls; we have to just do our best to ensure that everybody is thinking about it and concerned about it. Seeing as we’re focusing on involving children, talking to children and empowering social workers to talk to children about difficult conversations, there’s a purpose to all that.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I think that we can all agree that any type of sexual exploitation of a child should not be tolerated and that we should do everything we can as legislators to protect the most vulnerable children and youth from abuse. Sexual exploitation of children and child pornography should be included in the criteria for determining whether a child is in need of protection.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: We will be opposing the motion because the Child, Youth and Family Services Act already covers the harms associated with child pornography through existing grounds for protection. The Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, already protects the children contemplated under the Child Pornography Reporting Act.
Mrs. Gila Martow: A very quick comment, which is that of course we will be supporting this. I believe all three parties put forward similar amendments, but I did notice that later on in the bill, there are some areas where they mention all the criteria for determining where a child would be best placed or programming for a child, and it includes so many different things and it does say “creed” and it does say “culture,” but it doesn’t say “religion.” I would want this to reflect that throughout the bill, any time we’re discussing culture and creed, this section should be reflected in that as well, to include religion.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes, I’m somewhat surprised that the government is moving this in this bill, because we heard deputation after deputation ask for this and heard the explanation over and over again of why it wasn’t required. I’m just wondering about the explanation of why the change of heart. We certainly supported this all along.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that the definition of “extended family” in subsection 2(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: We will be voting against the motion, because the amendment could unintentionally capture individuals whom the child claims as a person of significance but who may create risk for them or for other children—for example, individuals involved in human trafficking, gangs etc.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I think we heard from a lot of people who came to the hearings that they wanted to change the terminology and include the terminology for young persons, and, as the government had explained, even for older than 18, but particularly for those 16- and 17-year-olds coming into care. They felt very specifically that they wanted that kind of terminology, and in the indigenous community, to have the terminology that they’re comfortable with and to work with those communities.
We’ve received another amendment to be dealt with later; I think it’s 79.1. It will be handed out just before we proceed to the next motion, which will be PC motion 15. Thank you. That’s for consideration considerably later on.
“2.1(1) Unless this act expressly provides otherwise, and without limiting any rights of a child under this act, a service provider or other decision-maker shall in all decisions affecting a child under this act,
“(i) to provide the child with the information required in order to understand the nature and the reasonably foreseeable consequences of the decision and with any other information the child may request, and
Mrs. Gila Martow: Again, this just reflects the preamble and what this amendment is trying to do is add in Katelynn’s Principle, which speaks to a child’s general right to be heard. That’s supposed to be a big part of this bill.
Although part II confers certain rights on children, it falls short of what is afforded under Katelynn’s Principle; for example, the rights apply only when a child is receiving services. They do not appear to apply when a decision is being made by a court or by an administrative body. There is no obligation on the service provider to provide the information and support necessary for a child to exercise their right to be heard meaningfully.
As I’ve said before, this was really supported by many who came and spoke to us in the hearings, and we believe this will help strengthen the bill so that the child is at the centre of decision-making.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding the following sections after the heading “Rights of Children and Young Persons Receiving Services”:
“2.1 In this part, a reference to a child includes a reference to a person 18 or older who is receiving a service under this act, unless the person is the parent of or a member of the community of a child who is receiving a service under this act.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Just to interrupt: With your indulgence, seeing as we’re attempting to create two sections with this—meaning, as you see, there are 2.1 and 2.2—we’ll stop at the end of 2.1 and vote on that, and then proceed to 2.2.
Miss Monique Taylor: Again, this is just putting into the actual act more strength to ensure that children have the right to be heard, seen and respected. We have seen many instances in this province where children have fallen through the cracks, some to the ultimate, causing death. We need to ensure that they do have the protection under Katelynn’s Principle that that would provide. This is just another attempt in making the bill stronger.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just wanted to say that we’ll be supporting this, and that, again, it really does focus on the whole Katelynn’s Principle and the right to be heard and the rights of children and young persons receiving services.
“2.2(1) Before making a decision about a child under this act, including a decision with respect to the provision of a service to the child, and in addition to any other right to be heard under this act, the person with responsibility for making the decision shall, in a manner that is consistent with the evolving capacity of the child as informed by their age and maturity,
“(a) provide the child with the information necessary for the child to understand the nature and reasonably foreseeable consequences of any potential decision affecting the child and any additional information requested by the child that is relevant to the decision;
“(c) solicit the views and wishes of the child, including, in the context of a proceeding under this act, providing an opportunity for the child to be heard and to receive evidence from the child, either directly or through a representative; and
“(2) The person with responsibility for making the decision is not required to comply with subsection (1), in whole or in part, if to do so would demonstrably not be in the best interests of the child.
“(3) If a person determines that they are not required to comply with subsection (1), in whole or in part, the person shall document the reasons for the determination in writing and provide those reasons to the child in a manner the child can understand.”
This, once again, reinforces the principles of Katelynn’s Principle. The government can call it what it likes, but we have heard time and time and time again that Katelynn’s Principle needed to be embedded in this act.
The only portion of Katelynn’s Principle that we see is in the preamble. That does nothing to ensure safety of our children. It does nothing to enforce the fact that children need to be seen, heard, respected and be given the views in a manner that they can understand and that respects them.
I hope that the government sees fit to pass this piece of legislation, knowing that it really is in the best interests of kids, that the provincial advocate has called for this, UNICEF has called for this, and OACAS has called for Katelynn’s Principle. Every presenter who has come before us—the majority—has asked for Katelynn’s Principle. This is just another try at ensuring kids in our province are kept safe and respected.
Mrs. Gila Martow: Just a couple of things. One is that, if we’re going to be having an older demographic cohort joining the kids in care, they need to be respected as young adults. I think that they would mature in a better manner. All kids, if they feel, not necessarily empowered, but that they have a voice and they feel they’re being heard, I think that their behaviour, their self-worth, their maturity—everything improves.
I don’t think we’re living in a society anymore where children are to be seen and not heard. I think that’s reflected in most of the communities that we represent, and I think that we are trying to ensure that that follows for the kids in care as well. As some of the former kids who had been in care came and spoke to us said, “It’s not enough that we’re just kept alive. We’re not reaching our full potential because we don’t feel that we have voices.” We on this side of the room are happy to support this amendment.
This really only adds “participate in.” We’re hoping that the government really means what they say when they put rosy words around things and puts some teeth into legislation that allows youth to be involved in the decision-making process. It’s a recommendation from the provincial advocate.
“3. To be consulted on the nature of the services provided or to be provided to them, to participate in decisions about the services provided or to be provided to them and to be advised of the decisions made in respect of those services.
“4. To raise concerns or recommend changes with respect to the services provided or to be provided to them without interference or fear of coercion, discrimination or reprisal and to receive a response to their concerns or recommended changes.”
Mrs. Gila Martow: Just that we support that children and young persons are being advised of the decisions made in respect to the services provided, that they would also participate in the decisions and they’ll also receive a response to their concerns. I think that this is a good thing, but there should be a lot more consultation, communication, having their voices heard and having actual documentation that their voices are being heard.
Mr. Arthur Potts: I just want to say that we appreciate, actually, the motion that was before us previously. This embodies those principles exactly but in a more comprehensive way. We appreciate that direction, but we think this accomplishes it better.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that paragraph 4 of section 3 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding “and to receive a timely and reasonable response to those concerns or recommended changes” at the end.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): All right. We’re now scheduled to go to NDP motion 20, but NDP motion 20 references section 3.1, which does not currently exist in schedule 1 of the bill. Therefore, we need to stand down consideration of section 3 of schedule 1 and deal with the amendments proposing the new section in order for it to be able to be housed somewhere. Does that make sense? Okay. Fine.
“3.1(1) A child has the right to receive independent legal advice on any matter that is necessary in order for the child to exercise their rights under this act and to participate in decisions that affect them.
“(2) In addition to the right to receive independent legal advice under subsection (1), a child has the right to be informed in language suitable to their understanding of the existence and role of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and of how the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth may be contacted.
“(3) In addition to the rights listed in subsections (1) and (2), a child has the right in the prescribed circumstances to receive assistance and services, other than independent legal advice, from an advocate.
Mrs. Gila Martow: We heard from children and youth that they want better access without any hardship to the provincial advocate and lawyers. This amendment would allow for appropriate access to legal counsel. It will ensure that a child shall have access to legal counsel or any provider of advocacy that is necessary and appropriate to allow the child to exercise those rights and participate in any decisions affecting the child or youth.
Again, we can’t just give children a voice and then they can’t do anything with that voice. We can’t expect children to always understand how the system works—and when I say “children,” I mean youth as well. They need to have the resources made available to them, be aware and be able to access the provincial advocate, because the kids who came and spoke to us who had been in care—now they’re wonderful young adults. You can see in their eyes the old saying, “If I knew then what I know now, how differently I would have behaved” or “acted” or whatever. So I hope that this is going to have support from all sides of the room.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I think that one of the guiding principles we have in our society is that people are protected and have the right to legal advice. In the case of child protection, we have study after study showing how we missed the mark. So why we would move ahead at this time and not provide access to legal advice for the youth especially that—really, the decisions that are being made will affect their life. At a young age, they have a long way to go, hopefully, so I would think that it’s natural to include this in part of their rights and the administration of the act.
“3.1 Every child or young person has a right to claim and to enforce their rights under this part, including by seeking the assistance of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, and to institute and participate in, to the extent permitted under this act, proceedings under this act without reprisal or threat of reprisal from a service provider for doing so.”
Again, I think that sometimes people believe that there are more bad things happening to kids in society, specifically sexual abuse. What I would say is, probably not. Probably, if anything, there is less, but now kids speak up, so it’s not kept secret. Kids are told, “If you tell anybody, I will do” this and that. Maybe the kids are wise too young and exposed to too much too young, in some ways, in our world, with the Internet and social media, but in other ways, it has empowered them to protect themselves better. I think that’s the tough thing. We can’t always have the right adult watching the child.
To allow kids and youth to feel, without repercussions, that they can contact the provincial advocate or get legal advice—they should not be in fear of repercussions from any adult. They should never feel that they’re not able to talk to a teacher about something that’s going on in their life. They should not be afraid to talk to a foster parent about what’s going on in their life. I don’t know what we can do as legislators to get that message across, that we want kids in care, specifically, to understand every step of the way and be reminded that they don’t just have a voice; we want them to use that voice. We have to ensure that they’re able to use that voice.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I guess since I’ve been here, and at one time had a critic role for this position, we’ve seen the provincial advocate lobbying for just some basic—I mean, they have a position, but they seem to be constrained in so many areas for actually addressing the issues with our children.
We have a bill that pertains to looking after our youth, the possibility of putting them in care, and we aren’t guaranteeing the right to have the advocate actually work on their behalf. The more and more we look at it, we wonder why the position is there. They’re restricted in so many ways. I think this is a natural and we should allow for these guarantees that children can actually access their office.
“(2) A service provider shall, on any premises the service provider uses to provide a service under this act to children or young persons, prominently display a poster that sets out the following information:
“2. The obligation of the service provider under subsection 18(2) of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007 to afford a child or young person with the means to contact the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth privately and without delay.
“3. The fact that under section 3.1, a child or young person has a right to claim and to enforce their rights under this part, including by seeking the assistance of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, without reprisal or threat of reprisal from a service provider for doing so.
“(3) On the request of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, a service provider shall make available informational materials produced by the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.”
“5. No service provider or foster parent shall detain a child or young person or permit a child or young person to be detained in locked premises in the course of the provision of a service to the child or young person, except as part VI (Youth Justice) and part VII (Extraordinary Measures) authorize.”
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just want to point out—and I think we heard it at the hearings as well—that kids in care, youth in care and adults in care are not criminals who are being arrested. They’re not being detained. They’re not being apprehended. We see later on in other amendments that they were very insulted by the terminology. They had been advocating for a long time to get that changed. Of course, we’ll be supporting this.
“5.1 No service provider or foster parent shall use or permit the use of physical restraint on a child or young person for whom the service provider or foster parent is providing services, except as the regulations authorize.”
Mrs. Gila Martow: We got something from the Legislative Assembly about numbers—percentages—of foster homes—people willing to offer their homes as foster parents. It’s on a huge decline for many reasons, not the least of which is that kids come into care, they’re traumatized, they’ve been emotionally abused, physically abused, neglected, what have you. There’s a certain amount of anger associated with that, and it’s difficult. Oftentimes, the foster parents are far smaller than the youth that are in care.
So yes, we want to protect the foster parents and we want to protect the workers who are working with some of the youth who often are in group homes because they’re rejected from foster homes because of some kind of violence or acting out.
I think that this addresses the restrictions to physical restraints. What I would say is that we heard, again, from many of the youth who came and spoke to us that they want more prevention. Perhaps some of the prevention could be that there’s a better effort to deal with and teach the youth and children in our care anger management skills and things like that. We seem to assume that they’ve had a reasonable upbringing up to that point, in a lot of respects, in terms of dealing with their emotions, when obviously they haven’t. I think that much more could be done in society.
I know it may be an expensive proposition to do this, but I think maybe include it in the counselling. I’m sure it is, for the foster parents, in their training—the skills to deal with anger management. There are techniques, and I would like to see less de-escalation techniques, physical restraints and isolation techniques, and more focus on giving them the skills to deal with whatever issues they have.
Miss Monique Taylor: Thanks, Chair. I would just like to put on the record that there are a lot of things that are going to happen in this bill and in this legislation through regulation, and I think it’s unfortunate that we won’t know any of those regulations, that there will be no consultations, really, for regulations, and on what the regulations will say when it comes to physical restraints.
Mrs. Gila Martow: Again, we’re supposed to be trying to focus on the children’s and youth’s right to be heard. We heard from a lot of people that it’s not enough to involve them in one aspect, but in as many as possible, taking into account their age, their maturity, their abilities and things like that. We’re happy to support, but I do have a note here that the government is moving forward with something similar in motion number 26, so I will look forward to that if they vote this down.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that section 8 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out the portion before clause (a) and substituting the following:
“8. Upon admission to a residential placement, and at regular intervals thereafter, or, where intervals are prescribed, at the prescribed intervals thereafter, a child in care has a right to be informed, in language suitable to their understanding, of,”
Mrs. Gila Martow: This does reflect a lot of what we heard in the hearings, but a lot of the presenters who gave deputations at the hearings said that they actually consulted with the government before the bill was written and they actually told them that these types of things had to be in the bill and they were disappointed when they saw the bill and it wasn’t in the bill. Now the government has rectified that and put forward amendment after amendment. That’s why I guess we’re breaking some kind of record in the number of amendments. They are mostly government amendments, and most of those government amendments actually deal with stuff that youth, the provincial advocate and other organizations said they had spoken to the government about before the bill was written.
I just would want to put it on the record that I feel like this bill was written in committee in some ways. There’s no point announcing that there were consultations done, I think on the weekend, with youth who had been in care. I can’t say; I wasn’t invited to those consultations. All I can repeat is what I heard at the hearings: that they were consulted, they were told the same things that they said in the hearing; they’re seeing it now reflected in the bill in amendments, but they would have preferred—I think it would have saved everybody a lot of anxiety if it would have just been in the original bill.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Further comments on government motion 27? Seeing none, we’ll proceed with the vote. Those in favour of government motion 27? Those opposed? Government motion 27 carries.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that section 8 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out the portion before clause (a) and substituting the following:
“8. Upon admission to a residential place or at any time a service or program is being sought or received, a child in care has a right to be informed, in language suitable to their understanding, of,”
The reason, again, for this is that it removes “the extent that is practical given their level of understanding.” “Practical” really leaves too much room for variance. The other portion clearly has suitable language, so instead of leaving so much room for interpretation, it just makes it a little tighter. This is a recommendation of the advocate.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I would just say, again, we’re trying to communicate with children and young people. I think that we don’t want to hear excuses that they weren’t able to communicate because of a language barrier or other kinds of issues.
There are a lot of ways to communicate with children and youth that don’t even involve language sometimes, that can involve dolls. I’ve heard of grief counselling—a lot of it is done with props and things like that when children are involved. I think that we want to give social workers and foster parents and those who work in the group homes—all the child care workers—the resources and the ability and to remind them that it’s their responsibility to ensure that they’re able to communicate with that child or youth.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes, I guess I would think that the government supports this. I don’t know how you could have a placement that is dealing with children if they can’t understand you. I think there’s a minimum we would have. We are asking that the child would be informed in a language they understand—not the language they demand but the language they understand, which is critical. I would hope the government supports this.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I was just saying that I think it’s hard to believe that we’d be going through legislation where we would be dealing with children in a language they would not understand. I think that’s the minimum, when we’re dealing with them—that the children are at least allowed to be dealt with by people who can speak the same language.
Mr. Arthur Potts: Considering we just adopted the previous motion and this is almost identical, I think that, in the interests of time, it would be better to withdraw motions like that so we don’t have to go through this process. Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Any further comments to NDP motion 28? Seeing none, we’ll proceed to the vote. Those in favour of NDP motion 28? Miss Taylor, I presume you’re in favour of your own motion? Yes. Those against NDP motion 28? NDP motion 28 falls.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that clause 8(b) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “the complaints procedure” and substituting “the complaints procedures”.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Further comments to government motion 29? Comments? We will proceed to the vote on government motion 29. Those in favour? Those opposed? Government motion 29 is carried.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Motions 30 and 31 are identical. Actually, you are able to move it since 30, which was identical, has been killed. The floor is yours, Miss Taylor. You’re welcome to propose NDP motion 31.
Mrs. Gila Martow: In the interests of collaboration, I just want to add that a lot of these were things that were supposedly told to the government during the consultations but weren’t reflected in the actual bill—a lot of the amendments. If they would have been reflected in the original bill, we wouldn’t be discussing them. If the member opposite seems a little frustrated by some of the overlap and the different amendments, I would just remind him that when we put forward amendments, we don’t know the government is putting forward the exact same amendment. We still want to read it into the record because we have stakeholders as well that we want to communicate with. But if it had been in the original bill, we wouldn’t be putting forward the amendment, the government wouldn’t be putting forward the amendment and we wouldn’t be discussing the amendments.
Mrs. Gila Martow: Right. We had the deputations, but they were consulted before the deputations and they asked to have this expanded. There are going to be a lot of amendments dealing with exactly this, so I just wanted that on the record.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I know that there have been some catcalls across here about the amendments, but I understand that there were 170-some amendments before the bill even went to committee. There is a lot of confusion. We don’t have the opportunity to see the amendments before they come to us—almost today. Yes, if there are amendments that are duplicated—it’s too bad that a bill of this size and this importance is amended by almost 200 amendments by the government before we went to committee.
I know that they’ve heard some of the comments and actually issued some new amendments, because I see there are more than the 173 that we started with, but that just adds to a lot of confusion. It adds to a lot of people coming to committee, trying to get changes, because they’re not aware of what those amendments would be. To them, it looks like a bill that just was inadequate, which obviously it was because the government even agrees with that with the number of amendments—
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Good afternoon, everybody, members of the committee and members of the audience who are here this afternoon. I’m just calling to order the meeting of justice policy.
Mr. Arthur Potts: Curiously enough, we’ve just come from French caucus. I actually take this motion very seriously and it has just now been put in front of us. I would ask if we could take a 10-minute recess so I can confer with our staff about this, if I can beg your indulgence.
Miss Taylor, you have the floor, having presented in the morning motion 31. I think just for orientation, I’ll invite you to, if you might, read it again so that we can be on the same page literally and figuratively.
This is something that we heard from the advocate several times, as well as other presenters here to the committee. It does relate to other motions moving forward, but it also ensures that children under the age of 12 are seen, heard and respected as we hope that they would be, but it needs to be reflected in the legislation.
Mrs. Gila Martow: There are quite a few sections where the member from the NDP had put forward similar amendments asking for the exception of children under the age of 12 to be removed so that they could be consulted. I think that the bill should consult and hear the voices of children under 12, but—you know, I always hate it when people say “as the mother of,” but as the mother of four kids, kids are very different from adults. They say that dogs have no sense of time; well, kids are even worse, and if you say to a child “in a week” or “in a month” or whatever, they don’t have the same patience. They don’t have the same understanding. It could be actually traumatic to tell them that something is going to be happening in two weeks, because it builds up their anxiety.
So I’m understanding and supportive of the principle. I just think that to broadly—something that we’re really going to have to work on with this bill once it comes into effect is the decision-making of how involved kids can be in the review process and what information is shared with them.
Miss Monique Taylor: I will be coming forward with the next motion that does push it a little bit further and enhances the ability for a youth to be able to communicate, so I hope that we can consider that next motion.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I’ll just remind everybody that legislation was passed earlier this year to recognize grandparents’ rights in terms of divorce, and that the judge should at least recognize and ask if there are grandparents involved in the child’s life. We heard from indigenous communities as well as others that extended family are really part of the immediate family. I support, and I think we support, anything that strengthens family involvement in a child’s life.
“(a) to speak in private with, including over the phone or through any other telecommunication device, visit and receive visits from members of their extended family regularly, subject to subsection (2);
“(a.1) to speak with any other person, including over the phone or through any other telecommunication device, subject to any restrictions imposed by the service provider that are necessary and reasonable in the circumstances;
“(2) A child in care who is in extended society care under an order made under paragraph 3 of subsection 98(1) or clause 113(1)(c) is not entitled as of right to speak with, including over the phone or through any other telecommunication device, visit or receive visits from a member of their extended family, except under an order for access made under part V (Child Protection) or an openness order or openness agreement made under part VIII (Adoption and Adoption Licensing).”
Chair, this is a recommendation that was brought forward by the provincial advocate. It strengthens the ability of a child to have proper communication, looking at all scenarios; ensures that that child has a right to speak with their families, to see their families through many different devices and options; and ensures that they have the right to a lawyer, the provincial advocate and the Ombudsman. As you’ve heard, Chair, there is a lot of extent to this, which goes further than the previous government bill. We hope that the government will consider it.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): I don’t generally bring my three-and-a-half-year-old to justice policy, but I welcome Salman. There is a reception with 200 people currently going on upstairs, so he has to say hello to Daddy before he leaves. Hello.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that clause 9(1)(b) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out the portion before subclause (i) and substituting the following:
“(c) shall not be examined or read by the service provider or a member of the service provider’s staff if it is to or from the child’s or young person’s lawyer, or a person described in subclause (1)(b)(ii), (iii) or (iv).”
This gives the same rights to a child in care as currently what a child who would be in corrections or in detention/custody has. I think it’s important that they have those same rights of confidentiality and knowing that they can speak freely and be responded to freely with respect to confidentiality.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that clause 9(3)(c) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “the child’s or young person’s lawyer” and substituting “a person described in subclause (1)(b)(i), (ii), (iii) or (iv)”.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that clause 11(b) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “their creed” and substituting “their religion, creed”.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes, I think that this is something we heard over and over again through deputations—how it certainly was a concern to a large segment of the population. Since we already have seen that the government has adopted this in the first part, I think the consistency is important. These are large bills, and it just keeps it going throughout.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that clause 12(2)(b) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “to receive meals that are well balanced” and substituting “to have access to foods, including meals, that are well balanced”.
This is something that we heard very clearly from the youth, taking this right back to the Youth Leaving Care Hearings, where we hear of fridges being locked, of snacks not being available, and of, when a young person is hungry and in care, their having to scrounge for food. I don’t think we would want that in any of our homes, so I don’t think it’s acceptable for our youth in care to be facing those circumstances. I hope that this motion passes.
I like that the member put in “foods,” not just “meals” at any time, because we also heard from former child care workers who worked in group homes that one of the ways that they can gain structure and discipline is through strict mealtimes. Obviously, children in care, as they said, shouldn’t be there just to be kept alive. Children deserve to have a snack every now and then—a fruit, or crackers and cheese. We’ll be supporting this.
Miss Monique Taylor: Sorry, Chair, I’m not trying to drag this out, but I just want to be clear that the motion that the government will bring forward will have two parts, but ours still goes stronger in ensuring that kids have what they need, because the next motion after that deals with part of the government motion. I hope that we can move these through.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: We certainly thank you for bringing forward the motion, and we agree with the intent of the motion. But as has already been noted by MPP McDonell, there’s a government motion being proposed next which adds in the right of a child in care to have access to food that is of good quality and appropriate for the child or young person.
Miss Monique Taylor: As I had said under the previous motion, the next motion that I will be bringing forward includes section (f), but it also goes much further. I’m hoping that the government will consider that when making their decisions in ensuring that children have the best possible options available to them.
“(h) to grow up with many opportunities to develop relationships with siblings and extended family and to grow up with many opportunities to develop permanent supportive relationships with caregivers, staff and community members;
“(o) to receive assistance in obtaining a photo card in accordance with the Photo Card Act, 2008, or another form of identification that sets out the name of the child, and to retain the identification upon leaving care;
“(q) to be informed, without delay and at regular intervals thereafter, of the existence of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and that the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth may be contacted in private; and
Chair, these are things that have been brought to us by youth for many years, since the Youth Leaving Care Hearings. These are reasonable requests from youth. The government has claimed that they want to listen to youth; they claim that the basis of this bill is on the form of listening and having the youth at the centre of the decision. I think their voice should be included and their requests should be included in legislation to ensure that they do have the best possibility to activities, that they do have the best possibility to education, that they have a say, that they have the protection of the child advocate, that they have spiritual, social—these are the kinds of things that we can say are there in spirit, but we have seen how our system has run for many years, and the spirit is just not there. That’s why we have this bill in front of us today: to change the culture. If we don’t insist on these things being put into legislation, then we are failing our kids once again. We have asked them to participate. Have we only asked them to participate just for show, for a photo op, or have we asked them to participate so that they can have a say in the legislation moving forward?
These are words from them. These are their requests. These are their asks. I’m pleading with the government to really recognize the voice of the child, the spirit in which this legislation was written, and to ensure that this motion passes.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just want to say that I agree with a lot of what the member just said. The youth were supposedly consulted. They said that they were consulted. They had hearings, they had the Youth Leaving Care discussions and they clearly outlined these points.
As everybody here on the committee knows, I requested that the minister come before the committee several times. He should have been invited. These were exactly the types of things that I wanted to ask him: Can we put these things in the bill? What is the problem with putting these things in the bill? They’re all here together. I’m worried that the government can’t support it because there might be one or two things that are contradictory or impossible to implement or monitor. So I find it a little bit disappointing that we weren’t able to ask the minister about exactly these kinds of things. This isn’t a legal terminology amendment to the bill. This really goes, as my colleague just said, to the spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: We will not be supporting the motion because some of the recommended provisions do not fall under the purview of the act. It is beyond the scope of the CYFSA, out of the act’s purview.
Mrs. Gila Martow: As I had just said, I believe that my concern was that there were a few things in here that were going to be problematic, and I would have liked to have known—and I’m sure the member from the NDP would have liked to have known—exactly which ones were problematic, so maybe they could have been removed.
She put in all the asks, and I’m happy to support all the asks, but again, this is exactly why we desired to have the minister come. The Liberal members of the committee blocked us inviting the minister to come to the committee, and this is what happens.
As the member opposite just said, there were a few things in here that were problematic. We still don’t know what they were; she’s not telling us what they were. We have no way of knowing if this could have passed, in almost its entirety, if those few problematic areas were removed.
Miss Monique Taylor: Can I go on then, Chair, while we’re waiting? There has been extensive, so I am told, dialogue with young people, with stakeholders, with many people, to create this bill. This bill was supposed to be something different, something moving us into the future, so I don’t understand the government’s response.
I’m going to be very interested to hear why we were not called out of order on this motion. Once again, I just think it’s unfortunate that the children’s and youth’s voice who brought this forward is being stifled, is being rejected. It goes completely against the supposed intent of rewriting the system in the first place.
From our perspective, this is a very important piece of what we are working on. We have, in co-operation with PACY, developed a youth panel. We’re working with them very hard to hear from them what quality of care means to them. The quality-of-care work that we’re undertaking will inform the blueprint for residential services that we plan to—
Ms. Marian Mlakar: The ministry plans to issue a blueprint for residential services that will, in fact, speak to a multi-year reform exercise that we will be undertaking. Inherent in that, once the youth have helped us to define specifically what quality of care looks like, we will put that into regulatory work. That will be our goal and objective, from a legal perspective, to put that specificity into regulation.
Ms. Melissa Phillips: Melissa Phillips, counsel, legal services branch. I would just note that I think there are provisions in the bill that do allow for that, such as the provisions that speak to the development of policy directives, and a broad reg-making authority that exists towards the end of the bill.
Miss Monique Taylor: Thank you very much for your explanation. But this takes me back to the same fact that this bill and these changes to the system in the Child, Youth and Family Services Act are going to be built on regulation, which is not debatable, which we will not have the opportunity to have a say on, which people will not have the opportunity to voice their concerns on. I think it’s unfortunate that this is where we’re finding ourselves when we’re supposed to be rebuilding a system that works for the families of this province.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that subsection 14(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding “and in the Human Rights Code” at the end.
Mrs. Gila Martow: It’s interesting that the bill specifically addresses discrimination, culture, religion and creed. I’m not sure if children understand necessarily what the Human Rights Code is, but in the spirit, it should be included somewhere in the bill.
“(2) Except in exceptional circumstances, service providers shall ensure that children and young persons and their parents have an opportunity to be heard and represented when decisions affecting their interests are made and to be heard when they have concerns about the services they are receiving.”
What this does, Chair, is it changes the wording from the current wording to ensure that the child becomes the default. Instead of being against the child and to the provider, the child’s voice is first and foremost.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I would just add to that that, basically, by changing “when appropriate” to “exceptional circumstances,” the default is that the child will be notified unless there are exceptional circumstances, not “the child will be only notified when appropriate.”
“(2) Service providers shall ensure that children and young persons and their parents have an opportunity to be heard and represented when decisions affecting their interests are made and to be heard when they have concerns about the services they are receiving.
“(3) Subsection (2) does not apply to a child or young person or parent of a child or young person if there is good cause for not giving that person an opportunity to be heard or represented as described in that subsection.
“(4) Service providers shall ensure that decisions affecting the interests and rights of children and young persons and their parents are made according to clear, consistent criteria and are subject to appropriate procedural safeguards.
“(a) prominently display at their premises, in a manner visible to persons receiving services, a notice advising of the existence and role of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and of how the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth may be contacted; and
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Ah, correct. There is an insert, which is NDP motion 46.1. Thank you, Ms. Martow. To be fair, that was a late addendum. It is loose-leaf, labelled “46.1.” Everyone has it? It had been distributed earlier.
“15. Service providers located in a region designated by the schedule of the French Language Services Act shall make services available to children and young persons and their families in the French language in accordance with that act.”
This is a request of the French language commissioner. I think it’s incumbent on us. I don’t think it should be a question of whether we’re providing the French language in accordance to the act to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to read and to be given information in one of our official languages.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Bill 89 will require all services to be provided in a manner that, among others, takes into account a child’s or young person’s cultural and linguistic needs. It will also continue to require that service providers, where appropriate, make services available to children and youth in the French language.
Mme Gila Martow: Comme la porte-parole pour les affaires francophones pour le caucus PC, je dirais que c’est très important qu’on peut donner des renseignements, qu’on peut parler aux enfants qui sont francophones pour être certain qu’ils comprennent ce qui se passe avec leur vie.
It’s very important that the kids are not just spoken to in French, but that they are given any literature, any information, if it’s supposed to be posted, about a provincial advocate’s office. If the child’s first language is French and if they only go to French school, it could be that their reading and writing in English is quite poor. It might actually be more important that those posters and things like that are in French than even speaking to them in French. I would suggest that this is a very important consideration.
I think the French language commissioner also mentioned that it’s a struggle sometimes because only one of the foster parents speaks French, and sometimes the one who speaks French is the one who’s not around very often, and it can be very difficult for a child. It’s traumatic enough for a child without it being made more traumatic that they’re not able to communicate or feel comfortable that they are communicating properly.
Miss Monique Taylor: Thanks, Chair. I just really want to reiterate again that the commissioner would not have brought this forward and thought it was necessary if he didn’t feel that it wasn’t happening already. This is to reassure and to ensure that people have access to French-language services.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I think it’s important to have this amendment in there. My riding is a designated riding. I look around, and there are many people who would require this service. It is now considered a basic service, and it should be included in here.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: We will absolutely continue to work with the French Language Services Commissioner to look for opportunities to further enhance French-language services, based on discussions with service providers and families.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just want to add that just because a service must be provided because it’s in one piece of government legislation—that means that it can be enforced if somebody is aware of it. But considering that most people who are going to be working in the child welfare system are going to be very focused on the rules and regulations pertaining to this act, they may not have a focus or top priority to be concerned about other parts of other acts that may affect their job. I think to repeat and remind is never a bad thing. We should find a way to fit this into the bill.
“17(1) A service provider who provides residential care to children or young persons or who places children or young persons in residential placements shall establish a written procedure, in accordance with the regulations, for hearing and dealing with,
“(2) The procedures established under subsection (1) must provide that the service provider shall tell the children in care that they may ask for the assistance of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth in,
“(4) Upon completion of its review under subsection (3), the service provider shall inform each person who made the complaint, whether as an individual or as part of a group, of the results of the review.”
Mrs. Gila Martow: I think that this is important because it’s not just about consulting with kids and youth in care; it’s about allowing them to feel that they have some power over what’s going on and to understand their rights, and that includes a complaint process, of course.
All I would say is that this is fairly basic. It’s a little bit surprising that a lot of these amendments that we’re going through weren’t in the original bill. We are all aware that there were dozens of people working on this legislation, lots of consultation—the youth panel and the Youth Leaving Care Hearings. We’re getting it done. Of course the complaints process for the children and youth in care is very important.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Any further comments on government motion 47? Seeing none, we’ll proceed to the vote. Those in favour of government motion 47? Those opposed? Government motion 47 carries.
“17(1) A service provider that provides residential care to children or young persons or who places children or young persons in residential placements shall establish, in accordance with subsection (3) and the regulations, if any, a written procedure for hearing and dealing with complaints, including complaints regarding alleged violations of the rights under this part of children in care.
“(a) the service provider advise every child or youth of their right to make a complaint under this section and inform the child or youth that they may contact the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth for assistance;
“(c) when providing the result of its review to the child or young person, the service provider shall advise the child or young person of their right to request that the minister appoint a person to conduct a further review of the complaint under section 18, inform the child or young person that they may contact the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth for assistance and provide the child or young person with information about the advocate’s investigative function under subsection 15(2) of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007.”
I realize that a lot of this is similar to the motion that was brought forward by the government, but there are further powers in here for the review process and the written procedure. I think that we should be able to move this forward in strengthening the child’s right to proper representation and knowing their rights.
Really, if it sounds like it’s a duplication, it very well could be because this procedure and this process of the government having 150 amendments to their own bill and then having to have everybody else come in with the same amendments trying to do the right thing by this bill has really just put this entire process in a very awkward and trying place.
“(1) Where a person referred to in subsection 17(3) makes a complaint, whether as an individual or as part of a group, and is not satisfied with the results of the review conducted under that subsection and requests in writing that the minister appoint a person to conduct a further review of the complaint, the minister shall appoint a person who is not employed by the service provider to do so.”
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just want to say that it is important to allow for group complaints, especially since we’re often dealing with children and youth and it would be something difficult for them to do on their own. In fact, a group might even be a group of youth in care in a group home together—
Mrs. Gila Martow: —or including their parents or siblings or things like that. You wouldn’t want to have 10 complaints when they’re all dealing with the same thing. This way, everybody is notified and has it on the record that they had complained about something.
“(1) Where the minister decides to take any action with respect to a complaint after receiving a report under subsection 18(5), the minister shall advise the service provider and each person who made the complaint, whether as an individual or as part of a group, of the decision.”
“(1) Subject to clause (2)(b) and subsection (4), a service provider may provide a service to a person who is 16 or older only with the person’s consent, except where the court orders under this act that the service be provided to the person.”
Miss Monique Taylor: Chair, I just want to put on the record that part of this bill, and moving forward with the new changes to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, was to incorporate 16- and 17-year-olds into the act. Now we’re finding all of these amendments to fix this. I just don’t understand why the government felt it necessary to ram this bill through before it was ready, and to leave us in such an awkward position to have all of these amendments. Once again, I don’t understand why they just felt it necessary to rush it through, to put us through a process that really isn’t suiting anybody’s best interests. Let’s hope for the sake of the kids of this province that, when this is done, we can somewhat get it right.
Mr. Jim McDonell: We stated before, the concerns we have. These amendments were made, the vast majority of them, before they even listened, before we had the delegations. The tabling of the bill was quickly followed up with almost 200 amendments, and then we went in to listen to different groups and concerned citizens who came in and talk about the issues and concerns. Many of those were ignored, so most of these changes were put in place well before it ever came to committee.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Just before I give the floor to Mr. Colle, on behalf of the AV folks, we have some people who are too enthusiastic with the microphone, some folks who do not use the microphone and some folks who aim it elsewhere. I would just encourage you, because it is being recorded, it’s on Hansard, it’s being translated etc., to please avail yourself of the technology available.
Mr. Mike Colle: Yes, just to remind people in the committee that this is a very complex bill. You’re dealing with the lives of children and families. The ministry staff have done incredible work on this. It’s not easy. All of the stakeholders and the people who really care about this bill have put forth ideas. It is incumbent upon the committee to basically have an open mind and to have respect for the process that the ministry people go through.
In all bills of this length, there are many amendments. If there is a perfect bill without amendments, show me that. I remember that Mike Harris used to have those bills. There were no amendments. They would just ram them through: “Boom! No amendments. We’re perfect.”
There is imperfection in legislation. Like someone said, it’s like making sausage. It is not a cookie-cutter approach. There always will be amendments and there will be changes, because—just look at the complexity of this bill, the number of pages in this bill. Therefore, you can’t have it both ways and say, “Well, you listened to the people, but we don’t want amendments.” You can’t have it both ways. You can’t suck and blow at the same time, okay?
Number 2: I was listening to the member from the Liberal side very closely. What I would say to him is that, yes, when things are complex, such as in health care, if you are a specialist—say you’re a cardiologist, and you’re putting a patient on heart medication—you consult with the other doctors whom this patient is currently under the care of to see with them, “Are there any adverse effects of me putting the patient on this heart medication? What about for their eye doctor? What about for this doctor?” This is what they do.
Then they go back around and they say, “It’s fine,” “It’s fine,” “It’s fine,” “It’s fine,” and the fifth doctor whom they consult with says, “It’s not fine.” Then they have to change it again and go back again and speak to all of the other doctors.
It’s the same thing with this legislation. I think what happened is that, say, the provincial advocate’s office made a suggestion. Then the government and the ministry staff said, “Well, that’s a very good suggestion. We’re going to put it in the bill.” Then, all of a sudden, the privacy commissioner and the French commissioner and indigenous communities see that new section in the bill that hasn’t been legislated before, and they have concerns and they raise their concerns. Each time that one of them raises their concerns, amendments have to be made.
That’s how you go through the process of doing the bill, not just consulting, consulting, consulting and writing the bill; it’s writing sections and then letting all of the different groups see each other’s suggestions, so that then they can comment and make changes and raise concerns.
Just the amendment that we’re discussing now—I know we’re getting into the broad topic of the bill in general, but just this amendment 53—it’s giving consent, but then realizing somebody said, “Okay, in that instance, there have to be exceptions. There are certain circumstances where this would be problematic for the workers. This would be a problem for the children’s aid society. This would be a problem for privacy, for disclosure, for legal purposes, for court cases.”
I think that, yes, it’s a complicated bill. Yes, it’s comprehensive. We all recognize that. Nobody is trying to insult anybody or criticize anybody. We’re just expressing concern and disappointment that it had to be done this way. That’s all.
Mr. Jim McDonell: No. This bill came to the House, obviously, far too quickly, because these amendments you’re talking about are not being rammed through by—these are amendments that the government made. It’s not the same as saying that Mike Harris rammed bills through. This is a government bill that came with over 170 amendments before it came to committee. I mean, the report originally came out in what, 2012?
Mr. Jim McDonell: I think it’s clear that this bill was taken in before it was ready. Amendments are intended to be after it is debated. When it comes to committee, we listen to delegations. It generates amendments. And you’re right; no bill is perfect. In the past, I’ve seen bills come through with just a very few government amendments, and that’s what you’d expect.
This report came out originally in 2012. No question that it took a long time to put it together, but we would hope that when a bill gets to this point, the right people have been talked to and listened to, and the legislative officers have been listened to, so that when we get a bill, it’s in relatively good shape. When you’re taking this many government amendments—all of these amendments were not under the view of the delegations that came to us. It causes a lot of confusion.
Miss Monique Taylor: I’m just going to say once again that the entire process of how this bill has come before us, and the rapidness with which this government is trying to push through this bill when we are talking about children and how important the children are—the government has created this process. They’ve brought forward a bill after what they called “extensive consultation,” and brought forward 150-plus amendments with it before consultation even began.
During the consultation and deputation process, I asked several presenters whether they were consulted and, if they were consulted, whether they felt that their voice was reflected in the current bill. A lot of the time, the answer was no.
Then we’re given hundreds and hundreds of amendments to a bill which we have days to be able to get through. If the members on the government side are frustrated, then they should deal with their House leader’s office and with the Premier to ensure that when they put things forward, they put together a prepared package that is ready to be in this position.
“(7) Before a child is placed in or discharged from a residential placement or transferred from one residential placement to another with the consent referred to in subsection (2), the service provider shall,
“(a) ensure that the child and the person whose consent is required under subsection (2) are made aware of and understand, as far as possible, the reasons for the placement, discharge or transfer; and
Mrs. Gila Martow: Again, the preamble basically said this in the bill: that we’re going to be consulting with the kids, we’re going to be involving the kids, we’re going to be explaining to the kids, we’re going to consult with them re: their placement, their discharge or their transfer.
This was all supposed to be in the bill, and you almost feel that the minister and maybe his colleagues on the other side of the room did have that intention, but, unfortunately, the bill itself was missing some of that, and that’s why we’re here.
Miss Monique Taylor: I think I’ll vote against this one, Chair, just because of the fact that mine coming right after is stronger. The government motion does not advise the child of why they have been denied for their own reasoning, so that’s my reason why I’ll be voting against this one.
That’s the reason why I voted against the previous motion. We think that it’s important that the child is informed and has the ability to understand why decisions were made about them. Also, I would like a recorded vote.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Thank you, Mr. McDonell. It is with severe regret that I have to inform you that that amendment is out of order as it officially attempts to increase the powers of the Ombudsman. As it is out of order, there is officially no discussion on that motion.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding the following section before the heading “Funding of Services and Lead Agencies”:
Chair, we have seen a shell game of dollars happening in this province for many years. We have children’s mental health agencies and child welfare agencies all completely underfunded. The people who suffer are the children.
I’m hoping that the government decides to stop the shell game and make sure that government agencies and services that are provided under this act are funded accordingly and properly to ensure that all children and families get the services that they need when they need them.
I move that clause 24(c) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out the portion before subclause (i) and substituting the following:
This really puts the responsibility back on making the agreement first, Chair. We think that it’s important that the ministry’s primary responsibility is to make agreements and to provide services, but also to provide adequate funding to those services. Again, it puts the responsibility on making the agreement and then funding it.
This motion clearly speaks for itself. When we have dollars that are not moving throughout the necessary sectors as it is, to be putting out dollars to add profit to any organization is just really a slap in the face to the many service providers who are working under very strained, underfunded conditions.
In order to meet the unique needs of children and youth, however, the ministry requires flexibility in determining who is best positioned to meet their needs. This is the key in this piece of legislation. As the amendment would limit our ability to meet the unique need of children and youth, we must oppose this motion.
This is something that we heard very clearly from Children’s Mental Health, of the underfunded position that they’re in. We have residential beds that are closing across the province. We have 12,000 children on the wait-list for mental health services in this province. That is totally unacceptable. Our children deserve better. They deserve services when they need services. They do not need to be sitting on wait-lists. We have children who are committing suicide. We have an overabundance of young people in our emergency rooms and in our hospitals, where they don’t need to be.
They need to be getting the proper treatment in their community, and allowing them to be in their homes, if possible, but also in residential facilities. We can’t do that if we’re closing down residential facilities.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I’ll just say that there is a crisis in Ontario for children and youth mental health. It’s probably mostly under the purview of the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, but there are a lot of challenges and I don’t feel that we’re doing enough to address the challenges.
We have a shortage of child and youth psychologists. We have a shortage of pediatric psychiatrists in this province. Our kids are graduating from medical school without finding residencies. I think we have to look at what we need for the future and the present in the province in terms of professionals, and offer scholarships or encouragement or open residency spots. It takes a lot of planning and it takes all of us working together to ensure—and not just for children in care, as I think that this amendment actually speaks to all children in Ontario, not just children in care.
Mrs. Gila Martow: No? I thought it did. When I read it, I didn’t see that it was mental health only for children in care. Obviously, it’s an amendment to a bill on the child welfare system, but I think that we certainly don’t want to mandate “no mental health wait-lists for children in care” so that parents are left with no choice but to put their kids in care if they want them to get mental health support. It’s a big problem, and I would like to see all of us work together, all three parties, to address this very, very soon.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Since 2011, the government has invested almost $100 million in additional funding in child and youth mental health care, as part of Ontario’s mental health and addictions strategy. In addition, through Moving on Mental Health, the ministry has implemented a plan to transform the child and youth mental health system, including defining a core set of child and youth mental health services that will be available, over time, across the province.
The provision is not necessary, as the ministry has already demonstrated its commitment to meeting the needs of children and youth with mental health problems and their families. Therefore, embedding the provision in legislation is not necessary, and I wonder, additionally, if it’s out of order.
Miss Monique Taylor: Some 12,000 children on a waiting list for services is not a plan. That is not a plan. Our kids deserve better. We have heard several times over of the crisis that families find themselves in, and their only solution is to find their way into an emergency room, which is not giving them the services either. We have seen young people die after coming out of emergency rooms, found dead the next day by their own hand and by their own means. That is not acceptable. It’s unfortunate that the government thinks they have a plan, and we’re still in this situation. It’s time to quit planning and it’s time to get to action, because our kids need it to be done. By saying that the spirit, or whatever it is, is there and that it doesn’t need to be in legislation is—and I’ll quote my dear friend Peter Kormos—horsefeathers, Chair. Horsefeathers.
Mrs. Gila Martow: This is a crisis. In a perfect world, every child going into care would be assessed. The default would be to assume that they have mental health challenges. Just the fact that they’re going into care would cause most children to have some challenges.
The fact is that the province, I believe, has only two of the trauma units, I would call it, for mental health. There are many residential spots, but there are two where it’s really for people who are violent and for difficult-to-manage youth and children. That’s where the longest wait-lists are, actually: for those kinds of centres.
I would remind everybody who participated a couple of weeks ago that we had the Ontario Medical Students Association. They had their lobby day. They always have a topic, and this year’s topic was mental health for children and youth. That wasn’t an accident.
It’s not enough to have a plan; you have to be able to implement the plan. It’s not enough to quote how much money you’re spending; you have to show the results of that spending. I think it’s really unfortunate that we’re not actually able, probably, in this province to mandate some kind of time frame for mental health assessments because of the wait-list.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Any further comments on government motion 61? Seeing none, we’ll proceed to the vote. Those in favour of government motion 61? Those opposed? Government motion 61 carries.
“(2.1) Before issuing a directive, the minister shall, in accordance with the prescribed rules, give every service provider, lead agency and bargaining agent whose members are affected by the directive an opportunity to make submissions about the proposed directive.”
I think that when we have bargaining agents, when we have workers, when we have lead agencies and service providers, everybody should have the opportunity to make a submission and to talk about what they feel is in the best interests of moving forward.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that subsection 31(6) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding “by, at a minimum, posting and making it accessible on the ministry website” at the end.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: This amendment is not necessary. The ministry has already committed to making directives available to the public, which may include posting them on its website, and all website content must be available in an accessible format.
We could say that he must share with the public through any use of technology that is available, including websites, apps—anything that comes in the future. We could apply it that way, but I think that websites are around for a while. If, in 20 years or 30 years or 40 years, there are no more websites, I think we’ll be able to deal with that. I think it would be understood if we put “VHS” or something in a bill—I don’t think we’ve had to reopen any acts or bills because they had the word “eight-track” or “VHS” in them, to amend them. I think it’s pretty well understood by anybody in the legal profession that if that technology doesn’t exist anymore, then obviously you don’t have to comply and use it.
Miss Monique Taylor: I feel like the member opposite just asked me to, “Just trust me”—that the government is going to do the right thing and that the information is going to be available. We have a hard time with that, Chair, and that’s why this is in front of us, asking for clarity and ensuring that it is in legislation so that the government must do it.
“(2.1) Before issuing an order, the program supervisor shall, in accordance with the prescribed rules, give every service provider, lead agency and bargaining agent whose members are affected by the order an opportunity to make submissions about the proposed order.”
Miss Monique Taylor: I find it unfortunate that it says that the minister “may” make orders instead of “shall.” Time and time again, we’re hearing the government say, “Trust us; we’ll do the right thing.” It’s not about the government of the day; it’s about governments coming forward for years after and people having to interpret legislation. We need to ensure that there’s a safety net, and keep kids safe in our province. Using the word “may” isn’t going to cut it. I will be voting against this motion.
Mr. Jim McDonell: We have a government that always talks about being transparent and very open to the public, and we see a statement here where they “may” make orders available to the public. I don’t know why that shouldn’t be “shall.”
This is from the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, asking for clarity, so that people have the ability to see things posted. It’s transparency, accountability. It’s being out there in the public and making sure that the minister makes his orders in public.
Mr. Jim McDonell: For the same reason that I’m suggesting that it should be “shalls”—again, if the government wants to be open and transparent, they have to actually let the public know what’s going on. We have the advocate for child and youth services worried about the same issue, and I think we should take his advice and make that amendment.
“(6) No action or other proceeding shall be instituted against a society or a member, officer, employee or agent of a society for an act done in good faith in the execution or intended execution of a duty under this act, or for an alleged neglect or default in the execution in good faith of the duty.
“(7) Despite subsection 5(2) and (4) of the Proceedings Against the Crown Act, subsection (6) does not relieve the crown of liability in respect of a tort committed by a society or one of its members, officers, employees or agents to which it the crown would otherwise be subject.”
Mrs. Gila Martow: In the hearings, the witnesses from youth in care Canada and the provincial advocate as well as Patricia Burton all said that removing the liability of the ministry for any act or omission of a children’s aid society was unacceptable. So this does raise some concerns.
If I could just catch myself up here, Chair—I’m lost. “No action or other proceeding” was the problem, and we just wanted this one. This came from the advocate, once again, asking that this section be struck out.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just want to say that section 33 that the NDP is asking to have removed would mean less power in the hands of the minister. We certainly know why. There were a lot of people in different communities and agencies that feel that they would like to see less power, not more power.
There is a lot of concern, as well, from the children’s aid societies that they’re going to be forced to amalgamate. Basically, what the minister said in the Legislature, if I recall correctly, was that they’re not looking to amalgamate children’s aid societies but they want the power to do it. If they’re running a deficit, if they’re not balancing their budgets properly, then the ministry would want to amalgamate them.
Well, we’re raising the age of care to 18 and we’re not hearing from the government where the money is going to come from for that whole new cohort that’s going to move in, so you could see why the children’s aid societies are nervous, because they feel they’re being set up to not be able to balance their budgets, that they’re going to be given this huge, new mandate to fulfill without the funding to fulfill it. I think that they do care about doing a good job, a proper job, fulfilling their mandate, and some of them are quite terrified.
“(3) For the purpose of enabling a society to consistently provide the standard of services referred to in clause 2(a), the society shall ensure that its employees follow the prescribed caseload benchmarks.”
This is regarding the level of caseloads that our children’s aid workers are faced with. There is really no consistency across the province for how many cases that each individual is carrying. Staff are stretched beyond limits, and mistakes happen because of that, so we think it’s important that there are benchmarks and that we put a limit on how many cases can actually be undertaken by one person.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just wanted to add to that, to say that by bringing in this new data network, CPIN—I don’t know if anybody considered how much extra work this was going to be for the child care workers or the social workers. They’re not stenographers, and nobody seemed to have thought to make sure that the system was going to be able to allow for voice inputting, which it does not. It can’t be adapted; I asked. It seems like we got ourselves roped into something that cannot move with the times and with new technology, which is extremely unfortunate. Even video interviews with youth or children—all of this would be vastly superior to somebody taking notes.
We’re worried about overworked child care workers and their caseloads, and the member from the NDP is putting it forward, saying that we should have a limit on casework. Well, the crux of the matter is that if our child care workers are busy just doing data entry, they don’t have much time to work on the casework. It’s unfortunate. The whole problem is just going to get worse.
Mr. Jim McDonell: I just can’t let this go by without talking about how disappointed we are to see the time it has taken to put CPIN in. The reports show the importance of this program. It has taken forever to get it available. They’re talking about not having it fully instituted until after 2020. Obviously, it’s a workload problem or it’s just another IT program that this government has taken in that they’re afraid is not going to work, as we’ve seen so often in the past.
“(4) Every society shall ensure that employees of the society are required to be accompanied by another employee or a peace officer in situations that are dangerous or where the level of danger is not known.”
We have occupational health and safety standards in this province, and people with the right to refuse working conditions. The children’s aid workers aren’t refusing to do the job; they just want to feel that they are safe when they do the job. Sometimes they go into situations that are not kind and that can be very dangerous. I think it’s incumbent on the societies to ensure that they have the ability to take somebody with them if they feel they are in an unsafe situation. Like I said, it’s a health and safety issue, and I think we should be moving forward and ensuring that we’re keeping our workers safe.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I think we’re spending so much money on security at stadiums and airports, and in the meantime we’re leaving nurses and child care workers in very vulnerable situations. You can imagine what goes on when a child care worker shows up to investigate unannounced, or—“apprehend” was the old term; now it’s to remove the child from an unsafe situation and bring them to a safe place. Obviously, we need to start thinking of how we’re going to go about this, because we can’t keep allowing our nurses and child care workers to get assaulted.
I kind of believe, and I think my colleague does as well, that this would actually possibly reduce the number of calls to 911 involving first responders, because if you know that there’s a potential for a difficult situation, to bring an officer with you I think is preventive. I think it’s less likely for somebody to act out against a social worker or refuse to co-operate if they just see the officer. It’s a very powerful—they even show that if they put up a cardboard cut-out of a police officer on the road, people behave better. Imagine if they see an officer in uniform in the flesh. I think it might actually require less officers to be involved in the long run, is what I’m trying to say.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Further comments on government motion 72? All right; we’ll proceed, then, to the vote. Those in favour of government motion 72? Those opposed? Government motion 72 carries.
“(6) If there is a significant increase in demand for services provided by a society and the increase was not foreseen by the society or the minister at the time an accountability agreement was entered into, either party may request to renegotiate the accountability agreement in order to respond to the increase in demand.”
You know, Chair, this is really just about having some fluidity in the system to ensure that the dollars are there for an already underfunded system. We see CPIN and what that’s doing to our child welfare agencies and making the underfunding problem that much worse. We’re asking for fluidity in the funding arrangement to make sure that children’s aid societies can function and can keep up to the demand that they’re there for, and ensuring that kids are safe.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I love the word “fluidity.” The member from the NDP is absolutely right that we need fluidity in a lot of areas, including our education system. I believe that when the PCs were in government, there was a $450-million fund specifically for rural schools, if they needed it, because they recognized that the funding model on a per-student basis doesn’t necessarily work in rural communities. I think that’s why we’re seeing such a struggle to keep rural schools open, because that $450 million, apparently, was put to other uses.
We recognize that in the budget there should be a line with a significant amount of money for emergency funding for the same reason: that there can be emergencies due to weather or due to other catastrophic incidences that can occur. I think it behooves us as the government to ensure that there’s that rainy-day fund in all areas that are under our mandate.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Yes, I’m concerned because times are tough and we see demand for public services increasing at a great rate. When it comes to our children in need, I would hope that the children’s aid wouldn’t be handcuffed by funding issues. Surely this is something that is the first place emergency funding should go. I think we need to look at what we do when an area has an issue that requires immediate help. We see far too many in the First Nations areas—for example, the suicide rates. These are areas that need emergency help and they don’t have the time to wait for a year until the budget actually comes back with extra funding. I think it’s something that should be addressed immediately.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Also, Mrs. Martow, I inform you that, again, as it’s referring to the expansion to the Auditor General’s powers, motion 74 is out of order. Therefore there will be no further discussion on it.
“(1.1) Before issuing a directive under this section, the minister shall, in accordance with the prescribed rules, give every service provider, lead agency and bargaining agent whose members are affected by the directive an opportunity to make submissions about the proposed directive.”
Again, this goes back to people on the ground having an ability to have a say in directives that the government or the minister is bringing forward. I think it’s incumbent on a government who claims to be accountable and transparent to ensure that all people who are affected by this have a say to their changes.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that subsection 41(5) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding “by, at a minimum, posting and making it accessible on the ministry website” at the end.
This, once again, goes to accountability, transparency, and people having the ability to see things that are put out by the ministry. Again, a government that claims to be accountable and transparent should, at the very least, be posting things and making it accessible on websites.
Mrs. Gila Martow: Again, we want to see an increase in transparency and accountability, not just talk about it. I think that that’s what this would provide, by enforcing that the ministry actually would make a summary of each order available to the public. I hope that the government will be supporting more transparency and accountability.
Miss Monique Taylor: Once again, we see the same motion before us—yes, under a different section—but, once again, we have ministers who “may” make orders, instead of “shall” make orders. We think that changing that wording definitely strengthens this motion.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Further comments on government motion 77? If not, then we will proceed to the vote. Those in favour of government motion 77? Those opposed? Government motion 77 carries.
“(3) If the minister proposes to make an order under subsection (1), the minister shall give written notice of the proposed order and any directions contained in the order, and reasons for them, including the expected impact on service delivery, to each affected society.
“(3.1) Each society that receives a notice under subsection (3) shall immediately give a copy of the notice to affected employees and their bargaining agents and to other persons or entities whose contracts are affected by the order.
“(4) A society, a bargaining agent of the employees of a society, and other persons or entities in receipt of a notice under subsection (3) may make written submissions to the minister within 30 days after receipt of the notice or within a different time period specified in the notice. The written submissions may be with respect to any directions contained in the order, but not with respect to the order itself.
“(5) After considering a written submission from the society or a bargaining agent or, if no submission is received, after the time period under subsection (4) has expired, the minister may confirm, revoke or amend the directions contained in the order.
Once again, this is about accountability and transparency, and ensuring that all voices are heard, and that there is a time limit put on the expected time of the service delivery. I think it’s important that this be done. Workers across this province are asking that their voices be heard and that they are allowed to have the opportunity to give a submission.
Miss Monique Taylor: This does not go far enough. It says that they give notice, but they don’t have the opportunity to respond and to make written submissions. I think it’s the responsibility of the government to listen to the societies, to the bargaining agencies, to any other persons or entities. This is Big Brother saying, “This is what you’re being told to do, and you do not have the option to respond.” I think it’s unfortunate that this is the move that the government thinks is best.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I would ask that the government explain. I’m assuming that they’re removing copies because they feel one copy is sufficient to give to the children’s aid societies and that they expect them to copy on an as-needed basis, but I’m not positive if that’s what their intent is.
Miss Monique Taylor: I would also ask for clarification. If things are not going to be put on websites or they’re not going to be somewhere open for people see them—I’m curious as to what the government is doing here.
“(2) Every service provider and lead agency shall make a report and provide information, including personal information, to the minister respecting the overrepresentation of certain populations of children and young people at the prescribed intervals or whenever the minister requests it.”
We heard very clearly of the lack of data that’s available to the ministry to ensure that decisions are being made reflecting what is happening in our communities. We know that we have an overrepresentation of black youth and children and indigenous children in our children’s aid societies and our corrections facilities, but those numbers aren’t because of hard data that’s coming from those sectors, but by other means of gleaning information.
It’s incumbent on the government to ensure that data is being collected and that the information is being used properly to ensure that we don’t have overrepresentation of any specific group of children within our system. If there is, then there are stats and data to be able to reflect on why that’s happening and to make changes in the future.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: We do agree with the intent of the motion and thank the NDP for bringing it forward. However, as the wording in section 55 already provides authority for the minister to request information from service providers, including lead agencies, this motion is not necessary.
“(2) The minister shall make available to the public information and statistics respecting the overrepresentation of populations of children and young people in the prescribed manner and at the prescribed intervals.”
This, again, is regarding data and language being used that young people can understand and that is accessible to them. Obviously, the advocate felt that this isn’t currently happening and that it needs to be in legislation to ensure that it is accessible to youth.
Once again, I’m going to come back to the fact that this bill is supposed to be child-centred. This is supposed to give youth a voice to be heard. Without ensuring that plain language is used, it’s going to go in the face of what people have been asking for, of what the changes are supposed to reflect going forward in the future. It’s important that this information is there and that it’s being collected properly.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: We thank the NDP for tabling this motion and agree with the intent. However, existing wording in section 57 already provides authority for the minister to request that service providers, including lead agencies, make reports available to the public.
In addition, Ontario accessibility regulations already require public information to be written in a manner that’s understandable to the public. Section 57 also includes regulatory authority to prescribe further requirements, if required.
Miss Monique Taylor: I still do not believe that I heard the terminology “plain language,” so that it is understandable by youth. We see many things that are written—this legislation, for one of them—so that if youth were to pick up this legislation to try to figure out their rights, good luck. This is certainly not plain language, and I can’t say that it’s going to benefit the people who we serve in ensuring that they are able to understand the language that things are being put out with.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I would just add that we’re always hearing about increased transparency. That’s what this amendment is about: allowing youth and young adults in care to have the communication that they need in the type of language that they can understand. Information: That’s what transparency is about.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that clause (a) of the definition of “institution” in section 61 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “with the capacity of providing residential care” and substituting “in which residential care can be provided”.
“62(1) The minister shall establish residential placement advisory committees, each consisting of one representative of the ministry and of no less than three persons who are engaged in the provision of services or demonstrate an informed concern for the welfare of children and whom the minister considers appropriate, including, if the minister wishes, a representative of a band or First Nations, Inuit or Métis community, and shall specify the territorial jurisdiction of each advisory committee.”
Mrs. Gila Martow: This is obviously very similar to government amendment number 84, which was just passed, except this one, I think, is clearer and stronger, and basically focuses on the makeup of advisory committees, which is very important.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just want to say that I support this amendment in theory but I’m just a little concerned about having an actual date in there. I think that the government comes up with something similar without a date, somewhere.
Mr. Jim McDonell: Well, I think we’re seeing in other authorities that there are many reports we’re not getting, and I think that putting a date in is not such a bad idea because at least you can call them on it and provide some objective. Right now, there are too many committees and too many agencies that are not providing yearly updates as required by law.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that subsection 62(4) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “whenever the minister requests it” and substituting “annually and at any other time requested by the minister”.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that clause 63(1)(b) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out the portion before subclause (i) and substituting the following:
“(b) every residential placement of a child who objects to the residential placement or otherwise requests a review of the residential placement and who resides within the advisory committee’s jurisdiction,”
Mrs. Gila Martow: I’ve said it before, that in some areas it’s reasonable to take away the age barrier and that children younger than 12 are quite willing and able and capable of being aware of what’s going on or giving their opinion. In some areas, maybe, it is not as appropriate, but I think in this case it is appropriate. But I believe the government puts forward an amendment following this one that’s very similar, so I would suggest that we don’t waste too much time on it.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that clause 63(1)(b) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “12 or older” in the portion before subclause (i).
“(3) An advisory committee shall conduct a review under this section in an informal manner and in the absence of the public, and in the course of the review shall have one or more of its members interview the child, solicit their views and wishes and attend at the residential placement.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just want to say that this is basically following what’s in the preamble, so it’s not something that we had to hear from in the hearings or the consultations. It was in the preamble that this was going to be in the bill, so why was it left out? Unfortunate, but we’ll vote on it and put it in.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that that paragraph 4 of subsection 64(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that subsection 64(2) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “if the child is 12 or older” at the end.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that subsection 65(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “is 12 or older and” in the portion before clause (a).
Mr. Jim McDonell: I just want to get on the record that this bill is finally dealing with students who are 16 and 17 years old. There have been a number of private members’ bills. I know I had one a year ago that passed, but of course failed because of prorogation. I know the previous member Rod Jackson also had a bill much before that, which I believe passed as well. I think there was another one that has been tabled.
“65.1(1) The minister shall appoint individuals to act as family navigators who shall assist the extended family of children receiving services under this act, in a manner that promotes the paramount purpose and additional purposes of this act as set out in section 1, by,
“(a) assisting members of the child’s extended family in understanding a service provider’s policies and procedures and any complaints procedure or right of review available to the individual under this act;
“(b) referring members of the child’s extended family to other individuals, services or organizations that may be able to assist them with respect to services under this act, including to obtain legal advice or representation; and
“(2) The minister shall not appoint an individual to act as a family navigator if the individual has a personal or pecuniary interest in connection with a service provider or a lead agency that would interfere with the individual’s ability to perform the responsibilities set out in subsection (1).”
This is something that is necessary for families, to be able to navigate a system that is very cumbersome. We’ve heard from many families who are devastated and in distress. They’re constantly calling for help. Legal advice is very expensive and, quite frankly, a lot of these families who are entering these systems just don’t have those extra dollars.
A family navigator is someone who can assist somebody with proper procedures and policies, and give some advice and put them in the right places; for example, how to go to the child and family services board—but you can’t do that before you go to the community board, and the child advocate has some responsibilities. All of it is so much when a family is in distress. Giving them someone who can walk them through the system and just be there for them is really important, and it was something that we heard very clearly through the deputations.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that clause 68(b) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “the entities” and substituting “the persons or entities”.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that section 71 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out the portion before clause (a) and substituting the following:
“71. A society, person or entity that provides services or exercises powers under this act with respect to First Nations, Inuit or Métis children or young persons shall regularly consult with their bands and First Nations, Inuit or Métis communities about the provision of the services or the exercise of the powers and about matters affecting the children or young persons, including,”
Mrs. Gila Martow: We’re getting into a part of the bill where we’re going to start correcting a lot of terminology that the youth and the youth who aged out of care said they didn’t want to see in the bill, the government was told, but it ended up being in there anyhow. I think they’ve been saying for a long time that they don’t want to see words like “apprehend,” “apprehended,” “apprehension,” “apprehending”—
Mrs. Gila Martow: —“custody”—because they’re not taken into care because they’re being charged with a crime or investigated for a crime; they’re being taken into care because they’re being taken from an unsafe environment into what is supposed to be a safer and more fulfilling environment. It’s unfortunate that we’re going to have to spend a bit of time on this but, of course, I think all of us here in the room support updating this unfortunate terminology.
“72. A society, person or entity that proposes to provide a prescribed service to a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child or young person, or to exercise a prescribed power under this act in relation to such a child or young person, shall consult with a representative chosen by each of the child’s or young person’s bands and First Nations, Inuit or Métis communities in accordance with the regulations.”
Mrs. Gila Martow: This is also starting to reflect the fact that one of the main purposes of the bill is to raise the age of care, optionally, to 16- and 17-year-olds, who obviously don’t consider themselves children—I don’t think most of us consider them, exactly, as children. You would think that somewhere down the line, whether it’s in the ministry or somebody elected to office, someone would notice that it’s saying “child” and should say “young person” or “youth” or things like that. We are going to have to, all of us, agree to support all of those amendments quickly, without discussion. I admit it, but it’s unfortunate, again.
Miss Monique Taylor: I move that the definition of “child protection worker” in subsection 73(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “and for other prescribed purposes”.
Basically, this amendment to the bill is to address the Child Pornography Reporting Act, 2008, Bill 37. Our concern is the omission of the proposed amendments in the original act related to child pornography, which is summarized in the Child Pornography Reporting Act. The definition of child pornography, its inclusion in the criteria for a child in need of protection, duty to report and penalties associated with failure to report are of paramount importance to protect Ontario’s children and youth. Excluding these very important changes is a step backward for the protection of children and youth.
This is especially concerning given that child pornography-related offences have increased over the past five years. I think we all agree that any type of sexual exploitation of a child should not be tolerated and that we should do everything we can as legislators to protect the most vulnerable children and youth from abuse. I’m sure that we all agree that sexual exploitation by child pornography should be included in the criteria for determining whether a child is in need of protection, and to be clear.
Do you know what? Part of legislation is not just to have laws so that we can punish people or enforce the laws, but it’s also to send a message and to remind child and youth workers and the public it would be nice if, instead of—as the member from the NDP said, “Nobody wants to read this bill unless they’re forced to.” If there was some kind of summary of the mandate of the bill reminding child care workers to feel comfortable to ask a child, “Has somebody been taking”—they know that the child is being bathed. “Are any of the workers taking pictures of you, or are the other youth in care taking pictures of you, when you’re being bathed?”
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: It’s absolutely clear that the safety of children is critical and a priority for this government. That’s why the Child, Youth and Family Services Act already covers the harms associated with child pornography through existing grounds for protection.
That said, I do want to thank the member for bringing attention to the issue. But the grounds for protection in the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016 is already protected—it protects children contemplated under the Child Pornography Reporting Act.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I’ll just say very quickly that there might be laws and they might be protected and if somebody reports, then investigators can show up or charges can be laid, but we need to do more as a society to empower especially the kids in care to recognize when they’re in danger, because they might not recognize it themselves.
It’s just to provide the interpretation of a child in need of protection and our corresponding duty to report other types of abuse. Physical harm and sexual abuse, for example, are simplistically stated as conditions where a child is in need of protection. However, as we heard from witnesses like Boost, “When it comes to emotional harm, it is the only type of reportable abuse where a list of symptoms serves as a qualifying pre-condition to reporting and protection.”
Also, the list of symptoms—for example, anxiety, depression, aggression etc.—is limited and can be misleading. “This view of emotional harm is not trauma-informed, and does not take into account the many other ways that children and youth can be impacted” by this type of abuse. “Trauma symptoms may not always be clearly observable, particularly when a person is not trained to identify the indicators through a developmental lens. There is a wide array of possible impacts that can manifest at differing developmental stages in a child.” Relying on the highly subjective opinion of someone who’s likely not clinically trained can be unrealistic and unethical.
“In addition to this unhelpful set of qualifying indicators is the requirement that these demonstrated behaviours be serious. Given that the word ‘serious’ is not defined, it leaves it open to subjective interpretation.
“Additionally, a child or youth who does not currently exhibit symptoms may still be impacted by the emotional harm. The presentation of symptoms may be delayed, especially if the child’s expression of symptoms may put them at greater risk of further harm by the caregiver. In these situations, children cope with their inescapable and intolerable environments by adapting in very complex ways.” For example, a child might present as highly compliant or engage in perfectionism as a way to prevent further harm.
This amendment follows the suggestion from Boost to remove this rating. I would just remind everybody here of how many youth in care end up in our criminal justice system or end up abusing drugs. I think that a lot of times, we’re looking for bruises and physical harm. The emotional harm, we know, can be a little bit harder to find and actually far more devastating in many instances.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: The concern around this particular amendment is how broad it is. It’s important here that we put some parameters around the definition so that child protection workers, the professionals who work with children, even those who might be using this bill within the justice system, have something to work with. Emotional harm can be incredibly difficult to recognize, so we want to ensure that we’re giving a definition that is workable.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I move that clause 73(2)(g) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “subclause (f)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v)” and substituting “clause (f)”.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I move that clause 73(2)(h) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “subclause (f)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v)” and substituting “clause (f)”.
Mrs. Gila Martow: Sorry to be a bit repetitive, but—I move that clause 73(2)(i) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “subclause (f)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v)” and substituting “clause (f)”.
Basically, this amendment is to address the exposure to domestic family violence. It makes it clear that it must be reported so that children and families receive assistance where needed. There are many jurisdictions in Canada that specify exposure to family violence, domestic violence or severe domestic disharmony as a factor of physical or emotional harm. While exposure to family violence should be reported to a child protection agency in Ontario, it is not specifically identified in Bill 89 as a factor for a child in need of protection, but rather an interpretation of the duty to report.
Unless training is provided, most people in Ontario do not realize that family violence should be reported. The Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect–2013 reported that 49% of substantiated child maltreatment investigations included exposure to family violence.
I think the point is that the child might just be a witness to family violence. It could be that the violence is directed at a sibling or one parent to another parent or something like that, but to recognize it even if the child isn’t experiencing direct physical or emotional trauma, that just witnessing the physical or emotional trauma of a family member or somebody in the household takes its toll.
“(n) the child’s parent is unable to care for the child and the child is brought before the court with the parent’s consent and, if the child is capable, with the child’s consent, to be dealt with under this part; or
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that clause 73(2)(n) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “to be dealt with under this part” at the end and substituting “for the matter to be dealt with under this part”.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): That was well read, Ms. Kiwala. Any further comments on government motion 112? Any further comments? Seeing none, we’ll proceed to the vote. Those in favour of government motion 112? Those opposed? Government motion 112 carries.
“(2.2) Despite the definition of ‘child’ in subsection 2(1), a child that is 16 or older shall not be considered a child in need of protection for the purposes of clauses (2)(a) to (k) unless the child has consented to be dealt with under this part.
“(b) in the case of a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child, consider the importance, in recognition of the uniqueness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures, heritages and traditions, of preserving the child’s cultural identity and connection to community, in addition to the considerations under clauses (a) and (c); and
“(viii) the merits of a plan for the child’s care proposed by a society, including a proposal that the child be placed for adoption or adopted, compared with the merits of the child remaining with or returning to a parent,
Miss Monique Taylor: I think it’s unfortunate that they missed adding “religion” with “creed” in this section, because we know that it just lights a fire under some families. I don’t know if you can make friendly amendments to these kinds of motions, but that would be one.
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Any further comments on government motion 114? Seeing none, we’ll proceed to the vote. Those in favour of government motion 114? Those opposed? Government motion 114 carries.
“(b) a society or, in the case of a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child, a society or a child and family service authority, has conducted an assessment of the person’s home in accordance with the prescribed procedures and is satisfied that the person is willing and able to provide a safe home environment for the child.”
Mrs. Gila Martow: I’m just wondering if the government could explain what the difference is between this and the original. I didn’t find anything when I looked at it, but maybe I was tired from all of these amendments.
Mrs. Gila Martow: If the government can’t explain what the difference is, perhaps their legal counsel can tell me what the difference is. We struck out one section and we put in a new section, and I didn’t quite catch what the difference was.
Mrs. Gila Martow: So it didn’t have “family service authority” in the original? I thought it did. I don’t see a difference in the wording. Maybe there was supposed to be a difference and it didn’t get put in.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I think we should proceed to vote on the material that is here within motion 115. It’s an amendment that clarifies that either a society or a child and family service authority can conduct the assessment.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I don’t see a difference. The government is not able to tell me what the difference is, so could legal counsel please tell us what the difference is between this paragraph and the original bill?
The clarification is to specify that, in the case of a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child, either a children’s aid society or a child and family service authority may conduct the place-of-safety assessment.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that subsection 75(3) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “or” at the end of clause (a), by adding “or” at the end of clause (b) and by adding the following clause:
Mrs. Gila Martow: This is a new addition, is my understanding, to reflect the true consent of 16- and 17-year-olds to put themselves in care. They have to give written consent, and I just feel that we’re quite behind the times since we’re doing this whole electronic data collection system.
I don’t want it to be that a social worker found somebody in an unsafe position, possibly in human trafficking, and they didn’t have the right form for them to sign or they didn’t have a pen, and so they said, “Well, we’ll come back tomorrow.” Well, by then they’ve been moved to another jurisdiction and they’re not around anymore.
We all have smartphones and phones of all kinds, and it sure would be nice if they could just videotape. I think that would be stronger—a videotape of the child actually saying that they want to go into care. With a signature, they could say, “I didn’t sign that,” or, “That wasn’t me.” It’s very unfortunate that CPIN does not allow for the uploading of some kind of videos, and that we’re just not looking at what the technology is now, let alone what the technology is going to be in the future.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that subsection 75(4) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “or” at the end of clause (a), by adding “or” at the end of clause (b) and by adding the following clause:
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that subsection 76(6) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “may not be made” and substituting “may not come into force”.
“(5) The court shall order that a child, who is the subject of a proceeding under this part and younger than 12, receive notice of the proceeding and permit the child to be present at the hearing unless the court is of the opinion that the child,
This wording was a recommendation of the advocate. They are entitled, unless they’re shown that they shouldn’t be—unless it goes to the opposite default; right? This is just protection for youth, saying that they will be entitled, instead of not be entitled.
Mrs. Gila Martow: I think that she actually tried to explain that quite well, because what I wrote is: “A child younger than 12 who is involved in the procedure will receive”—instead of “not receive”—“if they are capable of understanding and will not suffer emotional harm by being present.” The government had it written the complete reverse. This reverses and puts a better focus. The outcome is kind of similar, but this puts the focus, I think, where the focus needs to be.
“(b) cannot remain in or be returned to the care and custody of the person who had charge of the child immediately before intervention under this part or, where there is an order for the child’s custody that is enforceable in Ontario, of the person entitled to custody under the order; and”
Mrs. Gila Martow: I just want to comment that this is only dealing with pursuing a plan of care for indigenous communities and that the children’s aid societies should make reasonable efforts to pursue a plan if the child needs and “where there is an order for the child’s custody that is enforceable in Ontario.” This is new and allows a child custody order to trump whatever the children’s aid society decides. The complex world is—that’s what concerns me. Jordan’s Principle was that we had two ministries battling it out and a kid gets caught in the middle. I wouldn’t want to see—a special focus on indigenous communities and respecting their culture versus children’s aid societies; I know we’re trying to have their own children’s aid societies and then court orders mixed in with that.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that the English version of subsection 80(2) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding the following clause:
Mrs. Gila Martow: This is just to reaffirm that 16- and 17-year-olds who go into care do so on a voluntary basis. Everybody, I think, was on that page before this bill was even being written, so I don’t know why it got missed and that we had to make that clear that for children under 16, it’s not voluntary, and over 16 it is voluntary.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that the French version of subsection 80(2) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
« (2) Un juge de paix peut décerner un mandat autorisant un préposé à la protection de l’enfance à amener un enfant dans un lieu sûr s’il est convaincu, à la suite d’une dénonciation faite sous serment par un préposé à la protection de l’enfance, qu’il existe des motifs raisonnables et probables de croire ce qui suit:
Le Président (M. Shafiq Qaadri): Merci beaucoup, madame Kiwala, pour vos efforts vaillants, mais s’il vous plaît, il faut relire la dernière phrase, (2)(b). Encore une fois, s’il vous plaît. You need to repeat the last line.
Mrs. Gila Martow: Part of this is the same as government amendment 121, so I’m not really sure why it’s repeating itself. Then part of it’s in French. I’m not really sure why. Normally, if an amendment goes through in English, then it’s the same in French. Why is there this specific—
Ms. Catherine Oh: I can explain. Slightly different changes were required to the French version, just because the French version used to say something like “on the one hand” and “on the other hand,” so further changes were needed to that. It was just decided to do it in separate motions to make it clearer.
“(a) a child is in need of protection, the matter has been reported to the society, the society has not made an application under subsection (1), and no child protection worker has sought a warrant under subsection (2) or brought the child to a place of safety under subsection (7); and”
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that the English version of subsection 80(7) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out “and” at the end of clause (a) and by adding the following clause:
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that the French version of subsection 80(7) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
« b) la santé ou la sécurité de l’enfant risquerait vraisemblablement »—désolée—« d’être compromise pendant le laps de temps nécessaire à l’obtention d’une audience en vertu du paragraphe 87(1) ou du mandat prévu au paragraphe (2). »
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that clause 81(1)(a) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out the portion before subclause (i) and substituting the following:
Mrs. Gila Martow: I’m going to say something, since the government doesn’t seem to respond to our questions. I think it’s if a child and youth worker sees a girl who might be trafficked. If she’s in makeup, she’s in heels, at first glance she might appear to be older than 16, but somebody who’s trained could tell that she’s far younger than 16, possibly 14 or 15, and then would want to investigate a little bit further. You don’t always know. They don’t have it stamped on their forehead how old they are, but they can be—you know.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that clause 81(4)(a) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by striking out the portion before subclause (i) and substituting the following:
“(1) A peace officer who believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a child actually or apparently younger than 12 has committed an act in respect of which a person 12 or older could be found guilty of an offence may bring the child to a place of safety without a warrant and on doing so,
“(b) where it is not possible to return the child to the parent or other person within a reasonable time, shall bring the child to a place of safety until the child can be returned to the parent or other person.”
“(3) Where a child brought to a place of safety under subsection (1) cannot be returned to the child’s parent or other person having charge of the child within 12 hours of being brought to the place of safety, the child is deemed to have been brought to a place of safety under subsection 80(7) and not under subsection (1).”
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that subsections 83(1), (2), (3), (4) and (7) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:
“(1) A justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorizing a peace officer or child protection worker to bring a child to a place of safety if the justice of the peace is satisfied on the basis of the sworn information of a person that,
“(2) A person acting under a warrant issued under subsection (1) shall return the child to the person with care and control of the child as soon as practicable and where it is not possible to return the child to that person within a reasonable time, bring the child to a place of safety.
“(3) The person in charge of a place of safety to which a child is brought under subsection (2) shall make reasonable efforts to notify the person with care and control of the child that the child is in the place of safety so that the child may be returned to that person.
“(4) Where a child brought to a place of safety under subsection (2) cannot be returned to the person with care and control of the child within 12 hours of being brought to the place of safety, the child is deemed to have been brought to a place of safety under subsection 80(2) and not under subsection (1).
“(7) Where a peace officer or child protection worker believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a child brought to a place of safety under this section is in need of protection and there may be a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child if the child were returned to the person with care and control of the child,
The Chair (Mr. Shafiq Qaadri): Comments on government motion 131? There being none, we will proceed to the vote. Those in favour of government motion 131? Those opposed? Government motion 131 carries.
“(5) Where subsection 82(3) or 83(4) applies to a child brought to a place of safety, a child protection worker may authorize the child’s medical examination where a parent’s consent would be otherwise required.”
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that section 86 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding “subclause 81(1)(a)(ii)” after “section 80” in the portion before clause (a).
Mrs. Gila Martow: My understanding is that this allows for increased flexibility for the new cohort of 16- and 17-year-olds who choose to come into care. The big announcements from the minister and from the ministry that they were having meetings on the weekends and consulting with the youth who had been in care and had aged out and all their recommendations—this is the crux of what we were supposed to be seeing in the original bill. I’m just putting that on the record.
Ms. Sophie Kiwala: I move that section 91 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act—I haven’t said that in a while—2016, as set out in schedule 1 to the bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:
“(11) Before making an order under subsection (2), the court shall take into consideration the child’s views and wishes, given due weight in accordance with the child’s age and maturity, unless they cannot be ascertained.”