Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Recording CAS Meetings

Note: I (or anyone) need to make a Freedom of information request to the Ministry (Regional Office) specifically asking for the local Children's Aid Society's (or any Society) approved written Section 68 Complaint Procedure.

I have requested a copy of the Ottawa CAS Policy and Procedures Manual from the Ministry. In return I received a letter stating that the CAS's do not in fact submit their entire Policy and Procedures Manual for approval to the Ministry. They do however have to submit sertain sections of the Act to the Ministry for approval which I will look into and report.

I have talked to Susan Rudnick, Senior Policy Analyst of the Ministry for this information as well as Nancy French, and await the answer.

I have also been communicating with the Ottawa Police regarding the recording of meetings and CAS staff intimidating people from recording them.

From : John Dunn
Reply-To : afterfostercare@yahoogroups.com
Sent : August 11, 2005 1:47:20 PM
To : SkinnerJ@ottawapolice.ca
Subject : AfterFosterCareGroup RE: Info Inquiry

Jill Skinner
Staff Sergeant Sex Assaults & Child Abuse
Ottawa Police

Your email is included for reference:

>From: "Skinner, Jill"
>To: "'afterfostercare@hotmail.com'"
>CC: "Ackland, Monique"
>Subject: Info Inquiry
>Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 09:06:40 -0400
>Mr Dunn
> I am the Staff Sergeant in charge of Sexual Assaults and Child Abuse
>and have been asked to respond to your inquiry. I believe you called me a
>few weeks ago with similar questions, to which I responded.
> In response to your most recent questions:
> In interpreting the Criminal Code one must read an entire section,
>Section 423-Intimidation-continues after your excerpt to say that violence
>or threats of violence, are also facts in issue which must be proven,
>therefore the section does not apply to your situation.
> As I indicated in my telephone conversation with you, your recourse
>is through the Ministry, if you have not received a satisfactory response
>from personnel at the Ottawa CAS.
> Finally, you are correct in stating that Section 184 allows you to
>record a conversation where you are one of the parties involved.
>Jill Skinner
>Staff Sergeant Sex Assaults & Child Abuse
>Extension 5416
>"A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely
>uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble."
>Mohandas Karamchand "Mahatma" Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

To start, I wanted to thank you for your prompt reply and to let you know
that yes I was the person who previously asked a question regarding child
protection practices a few weeks ago, unrelated to this issue, to which you

I would like to thank you for clarifying the fact that it is legal to record
your own meeting and would also like to clarify a step further the issue of
intimidation so as to not embarass you or myself upon publication of this
article should it be inaccurate.

The article will be distributed to the media, the Ontario Ombudsman's Office
and to members of Provincial Parliament, the Law Society of Upper Canada,
certain lawyers, members of the Ministers office, the Child Advocates office
and Faculties of Social Work and Social Service Work across the province.

I understand from what you wrote regarding the matter of intimidation, that
you have said a person must in fact perform each and every act described in
a subsection in order for them to be considered committing a criminal act
even if the word "OR" is used in listing those acts.

For instance, Section 423 (b) mentions that a person is guilty of an
indictable offence or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary
conviction who;

(exact quote starts here)
(b) intimidates or attempts to intimidate that person or a relative of that
person by threats that, in Canada or elsewhere, violence or other injury
will be done to or punishment inflicted on him or her or a relative of his
or hers, or that the property of any of them will be damaged;
(exact quote ends here)

When I read it, I see the word "OR" used in the text which I assume means
that the person must perform any one of the acts listed in the subsection
and that any one of those acts stand on their own as a criminal act.

Would I be correct in understanding what you said is that it is not a
criminal act for a person to intimidate a person from recording a private
meeting of which they are a consenting party to (lawful act) by threatening
to punish them through cancelling a complaint meeting (the punishment) to
which they have a right to commence, as prescribed under the provincial
Child and Family Services Act.

I say this because subsection (b) says "or punishment inflicted on him or
her or a relative of his or hers". The punishment in this case being the
cancellation of a meeting to which they have a legal right to commence
whether recording it or not.

Thank you for your patience and effort on this article.

John Dunn
The Foster Care Council of Canada

Ontario Advisory Committee on Child and Youth Services