Sunday, December 23, 2007

Windsor A-Channel Contravenes CFSA

Attention A-Channel News Windsor et al,

It has been brought to the attention of the Enforcement Branch of the Foster Care Council of Canada that A-Channel News Windsor has contravened section 45 (8) of the Child and Family Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C-11, (the Act) which prohibits any person or corporation from publishing or making public information that has the effect of identifying a child who is the subject of a Child and Family Services Act proceeding, or the child's foster parent.

In an A-Channel News Windsor news story dated December 19, 2007 titled "Order Of Ontario Recipients Named, Leamington couple fostered 65 children" located on the Internet at the following URL ( http://www.achannel.ca/windsor/news_51652.aspx ) a video clearly identifies by name and by visual medium the foster parents of a child who is the subject of a Child and Family Services Act proceeding, and which also clearly identifies the name and visual identity of a child who has recently been placed by the Society in the home of the afore mentioned foster parents.


The publication of this video is clearly a contravention of section 45 (8) of the Act. A person who contravenes section 45 (8) of the Act or a Director, officer or employee of a corporation who authorizes, permits or concurs in such a contravention by the corporation, is guilty of an Offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of up to $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than three years, or to both.

I strongly suggest to A-Channel News Windsor that this story be removed from your website and that any further references or coverage of this story be done in a way that does not visually or in any other way identify these foster parents or any of the children under their care who have been subjects of a proceeding under the Act.


The relevant provisions of the Act are included as follows:

45.—(8) No person shall publish or make public information that has the effect of identifying a child who is a witness at or a participant in a hearing or the subject of a proceeding, or the child's parent or foster parent or a member of the child's family.

85.—(3) A person who contravenes subsection 45(8) (publication of identifying information) or an order prohibiting publication made under clause 45(7)(c) or subsection 45(9), and a director, officer or employee of a corporation who authorizes, permits or concurs in such a contravention by the corporation, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than three years, or to both.



John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada
12-1160 Meadowlands Drive East
Ottawa, ON
K2E 6J2



Phone: (613) 228-2178
E-mail: legal@afterfostercare.ca

Saturday, December 22, 2007

News Paper - Chatham-Kent CAS & Complaint Procedure

Children's Aid website to have complaint info; Lack of details criticized by Foster Care director

Posted By ERICA BAJER

Posted 3 days ago

Chatham-Kent Children's Services is changing its website and the new one will include complete information about the complaint process.

Chief executive officer Mike Stephens said while the former website contained information about filing a complaint, there is an additional method that was enacted in 2006 that is not on the website.

The local children's aid society was recently criticized by John Dunn, the executive director of the Foster Care Council of Canada, about the lack of complete complaint information on its website.

"This is something that needs to be addressed immediately to meet the needs of children and youth in care from being harmed either physically, sexually or emotionally," Dunn said in an e-mail to the CKCS, which was forwarded to The Chatham Daily News.

Stephens said the agency responded to Dunn's concerns and explained that the agency is re-vamping its online presence. The website is currently under construction.

"There is no legal obligation for us to have it on our website," Stephens said.

He noted the information is given freely to people dealing with CKCS.

"All of our clients who would be in a position to make a complaint get a hard copy of our complaint process," he said.

Stephens said the information that was not on the website deals with taking a complaint to the Child and Family Service Review Board, an option clients are told about if a complaint is made.

He said CKCS gets a handful of complaints a year.

"Most complaints get resolved in the first phone call," he said.

Dunn, who works out of Ottawa as an advocate for children in care, said he noticed the full complaint information was missing while checking the website for membership details.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Private Prosecutions - Issue on Court Form 106 - Affidavit of Summons

The following is a letter submitted through the web site of Ontario's Attorney General advocating for changes to the back of Summons Form 106.

While pursuing a private prosecution as a citizen of Ontario, under the Provincial Offences Act in Ottawa, I went through the normal procedures of swearing an information then receiving a summons (form 106).

Then I noticed a problem on the back of the Form 106 Summons which is where a person swears that they did in fact serve the summons to the corporation they charged with a provincial offence.

On that form it does not allow a person (Private Prosecutor) who is not a provincial offences officer to swear that they delivered the summons to the defendant.

The back of the form has a blank space for you to write your name but it states "I, a Provincial Offences Officer". If I were to sign this form, I would be swearing false information.

I would like to know if this form could be changed in the future or if there is a body of persons who specifically deal with the design of this and other forms for court use that I could contact to discuss the matter and advocate for this change.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Smoking in Cars

I contacted the RCMP in Wolfville Nova Scotia today to ask if they have any protocol in place to contact a local child welfare authority when an individual is ticketed for smoking with a minor in the car. (person 18 or under in the by-law)

The Officer stated that they do not contact child and family services for these Offences. However, the Province of Nova Scotia and other provinces including Ontario are possibly going to pass provincial legislation regarding smoking in vehicles with children in them and this may become a child protection concern at that time.

We will keep monitoring this situation and update when we can.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chatham-Kent Children's Services Update

Letter to Chatham-Kent Children's Services

Chatham-Kent
Children's Services

Attention: Executive Director and Board of Directors

I contacted the Society previously to inquire as to why the Society has not updated it's web site regarding the new statutory complaint procedure as it was assented to in the Legislature on March 28, 2006 only to be informed that the website company and the Society are on a contract which only allows the company to update the site.

This is something which needs to be addressed immediately to meet the needs of children and youth in care today who may be at risk of physical or emotional harm while in care.

The Society has incredible powers and resources available to them to prevent children and youth in their care from being harmed either physically, sexually or emotionally.

I do not see how the Society can sit back for almost two years and not ensure that this important information is not updated on their website in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the children and youth in their care is ensured.

I am cc'ing the Chatham Daily News on this communication in the hope that action will soon be taken to ensure that the kids in care have access to the latest statutory complaint procedure via their legal guardian's web site.

Sincerely,

John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada
http://www.afterfostercare.ca

This is an update to the following original posting:

Foster Care News: Chatham CAS - Web Site Updates

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Court Thursday Outcome

Adjurned to Thursday, January 24, 2008
Why: Defence Counsel was unclear of date the charge was laid - they requested the Crown Attorney to step in and meet with all parties to determine dates (This Crown meeting will be on January 16, 2008)

The Story:

Today I went into court expecting to hear a plead from the Society. However, in the back of my mind, I knew something was probably going to surface. What did happen however surprised me. An expectation I had several months ago began to transpire.

I arrived at the court and was contacted by the Provincial Prosecutor at the Court house who informed me that Counsel for the defendants (their Exec. Dir) was concerned that I had not filed the information (the charge) within the legal six months from the time the Offence was committed.

I was, at first taken-aback but soon realized that I had already covered this issue from the beginning by ensuring that the charge was laid within legal limit of six months from the date the actual Offence was committed.

The request was filed with the Society on February 05, 2007. They had ten days to comply with the request before they would be in a position of having commited the Offence of contravening section 307 (5) of the Corporations Act. (Failing to provide the list of members of the Society as required by section 307 (1))

This means that they had to provide the list any time up to and including Thursday, February 15th, 2007 or, in other words prior to Friday, February 16th, 2007 in order to prevent themselves from committing the Offence.

Instead they intentionally retained a lawyer in order to assist them in committing the Offence by having Counsel write a letter to me dated February 14th, 2007 stating that they will not provide the list to me. (therefore demonstrating that they were going to commit the Offence). This letter was written just two days short of the date the Offence would officially have been deemed to have been commited. (Feb. 16th, 2007)

In this letter, three assumptions were made as "reasons" for not furnishing the list to me stating that I was not going to use the list for legal purposes and that they could not provide the list to me due to provisions of the Federal Privacy legislation (PIPEDA) which actually does only applies to commercial businesses or undertakings not exclusively legislated, non-profit organizations -- which is what the Society is.

I have since obtained a letter from the Federal Privacy Commission stating that the Act does not apply to the Society.

So anyhow, this is a strict liability Offence which only affords them the defences of Due Dilligence and Mistake of Fact. Neither of which apply in this case. Therefore there is a reasonable prospect of conviction and a public interest in this prosecution since the lives of children in foster care in Ontario are affected by decisions made by the Society and they are blocking the membership from being informed of important issues of interest to the members which will only be brought to their attention via concerned members of the community who have attempted to become a member but who have had their membership applications denied by the Board due to what can only be assumed to be political reasons.

Please contact me at 613-228-2178 for more information:

Relevant Legislation:



Cases which can be reviewed and which won on appeal are located at

First Related Case Law -- Unsuccessful on Trial but was successful on appeal
====================================================
Unsuccessful Trial
Lawrence v. Toronto Humane Society, 2005 CanLII 25634 (ON S.C.)
http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2005/2005canlii25634/2005canlii25634.html

Winning Appeal of same case
Lawrence v. Toronto Humane Society, 2006 CanLII 20224 (ON C.A.)
http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/doc/2006/2006canlii20224/2006canlii20224.html

Disposition of appeal case:

[106] Accordingly, I would allow the appeal, set aside paragraphs one and two of the application judge’s judgment and substitute in their stead an order that Lawrence is entitled to receive a copy of the Society’s membership list as at September 30, 2004, in the form set out in s. 307(1) of the Act, within ten days from the date of this decision.

[107] Lawrence is entitled to his costs of the application, in the amount of $18,000 as fixed by the application judge, if sought. He is also entitled to his costs of this appeal on a partial indemnity basis, fixed in the total amount of $8,500, also if sought.
RELEASED: “JMS” June 16, 2006

“E.A. Cronk J.A.”

“I agree. J.M. Simmons J.A.”

“I agree. P.S. Rouleau J.A
====================================================

Next Relevant Case Law

====================================================
Rodgers v. Calvert, 2004 CanLII 22082 (ON S.C.)
http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2004/2004canlii22082/2004canlii22082.html

Disposition:
[57] An order shall go directing the Association through its proper officers to produce and deliver forthwith to the applicant a list of the members of the Association in accordance with the provisions of s.307 of the Act.

Costs

[58] The motion raises a novel point of law. Both parties through their counsel have attempted to address the issues and have done so in a thorough manner. In the circumstances, I am of the view that each party should bear his/their own costs.
====================================================

Monday, November 19, 2007

Court Thursday - Setting a Trial Date

Thursday, October 04, 2007, Society's counsel, through a student-at-law moved for an adjournment to November 22nd, at 1:30pm due to Counsel's back surgery.

Issueance of summons is no longer at issue, since they have already appeared before the court.

Next Court Date & Location:
Thursday November 22nd, 2007, @ 1:30pm, in court room 102 at 100 Constellation Cres. in Ottawa, Ontario

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Chatham CAS - Web Site Updates

The Chatham-Kent Children's Services (a Children's Aid Society) does not have its website updated to reflect the latest changes to the Child and Family Services Act. Upon speaking with a representative of the Society, the Foster Care Council of Canada learned that the Society is attempting to obtain control or ownership over the web site in order to make their own changes to it as required.

Regarding this matter, the Council has taken the initiative to inform the Society's website creator of the fact that kids in care are at risk without the latest information in the hopes of getting some action.

Hughes Advertising
c/o 2001008 Ontario Inc.
202-111 Heritage Rd.
CHATHAM, Ontario
N7M 5W7

Attention:
Andrew Tompsett & Mike Genge

I am writing to inform you of the fact that there have been recent legislative changes to the Child and Family Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11 which concern the legal rights of children and youth who live in foster care.

The Foster Care Council of Canada is urging Hughes Advertising (2001008 Ontario Inc.) through Andrew Tompsett and Mike Genge as Web Co-ordinator and Owner respectively, to contact the Chatham-Kent Children's Services in order to either release control of the web site to the Society or to work with them to obtain the required information which would provide children in the community with the resources they are legally entitled to in order to prevent them from being harmed.

Sincerely

John Dunn
The Foster Care Council of Canada
http://www.afterfostercare.ca


See an update at Foster Care News: Chatham-Kent Children's Services Update

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Study on Children's Aid Societies

The Foster Care Council is about to conduct a study on Children's Aid Societies across the province. If you are interested please visit this link: Study Discussion

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cornwall Child Abuse Inquiry - Live Updates

The Cornwall Public Inquiry was established by the Government of Ontario on April 14, 2005, under the Public Inquiries Act. The mandate of the Commission is to inquire into and report on the events surrounding allegations of abuse of young people in Cornwall by examining the response of the justice system and other public institutions to the allegations. The Commission will make recommendations to improve the response in similar circumstances. As well, the Commission will inquire into and report on processes, services and programs that will encourage community healing and reconciliation in Cornwall.

http://www.insinc.com/cornwallpublicinquiry/player.php

Friday, October 05, 2007

New Court Date - Nov 22nd 1:30

Thursday, October 04, 2007, Society's counsel, through a student-at-law moved for an adjournment to November 22nd, at 1:30pm due to Counsel's back surgery.

Issueance of summons is no longer at issue, since they have already appeared before the court.

Next Court Date & Location:
Thursday November 22nd, 2007, @ 1:30pm, in court room 102 at 100 Constellation Cres. in Ottawa, Ontario

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

1st Issue of the Crown Ward Newsletter Released

The First Issue of the Crown Ward newsletter has finally been published and is ready for your reading pleasure! Just visit http://afterfostercare.ca/resources.html to download a PDF version, MS Publisher Version, or the easy to print version in MS Word)

The PDF and Publisher version are double sided and can be complicated to print properly.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Service of Summons

Today I went back to the Provincial Offences Court on Constellation Crescent in Ottawa and obtained new summons from a Justice of the Peace. (JP) The JP told me that I had to get a Provincial Offences Officer to serve the summons' so I called the City of Ottawa police and asked for a police officer to serve them.

An officer showed up and took my summons' for service on the Society and on Barbara MacKinnon, the Executive Director. The next court date is Thursday October 04, 2007 at 1:30pm, court room 102, at 100 Constellation Cresent.

(Near Baseline Station or Algonquin College - The tall multi-storey building past the skater park with the logo on it to the right. (not the city building to the left)

The CAS's lawyer, sent a student last time simply to argue improper service and won on that technicality.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

1st Appearance in Court - Adjourned

Today was the date for the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa (Ont. Corp. 37637) and Barbara MacKinnon (Exec. Dir) to show up and plead "guilty" or "not guilty" to committing the Offence of "failing to furnish a list of the Society's members", contrary to section 307 (5) of the Corporations Act, RSO 1990, c. C-38, but their lawyer, Robert C. Morrow, caught me on a technicality regarding how I served the summons to them.

This appears to be done merely to delay the proceding, or to use it as a training opportunity for a new Student at Law in which the Society's solicitor was using today in court.

According to the Provincial Offences Act (POA), when serving summons on a corporation, you are to serve it to an executive, someone who appears to be in control of the corporation or a secretary.

Here is the relevant provision of the statute, the bolded part being the most relevant in this situation:

Service on corporation

26. (4) Service of a summons on a corporation may be effected by delivering the summons personally,

(a) in the case of a municipal corporation, to the mayor, warden, reeve or other chief officer of the corporation or to the clerk of the corporation; or

(b) in the case of any other corporation, to the manager, secretary or other executive officer of the corporation or person apparently in charge of a branch office thereof,

or by mailing the summons by registered mail to the corporation at an address held out by the corporation to be its address, in which case the summons shall be deemed to have been duly served seven days after the day of mailing.


I did however deliver the summons in person to the secretary, but she told me to bring it to the mail room. Not knowing any better at the time, I did so and got a stamp from the mailroom attendant stating the date the summons was received.

The other way to serve them is by registered mail. Once you have sent registered mail, they are deemed to have been served within seven days. Then you can proceed.

Just for your information, you could also request from the JP when requesting a summons, that an order for substituted service be issued where you think they might try to avoid service by redirecting to the mail room for example. You would tell the judge that you know this to be the practice, and you wish to have the JP order that the summons be accepted by the corporation via it's mail room attendant or what ever situation is relevant in your situation. Below is the relevant provision of the POA.


Substitutional service

26.(5) A justice, upon motion and upon being satisfied that service cannot be made effectively on a corporation in accordance with subsection (4), may by order authorize another method of service that has a reasonable likelihood of coming to the attention of the corporation.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Updated Press Release

Contacts:
John Dunn, Executive Director & Gary Curtis, Board Member
The Foster Care Council of Canada
12-1160 Meadowlands Drive East
Ottawa, ON, K2E 6J2
Email: afterfostercare@gmail.com, garycur@gmail.com
Phone: John Dunn (613) 228-2178, Gary Curtis (613) 774-3000

Glossary:
Crown Ward or Ward = Foster Child
Society = A Children's Aid Society
The Act = Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C-38, as amended.
Board Members = Board of Directors Members
Members = People in the community who apply to a Society for membership and pay an annual fee


For Release On Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Please release one day prior to Thursday to give folks time to plan to attend the court date.

Event Date: Thursday, September 13, 2007, 1:30pm
Event Location: 100 Constellation Drive (Near Baseline Station – Provincial Court – Not Elgin Street Court)

FORMER FOSTER CHILD CHARGES CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY OF OTTAWA AND ITS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UNDER CORPORATIONS ACT.

At a time when the Ombudsman of Ontario has been fighting for jurisdiction over Children's Aid Societies across the province in order to increase accountability for the services they provide to children and families, John Dunn, a former foster child and child-welfare reform advocate, laid charges against the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa and its Executive Director, Barbara MacKinnon (August, 8th, 2007) for knowingly and willfully committing the Offence of contravening section 307 (5) of Ontario's Corporations Act. The Society and its Executive Director, Barbara MacKinnon, if convicted of the Offence could each face fines of up to one thousand dollars.

Dunn, wanting to advocate for positive changes to the way child-welfare services are provided to Ottawa's children and youth applied for a membership with the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, only to have his application denied without a valid explanation.

After several failed attempts to meet with the Society to discuss the matter, Dunn was instructed by Pierre Viger, the Society's Director of Professional Services, to discuss the matter with Ottawa lawyer, Robert C. Morrow of Burke-Robertson Barristers & Solicitors.

Later, while in a meeting with Morrow, Dunn was advised that the Society was not prepared to discuss the matter any further, that the matter was “closed”, and that he should seek legal counsel if he wishes to pursue the membership matter any further.

Shocked at the treatment he received from the Society regarding his membership application, Dunn filed a complaint with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services only to be informed by them that Society memberships are a “corporate law” matter and as such can not be dealt with by the Ministry via the Ministry's review procedure.

On February 05, 2007, Dunn filed with the Society, a request for a list of its existing members in accordance with section 307 (1) of the Corporation's Act so that he could inform them of how membership applications are being dealt with by the Society's Board of Directors in the hope that he could convince them to vote for change to this practice during a members meeting.

Upon receiving Dunn's request the Society retained the legal services of Robert C. Morrow who then assisted the Society in committing the Offence of failing to furnish a list of the Society's members when so required, as outlined in section 307 (5) of the Act.

Background:

Normally a person would advocate for service improvements within a Society by applying for an annual membership and voting for, or making requisitions for change at member meetings. Unfortunately, the people who are the most concerned with how a Society operates -- its former wards -- are blocked from obtaining a membership with their originating Society, simply because of the fact that as adults, they now live outside the jurisdiction of the Society, or because they are currently involved in advocating for improvements to the services a Society delivers in the community.

The only option one has to advocate for change within a Society once their membership application has been denied is to communicate with the annual members who are members of the local community and who support the work a Society performs, by requesting a list of those members so that they can communicate with them on the subject as allowed under section 307 (1) of the Corporations Act.

It has been made apparent that the Ottawa Children's Aid Society, through its Board of Directors, and with the is even willing to commit an Offence in order to prevent anyone from communicating with the members for purposes connected with the Society.

Section 307 (5) of the Act makes it an Offence for the Society, its Officers or Directors to fail to furnish a list of the members to a person who properly requests it, exposing the Society, and its Board members to the risk of being charged and fined up to one thousand dollars each. This does not include public tax-payers dollars which are being spent on lawyers fees for committing and defending their illegal conduct.

John Dunn, is a former Crown Ward and child welfare reform activist who founded The Foster Care Council of Canada (the Council), an organization which seeks to involve current and former wards in the process of child welfare reform.

Gary Curtis, of Winchester, (just outside of Ottawa) a former Crown Ward of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, aged out of the system in 1961. He recently applied for a membership with the Society only to be informed that he could not be a member since he was no longer living in the Society's jurisdiction.

Approximately four years ago, Curtis applied for access to his own life records which are held by the Society and in doing so, had to put up quite a struggle in order to get anywhere, including having to launch a review of the Society's decision through a Ministry appointed Director. Curtis had a meeting with a representative of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Eastern Regional Office who suggested that he file for a review under subsection 68 (3) of the Child and Family Services Act. The review took over a year to conclude producing a report to the Ministry which made the following conclusions:

There is no guiding legislation the Society can follow with regard to the disclosure of information to a former Crown Ward

The Board of Directors were satisfied that the Society's staff complied with all regulations and,

The Society believes their staff satisfied all the requests made by Curtis.


The review appears to have accomplished very little, as anything he did receive from the Society was only due to his own persistence. When Curtis eventually earned access to his records, he discovered something amazing. Gary learned after decades of thinking he was an only child, that he had a sister and two half brothers. His sister and one of his brothers live in the greater Ottawa area and the other brother lives in B.C. His sister was placed for adoption at birth, but his two half brothers remained out of care. Curtis has slowly become acquainted with them and they have welcomed him as a long lost family member. Curtis says “Being accepted as a new family member can be a long and slow process and must be done with a lot of caution and care.”

Curtis has since also applied for a list of the members of the Society in accordance with section 307 (1) of the Corporations Act so that he could communicate with them regarding the Society and its Boards practices, only to find the Society also committed the same Offence of failing to furnish a list of its members as they did with Dunn's request.

Dunn says “The Society sent the exact same response letter to Gary that their Lawyer Robert Morrow sent to me, only this time they copied the content of the Lawyer's letter and pasted it onto their own letterhead, then sent it to Gary”.
Curtis is now considering his own legal options.

For further information please visit The Foster Care Council of Canada at
http://www.afterfostercare.ca
--30--

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ministry Takes Over CAS in Nova Scotia

In Ontario, where a Minister believes that a Society is not fulfilling its duties, the Ministry can take over a CAS. It has happened in Nova Scotia!

http://www.gov.ns.ca/news/details.asp?id=20070816006
This could be a first and a good example for other provinces.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Former Foster Child Charges Ottawa CAS

Contacts:
John Dunn, Executive Director & Gary Curtis, Board Member
The Foster Care Council of Canada
Ottawa, ON
Email: afterfostercare@gmail.com, garycur@gmail.com
Phone: John Dunn (613) 228-2178, Gary Curtis (613) 774-3000

Glossary:
Crown Ward or Ward = Foster Child
Society = A Children's Aid Society
The Act = Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C-38, as amended.
Board Members = Board of Directors Members
Members = People in the community who apply to a Society for membership and pay an annual fee


For Immediate Release

Date: Wednesday, August 08, 2007

FORMER FOSTER CHILD CHARGES CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY OF OTTAWA AND ITS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UNDER CORPORATIONS ACT.

At a time when the Ombudsman of Ontario has been fighting for jurisdiction over Children's Aid Societies across the province for the purpose of increasing accountability for the services they provide, John Dunn, a former foster child and child-welfare reform advocate, laid charges against the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa and its Executive Director on Wednesday, (August, 8th, 2007) for knowingly and willfully committing the Offence of contravening section 307 (5) of Ontario's Corporations Act.

The Society and its Executive Director, Barbara MacKinnon, if convicted, could face fines of up to one thousand dollars each.

Dunn, wanting to advocate for positive changes to the way child-welfare services are provided to Ottawa's children and youth applied for a membership with the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, only to have his application denied without a valid explanation.

After several failed attempts to meet with the Society to discuss the matter, Dunn was instructed by Pierre Viger, the Society's Director of Professional Services, to discuss the matter with Ottawa lawyer, Robert C. Morrow of Burke-Robertson Barristers & Solicitors.

Later, while in a meeting with Morrow, Dunn was advised that the Society was not prepared to discuss the matter any further, that the matter was “closed” and that he should seek legal counsel if he wishes to pursue the membership matter any further.

Shocked at the treatment he received from the Society regarding his membership application, Dunn filed a complaint with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services only to be informed by them that Society memberships are a “corporate law” matter and as such, can not be dealt with by the Ministry.

On February 05, 2007, Dunn filed with the Society, a request for a list of its existing members in accordance with section 307 (1) of the Corporation's Act so that he could inform them of how membership applications are being dealt with by the Society's Board of Directors, hoping that he could convince them to vote for change to this practice during a members meeting.

Once again, the Society retained the legal services of Robert C. Morrow who then assisted the Society in committing the Offence of failing to furnish a list of the Society's members when so required, as outlined in section 307 (5) of the Act.

Background:

Normally a person would advocate for service improvements within a Society by applying for an annual membership and voting for, or making requisitions for change at members meetings. Unfortunately, the people who are the most concerned with how a Society operates -- its former wards -- are blocked from obtaining a membership with their originating Society, simply because as adults, they now live outside the jurisdiction of the Society, or because they are currently involved in advocating for improvements to the services a Society delivers in the community.

The only option a person has to advocate for change once their membership application has been denied by a Society is to communicate with the annual members who reside in the community and who support the work a Society performs, through requesting a list of those members in order to allow the person to communicate with them as is allowed under section 307 (1) of the Corporations Act.

It has been made apparent that the Ottawa Children's Aid Society through its Board of Directors, is even willing to commit an Offence in order to prevent anyone from communicating with the members for purposes connected with the Society.

Section 307 (5) of the Act makes it an Offence for the Society and its Directors not to furnish a list of the members to a person who properly requests it, exposing the Society, and its Board members to the risk of being charged and fined one thousand dollars each, not to mention the lawyers fees for defending their illegal conduct.

John Dunn, is a former Crown Ward and child welfare reform activist who founded The Foster Care Council of Canada (the Council), an organization which seeks to involve current and former wards in the process of child welfare reform.

Gary Curtis, of Winchester, (just outside of Ottawa) a former Crown Ward of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, aged out of the system in 1961. He recently applied for a membership with the Society only to be informed that he could not be a member since he was no longer living in the Society's jurisdiction.

Approximately four years ago, Curtis applied for access to his own life records which are held by the Society and in doing so, had to put up quite a struggle in order to get anywhere including a Ministry review by an appointed Director. Curtis had a meeting with a representative of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Eastern Regional Office who suggested that he file for a review under subsection 68 (3) of the Child and Family Services Act. The review took over a year to conclude producing a report to the Ministry which made the following conclusions:



There is no guiding legislation the Society can follow with regard to the disclosure of information to a former Crown Ward

The Board of Directors were satisfied that the Society's staff complied with all regulations and,

The Society believes their staff satisfied all the requests made by Curtis.



The review appears to have accomplished very little, as anything he did receive from the Society was only due to his own persistence. When Curtis eventually earned access to his records, he discovered something amazing. Gary learned after years of thinking he was an only child, that he had a sister and two half brothers. His sister and one of his brothers live in the greater Ottawa area and the other brother lives in B.C. His sister was placed for adoption at birth, but his two half brothers remained out of care. Curtis has slowly become acquainted with them and they have welcomed him as a long lost family member. Curtis says “Being accepted as a new family member can be a long and slow process and must be done with a lot of caution and care.”

Curtis has since also applied for a list of the members of the Society in accordance with the Corporations Act so that he could communicate with them regarding the Society and its Boards practices and was also denied.

Dunn says “The Society sent the exact same response letter to Gary that their Lawyer sent to me, only this time they copied the content of the Lawyers letter and pasted it onto their own letterhead, then sent it to Gary”.

Curtis is now considering his own legal options.

For further information please visit The Foster Care Council of Canada at http://www.afterfostercare.ca


--30--

Summons Served



Thursday, August 16, 2007: John Dunn served summons' on the corporation of the Children's Aid Society and its Executive Director, Barbara MacKinnon for the following Offences:

1. On the corporation for failing to furnish a list of the Society's members as required under section 307 (1) of the Corporations Act

2. On Barbara MacKinnon for authorizing, permittng, or aquiescing to the Offence of failing to furnish a list of the members.



Relevant Legislation:
=====================
307. (1) Any person, upon payment of a reasonable charge therefor and upon filing with the corporation or its agent the affidavit referred to in subsection (2), may require a corporation, other than a private company, or its transfer agent to furnish within ten days from the filing of such affidavit a list setting out the names alphabetically arranged of all persons who are shareholders or members of the corporation, the number of shares owned by each such person and the address of each such person as shown on the books of the corporation made up to a date not more than ten days prior to the date of filing the affidavit.



307(5) Every corporation or transfer agent that fails to furnish a list in accordance with subsection (1) when so required is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000, and every director or officer of such corporation or transfer agent who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in such offence is also guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a like fine.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ottawa Children's Aid Society Commits 2nd Count of Offence

The Ottawa Children's Aid Society has committed the 2nd count of the Offence of contravening section 307 (5) of the Corporations Act after another citizen, Gary Curtis submitted a request for a copy of the Society's member list, putting both the Society and each of the individual Board of Directors members in the position of risking $2,000.00 in fines each.

Apparently the Society refused to furnish a list of the Society's members to Mr. Curtis using a form letter based on the letter written to Mr. Dunn refusing to furnish a list of the Society's members to him previously, by Ottawa Lawyer, Robert C. Morrow of Burke-Robertson Barristors & Solicitors.

More details available of the first Offence at this link.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Council Looks Into Malone Death

The Foster Care Council of Canada is going to look into the death of Jim Malone by making a freedom of information request for the officers notes who attended the day Mr. Malone drove his truck into the building and died.

August 01, 2007: We have contacted the officer who was on scene the day of the incident and are attempting to obtain more information.


His first response to me was

"I was the officer in charge of the case , privacy laws prohibit me from releasing any information. You may be able to make a FOI request for the report .

Good Luck
"


His second response was...

"The request would be made to the Windsor Police Servcie , and for a number of reasons , I will not discuss the case .."


I then wrote this to the Windsor Police Service

"I would like to make a FIPPA or MFIPPA request for officers notepads or any other documents or records of any officers who worked on the case of Jim Malone who drove his truck into the Children's Aid Society Building in October of 2004.

I am specifically seeking information pertaining to the Suicide note that Mr Malone wrote prior to his driving his truck into the Children's Aid Society building.

At the time, Windsor Police Officer Gerald Corriveau was in charge of the case.

Could you please inform me of how I would do this and what wording I would use?

For example, do I ask for Officers notepads or notes or notebooks?
What other reports or documents could I ask for by name which might refer to a suicide note which could have been found at the scene or at his home?
"

I was responded to with the following instruction for making the request which anyone can do if they are interested


THE MUNICIPAL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT


RE: NOTICE OF APPLICATION FEE


Be advised, you must make an application pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the records you have requested.

Pursuant to section 17(1)(c) and section 5.3(1) of the Regulation 823 of the Act, an application fee of $5.00 is to be paid upon submission of each request. Please re-submit your written letter of request with the appropriate fee to my attention. Your cheque or money order should be made payable to the Windsor Police Service.

An additional fee may apply to the records requested. Notification of any further fees assessed will be sent upon review of the records. A receipt for all fees paid will be issued with the final response letter.

Pursuant to section 19 of the Act, this police service has 30 days to prepare the records for release and issue a decision letter. Please note that your name may be subject to release to any person who is affected by your request. All individuals other than yourself whose personal information may be contained in the relevant records may be contacted to seek consent to release their personal information to you. This information will not be released without the consent of the affected individual.

If a decision is made to contact other individuals, section 21(7) allows the institution an additional 30 days to make a final decision once the 3rd party individual has been contacted. In effect, you should know that your request could possibly take up to 60 days in total to process.

Any further questions regarding the access process or the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in general may be directed to me at (519) 255-6700 extension 4145.

Yours truly,


Susan Gagnon, Co-ordinator,
Information and Privacy Unit.
Windsor Police Service

Monday, July 30, 2007

Catholic Children's Aid Society Commits Offence

On Tuesday, June 24, 2007, the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS) received an in-person, hand delivered request from John Dunn for a list of the members of the Society in accordance with section 307 (1) of the Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C-38, as amended, so that he can communicate with them for purposes connected with the Society.

The executive Assistant, Andrea Mills accepted the delivery in person at the reception area of the CCAS and informed Dunn that the Executive Director was ill and would not be able to act immediately upon the request.

Dunn was later called by the Society stating that they have received the request and that McConville is now looking at the request and will get back to me.

The 10 Day expiry date has passed and the Society is currently in a position of contravening section 307 (5) of the Act but Dunn is giving them time to respond to his request.

More updates to follow.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ottawa CAS Commits Count 1 of Offence

The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa has committed the Offence of contravening section 307 (5) of the Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.38 by not furnishing a list of the Society's members upon application in accordance with section 307 (1) of the Act. (documents)

If convicted of the Offence, the corporation could be fined up to 1,000.00. The Society's Barbara MacKinnon (Executive Director) and Board of Directors members, Brian McKee (President), Rick O'Connor (Vice President), Merv Sabey (Treasurer / Secretary), Lucya Spencer (Past President), and Karen Green (Executive Board Member) have -- in the same transaction -- also committed the Offence of authorizing, permitting or acquiescing to the Offence of failing to furnish a list of the members of the Society, contrary to section 307 (5) of the Act and if convicted, can also be held liable to paying a fine of up to 1,000.00 each.

The Board members retained the legal services of Robert C. Morrow of Burke-Robertson Barristers & Solicitors of Ottawa -- using taxpayers dollars -- to assist them in committing these Offences.

Subsequently, a complaint has been filed under Rule 2.02 (5.1 & 5.2) of the Rules of Professional Conduct with the Law Society of Upper Canada against an externally retained Lawyer, Robert C. Morrow of Burke-Robertson Barristers & Solicitors of Ottawa.

Similar complaints are being considered for the Society's Rick O'Connor, (also a lawyer employed by the City of Ottawa) for his involvement in the committing of these Offences. It has not yet been decided if prosecution will follow.

It is still hoped that the matter will be resolved, dispite several failed attempts to meet and discuss the matter by the applicant. The deadline to take legal action is August 14, 2007.

MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES AVOIDS RESPONSIBILITY TO OVERSEE CORPORATIONS ACT

Ottawa, ON, May 18, 2007:The Ministry of Government Services has the responsibility to oversee and enforce compliance with the Corporations Act, yet it failed to do so with regard to the Ottawa CAS contravening section 307 (5) of the Act. In response, a complaint was launched with the Ombudsman and the outcome is currently pending.

CHARTER CHALLENGE AGAINST OPEN RECORDS

Toronto, ON, June - 25, 26, 27, 2007: Wendy Rowney from the Coalition for Open Records (COAR). Three adoptees and one natural father have launched a constitutional challenge against the Ontario (Canada) Goverment claiming privacy rights will be violated with the legislative passing of The Adoption Disclosure Act (2005), (aka Bill 183) set to unseal original birth registrations for adoptees and amended birth certificates for mothers beginning September 2007. The judge has reserved judgement until some time before August 30, 2007. ( listen )

STOLEN - A NEW, NON-FICTION BOOK ON CHILD WELFARE AND ADOPTION IN ONTARIO

"STOLEN" - A NEW, NON-FICTION BOOK ON CHILD WELFARE AND ADOPTION IN ONTARIOOntario, 2007: Read about this recently published, non-fiction book on Child Welfare and Adoption in Ontario, by author 3rd Generation CAS Ward and Natural Mother, Erika Klein ( here )