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
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