Monday, February 16, 2009

Dunn seeking membership info with Ottawa CAS

John Dunn's letter to Ottawa CAS's Executive Director regarding membership

Membership Inquiry‏

From: John Dunn (
Sent: February 13, 2009 12:02:55 PM
To: Barbara Mackinnon (
Cc: Irwin Elman (; Horwath - QP, Andrea (; (; Julia Munro (
Barbara MacKinnon

The last time I called and talked to the Society for the purpose of asking for a meeting with you so that I could learn what the reasons were for my individual membership application being denied, and to find out what I can do to improve my chances of having my membership application approved, I was told by your receptionist at the time that you had no further information to discuss regarding this at that time.

As you are aware, I have never been provided answers explaining why the Society thinks I have acted in ways which do not demonstrate a genuine interest in the objectives of the Society, other than for them to have written that it is their belief that I have.

Now, several years later, I would like to ask of you once again, and especially since you have met me several times in person and I have never demonstrated any reason for you to be fearful of me in any way, whether yourself, and any members of the Board of Directors, especially those on the Membership Committee such as Tracy Engleking, and Brian McKee would meet with me, for the purpose of discussing whether or not the Society would accept a membership application from me, and if not, for how long, and what the Society's reasons are for not accepting a membership application from me, so that I can then know what I can do to work toward being accepted as a member of the Society in the near future.

Currently, I meet all of the eligibility criteria for membership with the Society, as I am over the age of 18, I live in the Society's jurisdiction, and I have repeatedly, actively, and publicly demonstrated a genuine interest in the objectives of the Society which as I understand them to be are as follows:

1) protecting the children and youth of our community from all forms or abuse and neglect.

2) working to keep them safe and secure, both within their families and the communities in which they live

3) helping raise awareness of the important work undertaken by the Society

4) promoting the notion that the well-being of children and youth is the responsibility of the whole community

Please respond and let me know if I can meet to discuss this matter.

John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Submission to OACAS Newsletter

The following is a letter by John Dunn, submitted to the OACAS for publication in their newsletter. Dunn is unsure of whether they will publish the article but awaits their response.

Jeanette Lewis
Executive Director
Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies

Attn: OACAS Journal, (Newsletter)

I would like to submit the following article to the OACAS journal for publication.


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


I am a former foster child who spent sixteen years in foster care as a Crown Ward, and the Founder, and volunteer Executive Director of a non-profit organization made up of former child-welfare service clients and their supporters, which has as it's mission "Involving current and former child-welfare service clients in the process of improving the quality and accountability of child-welfare services through a strong, united voice"

When I read an article in the Ottawa Citizen titled "Whose Child is This? which spoke to the issue of parents having to give up their severely disabled children to Children's Aid Societies, it reminded me of just how important it is for people in the community to understand that the best way to advocate for improved quality and accountability of child-welfare services is through joining your local Children's Aid Society as a regular member. Only them can you be afforded the rights that regular members have to vote for members of the Board of Directors, to review the financial documents of the Societies which receive and spend millions of dollars a year in both Tax-payers hard earned dollars and in Donations.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Ministry of Government Services, the Child and Family Services Review Board who is supposed to have jurisdiction to review complaints regarding decisions and actions made by Societies, MPP's across the Province including Jim Watson, have all responded to letters of complaint regarding Societies stating that they have no jurisdiction over certain matters since Societies are non-profit corporations governed by what are thought to be community elected Board of Directors.

The problem with responses from official government officials who merely redirect people to attempt to resolve their issues directly and internally with a Society through corporate memberships is that those memberships are closely guarded, and not advertised to the public. For example, I learned recently that the Ottawa Children's Aid Society who serves a city of almost 1 million people has only 55 members. 17 of those are actually on the Board of Directors, leaving only 38 to "monitor" the decisions and actions of the Society.

During the most recent Annual General Meeting held at the City's Pine View Gold Club, any time calls for votes were made there was only ever a show of about five hands maximum in a room of what appeared to me to be over 100 people -- most of which were not even voting members. This is the type of apathy Children's Aid Societies enjoy across the province. Recently, MPP - Andrea Horwath, Child Welfare Critic with the Legislative Assembly of Ontario -- at the request of the Foster Care Council of Canada -- introduced Private Members Motion #41 which seeks support from the Legislative Assembly to have the Ministry of Children and Youth Services issue a Directive to have all Societies in Ontario make public information about the fact that they offer memberships to the public, that they hold monthly, publicly accessible Board of Directors meetings, and to make the By-Laws of the organizations available upon request.

If you are surprised to hear this is not the case already, a couple of Societies, including the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa have had charges pressed against them by citizens in their communities with provincial offences under section 307 (5) of Ontario's Corporations Act, for attempting block citizens from communicating with their existing members as allowed under the Act, in attempts to advocate for positive changes. Something Ottawa-West MPP Jim Watson refused to get involved in, stating that CAS's are autonomous bodies, governed by a "community elected" Board of Directors.

It also appears to me that the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) in their most recent Annual Report reveals that Ontario's Children's Aid Societies paid approximately 2.4 Million Dollars in Ministry Allocated Transfer Funds for membership fees to the OACAS, who has also retained the legal services of Swadron Associates law firm to intimidate me from creating an on-line, free yahoo support group for people who wish to learn more about obtaining a membership with their own local Children's Aid Society. This expenditure in the face of a recent submission by the OACAS which speaks about the "Administrative Burden" and costs associated with the Ministry's Transformation Agenda and Accountability measures.

I encourage anyone who is concerned about the welfare of Ontario's families and vulnerable children to contact their local Children's Aid Society and ask for a membership. If you have your membership application denied as others have experienced (myself included) call the Foster Care Council of Canada at 613-220-1039 or visit us on the web at for free support.


John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada

Friday, February 06, 2009

OACAS Posturing for Legal Action

It appears that the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) is still posturing to take legal action against John Dunn for starting a free on-line yahoo group titled "Ontario Association of Children's Aid Society Members" for people who have, or who intend to join their local Children's Aid Society as a regular voting member for the purposes of discussing how to advocate for changes in the way the Societies provide services through proper channels such as annual elections of Board members, attending monthly Society Board meetings and through the privileges available to them as members as stipulated in the Societies' By-Laws and under the Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. c-38.

On Friday February 06, 2009, at 5:09 pm, Dunn received a further email from Barry B. Swadron of Swadron Associates, externally retained counsel for the OACAS apparently seeking to confirm whether Mr. Dunn still intends to keep the name of his on-line yahoo group as is.

Dunn responded to Swadron seeking clarification from his client as to whether anyone has actually confused the two different entities and what harm was caused as a result of any alleged confusion to this point.

See the e-mail communications below:

Dear Mr. Dunn,

Further to my e-mail of January 16, 2009 herein, have you decided whether you are going to rename the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society Members?

Barry B. Swadron, Q.C.
Swadron Associates
Barristers & Solicitors
115 Berkeley Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 2W8
Tel: (416) 362-1234
Fax: (416) 362-1232

Dunn's Email Response

Thank-you for your letter,

Before I make a final determination, can you ask your client if anyone has actually confused the two different entities and what harm was caused to this point?

John Dunn