Monday, September 12, 2005

Proposed Ontario law about adoption records raises important privacy issues

Today's Globe & Mail is reporting on a debate that has been simmering for some time in Ontario. The province's legislature is debating Bill 183, the Adoption Information Disclosure Act, 2005, which turns the existing system on its head by presuming disclosure of adoption records at the request of either the adoptee or the birth parent. The current regime requires both parties to register with the government if they want to be contacted or to receive informaiton on the other party. The proposed law requires a "do not contact" notice if the individual does not want their information handed over. Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner has come out strongly against the proposed change. Years ago mothers gave children up for adoption on an implied promise that they could do so without the risk of the information being provided later. Now, that promise is threatened. See The Globe and Mail: Adoption changes would open door to the past.

5 comments:

joy said...

We're fighting an important battle here in Ontario, re: rights to privacy and the need for a disclosure veto to be included in the proposed adoption disclosure bill 183.
If you would like to know more, or be added to our petition, please go to www.disclosureveto.ca
thank you,
joy

Cathy said...

I feel that I must respond to Joy Cheskes letter which makes a
disclosure veto seem like the answer to all privacy problems.
It isn't.

It seems to me that no one has actually looked at why Ontario has left out the disclosure
beyond the adoptees right to know their background including their birth mothers
surname.

It is because disclosure vetoes do not actually work.

Let look at vetoes and how they really work in the other provinces.

First of all, one has to remember that the disclosure veto in these provinces is ONLY
against the government - NOT the individual.

The only guarantee this gives is that the government will not issue anymore information
about you - and only while you are alive.

It does NOT stop an individual using other resources to find out about the other party

If the person looking is able to obtain information about the other party through other
sources (such as the US Freedom of Information Act which gives Canadians adopted by
Americans their birth parents names), they are still allowed to find them without penalty if
the found party has not filed a contact veto.

BC and Newfoundland have put in contact vetoes for this very reason as you cannot stop
anyone from getting information in todays world. They have found out that the disclosure
veto alone does not work nor does it stop contact.

Alberta has a disclosure veto but no contact veto.

If you find your information from another source, you can still contact the other party
without penalty.

As there is no contact veto, there is no way of stopping contact at all in Alberta.

One more point - these provinces release your information to the other party when you die
anyway - even if that is not what you want.

The disclosure veto is a waste of time and money. It does not work which is why Australia
is dropping it and the UK has never had it.

Otherwise, why do 2 out of 3 provinces have contact vetoes on top of the disclosure vetoes -
while the 3rd province (Alberta) does not even bother with it and says that anyone can
contact anyone else if they have the information. There is no penalty whatsoever in finding
someone there in Alberta.

Now the second point. Most adoptees in Ontario have identifying
information on their birth parents - approx. 80%.

Furthermore, if the adoptee is already allowed to know the name and details of birth parents
without their permission or knowledge, then the law says that they MUST be given the
SAME right too.

It is called "equal treatment before the law" as stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights.

To say that one group of adults is not allowed the same right as the other group of adults is
discrimination. This is illegal under Ontario law as well as federal law

As far as "confidentiality for mothers" goes, that is pure rubbish.
There is none. I'll prove it.

Just look at this web site if you don't believe me.

http//:www.canadianadopteesregistry.org

Approx. 80% of adoptees have posted their birth surnames on it - even from 1927 when
records were sealed.

13 of 16 adoptees from 1927 have posted their mothers surnames on there - a very public
site.

The 1927 bill NEVER hid the identity of the mother - it was not the intention of the bill.

It was only to hide this information from PUBLIC view and was there mainly to protect
the adoptive parents identity. Reunion was always intended when the adoptee grew up -
otherwise, why do most adoptive families have the adoption order from day one of the
adoption with the name of the mother on it?

You will also note that the 1927 bill also has no disclosure or contact veto in it either.

All adoptees are entitled to their adoption order on request.
According to the Adoption Disclosure Register, no one has ever been turned down if they
have paid their fees and filled in the forms properly.

What does Joy suggest the Ontario government do?

Send in the "Men in Black" to wipe out their memories and steal back their adoption
orders??

Cathy said...

This is from someone who is a respected expert in her field of child welfare and adoption.

Here is what she says that social workers did.

"I have worked in the child welfare field for over 40 years, in three provinces, and have
known hundreds of birth parents and birth parent organizations. The majority of them
wants the best for their children and support this bill. I also worked in Ontario in the 60s.
We were not promising anonymity even then, as we knew the harm that it was doing to
adopted children."

Sandra Scarth, adoptive parent and President of the Adoption Council of Canada (ACC),
Board member of the North American Council for Adoptable Children (NACAC)

If social workers were not giving anonymity, who was?

If anyone promised it, they were going outside of their mandate in doing so.

Cathy said...

Why are adoption fraud victims being ignored in all of this?

According to the UN, there are THOUSANDS of us.

It is another reason why this government is putting forward Bill 183 - as all other previous
governments REFUSED to investigate the culprits, especially those of the "dead" baby
scam. Doctors would be bribed
by some CAS's to tell mothers that their baby had died - and then put the "dead" baby up
for adoption without the knowledge of the mother.
They certainly did not obtain her consent or the father's consent under those conditions!!

Bill 183 is now the ONLY justice left for us as most of the criminals have now fled,
disappeared or died.

We have every right to know our stolen sons and daughters names.
For many, it will be the ONLY thing that we have, should we find our offspring dead or that we are dead when we are found.

Cathy said...

The IPC web site now says the Privacy commissioner got it wrong!!!

She now admits that mothers do NOT have any confidentiality at all and that her research was shoddy.

She is so worried that she has misled so many people that she has now issued an "Alert for Birth Parents" on her site saying so.

It should also be pointed out that adoption is EXEMPT from the Privacy because identifying information is passed from one to other without the knowledge or permission of the other party in current Ontario law.

This also means that adoption is outside of the mandate of the Privacy Commissioner - as is Bill 183.