Media Statement in response to Bill 117, An Act to amend the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007
TORONTO (September 17, 2015) – Earlier this week, Ontario’s NDP Critic for Children and Youth Services Monique Taylor introduced a private member’s bill that, if passed, would allow the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth to obtain information about a child’s death and critical injuries at the same time as the government – instead of waiting for months or having to rely on media stories. If passed, the proposed bill would amend the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007.
I am pleased that the bill passed second reading today and it has been referred to the Standing Committee for Justice and Social Policy.
Since I was appointed as the Provincial Advocate in 2008, I have asked the government to provide me with timely and complete information concerning a child’s death under my mandate.
As an Officer of the Legislature, my role is to serve as an independent voice for all children and youth who are seeking or receiving services from the children services sector. If a child dies while under the care of the state, it is critical for the Provincial Advocate to be notified immediately and given the same timely and complete access to information as the government. Presently, the government has the right to decide when and how much information should be given to the Advocate concerning children under his mandate. Reports provided to the Advocate often contain heavily redacted information, such as the child’s age or the date of his or her death.
If there is a privacy concern, then the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act prevents the Advocate from disclosing any personal information without consent.
Also, it is important that parents should be informed about the Advocate’s Office when a child dies and that young people with a serious or critical injury should be informed of their right to contact the Advocate’s Office.
I encourage you to read the proposed bill and Hansard at: Bill 117
Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth