On December 8, 2016 the Minister of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) tabled Bill 89: Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2016, in the Ontario Legislature. Bill 89 introduces historic amendments to the Child and Family Services Act and is the culmination of the 2015 mandatory legislative review – the third review since the legislation was amended in 2000. The Child and Family Services Act governs a range of service sectors in addition to child welfare, including youth justice and residential services.
During the legislative review period the child welfare sector provided input to a written submission that contained proposals for legislative change on key areas. The proposed bill would create the Child Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA), which will replace the CFSA and contain amendments that reflect many of OACAS and Children’s Aid Societies advocacy efforts: changing the age of protection, a legislative framework for information access and privacy, recognition of extra-provincial protection orders, personal liability coverage for board governors and supports for older youth. Input was also provided from Independent Officers of the Legislature (PACY, Auditor General), young people, service providers, caregivers, key public sector stakeholders and recommendations from inquests and other review processes.
The proposed CYFSA is ambitious and its proposed changes are wide-reaching. It broadly grants regulation-making authority to MCYS and contains multiple amendments in the following key areas:
- Protection and Prevention
- Quality Improvement
- Accountability and Oversight
- Support for First Nations, Métis and Inuit People
OACAS and Children Aid Societies are undertaking extensive work to review and analyze the proposed CYFSA.