The Preamble to the Child, Youth, and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) calls on Children’s Aid and Indigenous Child Well-Being Societies, and other service providers, to fulfill the spirit and intent of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Work is underway to help Societies plan for the new legislation, and more details will be available in the coming days and weeks.
The Government of Ontario acknowledges that children are individuals with rights to be respected and voices to be heard. The Government of Ontario is committed to the following principles:
Services provided to children and families should be child-centred.
Children and families have better outcomes when services build on their strengths. Prevention services, early intervention services and community support services build on a family’s strengths and are invaluable in reducing the need for more disruptive services and interventions.
Services provided to children and families should respect their diversity and the principle of inclusion, consistent with the Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Systemic racism and the barriers it creates for children and families receiving services must continue to be addressed. All children should have the opportunity to meet their full potential. Awareness of systemic biases and racism and the need to address these barriers should inform the delivery of all services for children and families.
Services to children and families should, wherever possible, help maintain connections to their communities.
In furtherance of these principles, the Government of Ontario acknowledges that the aim of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 is to be consistent with and build upon the principles expressed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
With respect to First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, the Government of Ontario acknowledges the following:
The Province of Ontario has unique and evolving relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples are constitutionally recognized peoples in Canada, with their own laws, and distinct cultural, political and historical ties to the Province of Ontario.
Where a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child is otherwise eligible to receive a service under this Act, an interjurisdictional or intra-jurisdictional dispute should not prevent the timely provision of that service, in accordance with Jordan’s Principle.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes the importance of belonging to a community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned.
Further, the Government of Ontario believes the following:
First Nations, Inuit and Métis children should be happy, healthy, resilient, grounded in their cultures and languages and thriving as individuals and as members of their families, communities and nations.
Honouring the connection between First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and their distinct political and cultural communities is essential to helping them thrive and fostering their well-being.
For these reasons, the Government of Ontario is committed, in the spirit of reconciliation, to working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to help ensure that wherever possible, they care for their children in accordance with their distinct cultures, heritages and traditions.