February 1, 2007

Adoption Information Disclosure That Balances The Right To Information With The Protection of Privacy

The Adoption Information Disclosure Act, 2005, amends the Child and Family Services Act and the Vital Statistics Act. Phase one of the legislation has been implemented, allowing adult adoptees and birth parents to register privacy protections with the Registrar General. When fully implemented, the legislation will balance the right of adult adoptees and birth parents to know about their history and identity with the protection of privacy.

Right To Information

  • Adoptees who are 18 years old or older will be able to obtain copies of their original birth registrations that will provide them with their original birth name and may identify birth parents.
  • Adoptees who are 18 years old or older will be able to obtain copies of their adoption orders that may provide information on the adopted person's given name at birth, birth registration number and name of adoptive parents.
  • Birth parents will be able to have access to information from their child's birth records and adoption orders if the adoptee is 19 years old or older. Information about the adoptive parents would be removed from the adoption records.
  • Adult adoptees will be able to register a "waiver of protection" that will allow the Ontario Registrar General to release information to a birth parent even though the adopted person may have been a victim of abuse by the birth parent.

Protecting Privacy

  • Birth parents and adult adoptees can apply to the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB) to prohibit disclosure of identifying information in circumstances where there are concerns about preventing sexual harm or significant physical/emotional harm.
  • Birth parents and adult adoptees can register a "no contact" notice with the Registrar General. This means the birth parent or adoptee must agree, in writing, not to contact the person who registered the "no contact" notice, before he or she can receive information from the birth registration or adoption order. A person who violates a "no contact" notice may be fined up to $50,000.
  • When an individual registers a "no contact" notice, it may include family and medical history and a brief statement concerning the person's reasons for not wishing to be contacted. That information will be passed on to the adoptee or birth parent if he or she applies to the Registrar General.

Information and applications to register a "no contact" notice, a "contact preference" and a "waiver of protection," can be found at www.serviceontario.ca. For information on how to apply for an order to prohibit the disclosure of identifying information contact:

The Child and Family Services Review Board
2 Bloor St. West, 24th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 3V5

Telephone: 416-327-4673
Toll-Free: 1-888-728-8823
Fax: 416-327-0558

Birth parents should be aware that non-identifying information about them may have been, or may be, disclosed to the adoptee or adoptive parent by the Adoption Disclosure Unit at the Ministry of Community and Social Services or by a children's aid society. Adoptees should be aware that non-identifying information about them may have been, or may be, disclosed to a member of the birth family by the Adoption Disclosure Unit or by a children's aid society. Once the Adoption Information Disclosure Act, 2005, is fully implemented, birth relatives may be able to match this non-identifying information with identifying information disclosed by the Registrar General. Adult adoptees and birth parents may wish to consider this when deciding whether or not to apply to the CFSRB to prohibit the disclosure of identifying information and whether or not to register a "no contact" notice with the Registrar General.

The legislation is retroactive and applies to all adopted individuals whose adoptions were registered in Ontario.

-30-

Marc Despatie
Minister's Office
416-325-5219

Paul Doig
Communications and Marketing Branch
416-325-5187

Additional Information
Option Visit our media room for resources designed specifically for the media.


Alternative Formats
[PDF] [PDF Attachment Adoption Information Disclosure That Balances The Right To Information With The Protection of Privacy]
[Printer button] [Bottom printer link Printer-friendly version]
[Email button] [Bottom email link Email article this article to a friend]