September 4, 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. The last phase of the legislation will be implemented on September 17, 2007, and 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 government 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) for an order 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 ServiceOntario. 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 ServiceOntario.

Starting September 17, 2007, adult adoptees and birth parents will be able to apply for information contained in original birth registrations and adoption orders. Adult adoptees and birth parents will still be able to register a "no contact" notice, "contact preference" or "waiver of protection" on their files.

The government will also operate a voluntary Adoption Disclosure Register (ADR). The ADR will allow adopted adults, birth parents, birth grandparents and birth siblings over the age of 18 to place their names on a register to obtain or exchange contact information.

Privacy protections can be registered at any time. Starting September 17, to apply for information or place your name on the ADR, please go to www.serviceontario.ca or call 1-800-461-2156.

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

The government and children's aid societies will continue to provide non-identifying information to adult adoptees and birth relatives. Birth parents should be aware that non-identifying information about them may have been, or may be, disclosed to the adoptee or adoptive parent. Adoptees should be aware that non-identifying information about them may have been, or may be, disclosed to birth relatives. This should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to submit an application for an order to prohibit the disclosure of identifying information and whether or not to register a "no contact" notice with ServiceOntario.

The legislation applies to all adoptions that are registered in Ontario.

Members of the general public may call: 416-325-5666 or toll free at 1-888-789-4199.

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Media Contacts:

John Letherby
Communications and Marketing Branch
416-325-5187

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