Hamilton MPP reintroduces children's aid oversight bill
Private member's bill that would have given the Ombudsman power to investigate died when legislature was prorogued
The MPP for Hamilton Mountain has reintroduced a private member’s bill that would allow Ontario’s Ombudsman to investigate children’s aid societies (CAS).
Monique Taylor, the NDP's critic for the Ministry of Child and Youth Services, tried to move legislation through Queen’s Park last year. It made it past second reading, but no further.
"Unfortunately the government prorogued and it died at that time," Taylor said.
The bill would give Ontario's Ombudsman, Andre Marin, independent oversight over the societies' decisions.
Taylor raised a Toronto child abuse case involving a CAS ward during question period this week. She said it was timely that she was scheduled to reintroduce her private members bill on Wednesday.
"We need someone to be an independent, arms-length agency that has properly trained investigators to deal with all cases," Taylor told CBC Hamilton.
A spokesperson for the Minister of Child and Youth Services, Teresa Piruzza, said the minister looks forward to discussion of the bill in the legislature, but also pointed to steps that have already been taken regarding children’s aid oversight.
In 2007, the province created the Independent Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, which responds to concerns from those who are seeking or receiving services under the Child and Family Services Act and the Education Act.
CAS is also accountable to the courts when children are apprehended, and complaints may also be investigated internally or go to the province via the Child and Family Services Review Board.
The Ombudsman has been asking for the ability to investigate complaints for the past 35 years. The bill has been introduced before, but Taylor's was the first to make it past second reading.