As of May 2008, Ontario’s adoption information disclosure legislation allows adopted adults and birth parents to obtain information from birth and adoption records that were registered in Ontario.
The Access to Adoption Records Act, 2007 (AARA) allows for more open access to original birth registrations and adoption records. The legislation strives to balance the rights of adopted adults and birth parents who wish to protect their privacy. The service is overseen by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
Children’s Aid Societies are only permitted to provide non-identifying information about the adoption. It may include the:
- date of the adoption
- name of the agency that handled the adoption
- care received prior to the adoption placement
- birth family’s social or medical history
The Adoption Disclosure Register is a function of Service Ontario.
Service Ontario is the main access point for individuals seeking information, including applying for information about a past adoption, registering a disclosure or no contact order, requesting forms and general inquiries. More information can be obtained at www.serviceontario.ca or 1-800-461-2156.
Applying For Copies Of Records
Individuals can file a disclosure veto through SERVICE ONTARIO if their adoption order was made prior to September 1, 2008. Individuals can apply for identifying information, including copies of original birth registration and adoption orders.
For adoptions granted after September 1, 2008, all records will be open (information will be available, but “no contact” orders may be filed through Service Ontario.)
If there are concerns for personal safety, birth parents and adoptees can apply to the Child and Family Services Review Board to prevent disclosure of identifying information.
Adopted adults and birth parents can file a disclosure veto if their adoption order was made prior to September 1, 2008. The disclosure veto prevents the release of any information found in birth registrations and adoption orders that would identify who registered the veto. If there is no disclosure veto, or if the adoption order was made after September 1, 2008, adopted adults and birth parents will be able to receive previously unavailable information from birth registrations and adoption orders, including identifying information.
If there is a disclosure veto filed, an individual is still allowed access to non-identifying information. The person placing the veto also has the option of providing family medical information and a statement about why they filed the veto.
No Contact Orders
Individuals may file a “no contact” order, but the information from birth registrations and adoption orders, including identifying information will be available. If a “no contact” order is filed there are significant penalties for anyone who breaches the order.
People may file a “notice of contact preference” i.e. a person may specify how they would like to be contacted after the release of their information (e.g. in writing, by phone, etc.).
For adoptions made after September 1, 2008, no contact orders or contact preference orders may be filed.
Please contact the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society if you would like further information about the adoption disclosure process or if you would like to speak with the Regional Adoption Disclosure Worker
Adoption Awareness Month (Every November)
November is Adoption Awareness Month, a time when Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario raise awareness with their communities about the continuing need for adoptive or kin families for the children in their care. Creating permanency for children and youth in a key focal point for Ontario CAS’s.
The Regional Adoption Program of Highland Shores Children’s Aid, Durham Children’s Aid Society and Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society believes that every child has the right to grow and develop in a supportive family environment.
We hope that be focusing on adoption during the month of November, we can encourage the members of our communities to learn more about the process and ultimately consider accepting a child or youth as a permanent part of their family. In this way, we hope that one day our goal of finding a home for every child in Ontario who needs one will become a reality.