Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ontario's children that "never existed"

According to the Star, some children born in Ontario are not being registered (up to 3% of 130,000 births in the province annually) because it costs up to $35 depending on the municipality and low income and single parents are unable to afford it. The effect of this is that deaths of these infants are not recorded either - it's as if they never existed. This is born out of the Harris era where the costs of registering children is borne by municipalities (such as Toronto) and passed on to the parents.

I have to say am not impressed with how children's services work in this province. I'm thinking especially of child protection, a function one would normally expect to be a direct arm of government but which in Ontario is farmed out to voluntary Children's Aid Societies, some of which are denominational such as the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto which failed in its duty to protect Jeffery Baldwin.

It is unconscionable that children can go unregistered and unacknowledged as Canadians because of their parents' poverty. Arguably as citizens of Canada, registration should be a federal responsibility but regardless of the responsibility this is a disgrace and should be eliminated - I thought this country had got rid of head taxes.

UPDATE: The Globe and Mail has posted an article on this issue.
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