Saturday, September 22, 2007

Striking down adoption disclosure law probably the right call

Societies change and so do laws but it should be a priority of government to avoid retrospective actions, creating difficulties for citizens who made good faith, legal decisions only to find the law changed adversely in a way that compromises those decisions.

The decision by Ontario to disclose the identity of adoptees and birth parents without the safeguard of a veto by either side was set aside by the Superior Court of Ontario this week. The change in the law was pushed by Marilyn Churley, a former NDP MPP who had gone through a lot of anguish to find the child she gave up.

Unfortunately she pushed Ontario law up to and past other jurisdictions who recognised that adoption is one of the ultimate "hard cases make bad law" situations and gave little recognisance to the bargain which women made decades ago in the form of a veto.

The only safeguard offered to either children or parents was to levy massive fines against the party who refused to stop attempting to make contact to the party whose identity was disclosed with a "no-contact" stipulation - only in exceptional issues of security were disclosure vetoes permitted.

Rather than push on to the Supreme Court with a decision that was bitterly opposed by many including the Province's Privacy Commissioner, the government should lower its sights, restore the veto for adoptions existing prior to the passage of the legislation and ensure that parents giving up children in the future are adequately informed of the possibility of being contacted in the future.

Dan Michaluk has written about this too, and being an actual lawyer his post just might make more sense :)
Post a Comment