Opening Records in Ontario
The countdown is on! On June 1, 2009 Ontario will open its adoption records to adopted adults and their parents at birth.
What does this mean?
As of June 1, adopted adults (aged 18 or older) and original parents (of adoptees aged 19 or older) will be able to access the adoptee’s original birth certificate. Birth parents will also be able to access the adoptee’s amended birth certificate. Both of these documents contain identifying information about the other party.
I am adopted. Where can I get my information?
Beginning on June 1, application forms for original birth certificates will be available at ServiceOntario* (www.serviceontario.
ca) You will need to print out the form and mail it to the address provided on the website.
If you submitted an application form for your original birth certificate before Judge Belobaba ruled the previous law unconstitutional, you do not need to send in a new application form. The government will fill those applications before turning to those it receives after June 1.
You will receive a copy of your original birth certificate. It will give you:
* your name at birth
* your birth mother’s name at the time of your birth
* your birth father’s name, in some cases
If your birth parent has filed a contact veto, you will receive it along with your original birth certificate. If your birth parent has filed a disclosure veto, you will receive it instead of any identifying information.
I am a birth parent. Where can I get information about my adult child?
Beginning on June 1, applications forms for original birth certificates will be available at ServiceOntario (www.serviceontario.
ca.) You will need to print out the form and mail it to the address provided on the website.
If you submitted an application form before Judge Belobaba ruled the previous law unconstitutional, you do not need to send in a new application form. The government will fill those applications before turning to those it receives after June 1.
You will receive:
* a copy of the original birth certificate naming you as the parent of your child
* information from the amended birth certificate. You will receive the name your child was given after adoption. The names of your child’s adoptive parents will be blacked out.
If your adult child has filed a contact veto, you will receive it along with the original and amended birth certificates. If your adult child has filed a disclosure veto, you will receive it instead of any identifying information.
What other services are available under the new law?
Adoption Disclosure Registry
Adopted adults and birth relatives can place their name on a government run registry. Applications for the registry are available at www.serviceontario.
ca. Once the government receives your application for the registry, they will check to see if another family member has also registered. If there is a match (i.e. two parties have registered) the government will notify both individuals and arrange for the release of information.
Adopted adults, birth relatives, and adoptive parents may apply for non-identifying information. This is information that was collected at the time of the adoption. It will come to you as a summary compiled by a social worker or as a direct copy of the files themselves.
If a CAS handled the adoption, you need to write to the CAS and ask for a copy of the non-identifying information. Make sure to include a copy of your identification.
If a private agency or individual (e.g. lawyer or doctor) facilitated the adoption, you need to go to www.serviceontario.
ca , print off, and mail in the form for non-identifying information.
It is important to note that no identifying information will be released this way.
Severe Medical Searches
Adoptees and their descendants, and birth relatives may apply to the government for a search done for medical reasons. The government’s doctor will decide whether a search will go forward. Applicants must demonstrate that they need information vital to the diagnosis or treatment of a disease or that they have information vital to the diagnosis of a disease to pass along to the other party. Applications for a Severe Medal Search are available at ServiceOntario at www.serviceontario.
What is a Contact Preference Form?
This is a new form that allows adopted adults and their birth parents to specify how they would like to be contacted. You will find the form atwww.serviceontario.
ca. Again, you need to fill it out and mail it in to the government.
NOTE: If you are hoping for a reunion, we strongly urge you to fill out this form immediately and send it in. When the other party applies for the birth certificate, s/he will also then receive the contact preference form with your contact details on it. This will make the search much easier and significantly decrease the time you will need to wait for a reunion.
If you want to read the Access to Adoption Information Act (ARRA) in its entirety, go to www.e-laws.gov.
on.ca and search.
* You can get your application form in one of four ways:
· Download and print them from the ServiceOntario website
· Go to a ServiceOntario kiosk in places throughout the province
· Phone toll-free: 1 800 461-2156 or in Toronto: 416 325-8305
· Visit a Government of Ontario office, but phone first!
Should you have any questions about what the law changes mean to you, please feel free to contact any of us, or to take your questions to a local adoption support group.
The COAR Coordinating Committee