All of this led to the Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, which passed into law just over a week ago. It is still commonly called Bill 89.
Bill 89 is a child protection bill that aims to make changes to our foster care and adoption system across Ontario. It regulates the Children’s Aid Societies, which includes over 40 organizations across the province responsible for responding to child protection concerns.
The impetus for Bill 89 was, in part, the murder of a 7-year-old girlwhile in the care of her Children’s Aid Society-appointed guardians.
The new law makes a number of innocuous changes and even some positive ones to how children who are abused and/or abandoned will be treated.
Yet the controversy stems from the inclusion of language from the Ontario Human Rights Code into the new child welfare act. This takes us right back to 2012 when “gender identity and gender expression,” two nebulous terms, were added into the Human Rights Code.
Prior to Bill 89, social workers considered principles in a child protection case—principles like continuity of care, stable family relationships, and respecting cultural, religious, and regional differences.
After Bill 89, social workers attempting to assess a child’s situation must now consider the specifics of the Ontario Human Rights Code, including “[a] child’s or young person’s race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”This is really happening on our continent.