"This legislation will give adoptees the same rights as non-adopted individuals, while allowing those who wish to maintain their privacy to do so," said Sanda Pupatello, Minister of Community and Social Services. "It strikes the right balance and recognizes that the right to information is not the same as the right to a relationship."
The new adoption information law will -
1) Give adoptees who are 18 years old or older the right to obtain copies of their original birth records and adoption orders that would provide them with their original birth name and may identify birth parents.
2) Provide birth parents with access to information from the adoptee's birth records and adoption orders once the adoptee has reached 19 years of age, which could allow them to learn the adoptee's name after adoption.
3) Allow the Child and Family Services Review Board to prohibit disclosure of identifying information in circumstances where there are concerns for personal safety.
4) Give all parties the right to put a "no contact" notice on their file, prohibiting each party from contacting the other.
"Many birth parents and adoptees in this province have waited decades for this day to arrive, we're finally here," said Wendy Rowney of the Coalition for Open Adoption Records.
Currently, it can take up to four years to reunite families through Ontario's adoptee disclosure register. In 2004, only 887 individuals out of 57,000 who were on the register were reunited.
The legislation will come into full effect in approximately 18 months.