Ontario PCs want to make it next to impossible to sue the government

Ontario PCs want to make it next to impossible to sue the government
Posted on April 18, 2019 | Derek Flegg | Written on April 18, 2019
Letter type:
Blog Post

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Old news, fake news and lies to some - to others it's historic facts and information that the average person, using normal and honest judgment, would need in order to make an informed decision.
"Because there's nothing to hide..."
Ontario PCs want to make it next to impossible to sue the government.
(Will any of the other parties actually oppose Doug Ford?)
Legislation buried in budget bill would make many government actions immune to civil suits
Lucas Powers · CBC News · Posted: Apr 14, 2019
Parents lose second bid to launch class-action suit against Motherisk over flawed hair tests.
Any wonder? It wasn't the Motherisk lab at Sick Kids staff going door to door forcing poor parents to take the test threatening to apprehend children based on nothing but suspicion.. CBC reported the Motherisk came back positive for drugs in 93% of the time..
The results they wanted when they wanted them...
By RACHEL MENDLESON Investigative Reporter. Tues., Nov. 27, 2018.
Motherisk hair test rejected by judge — 22 years before scandal blew up.
US defense lawyers and judges weren't fooled for a second by the scientific sounding test - so what's wrong with our lawyers and family court legal system?
A Motherisk expert testified for the defence in a Colorado murder case. The judge mocked the lab’s processes. But the case remained virtually unknown in Ontario until now.
So what exactly is the controversy?
As it turns out, for more than two decades Motherisk performed flawed drug and alcohol testing on thousands of vulnerable families across Canada, skewing decisions in over 35,000 child protection cases and 4 criminal trials.
Families were torn apart. As Susan Lang, the independent reviewer who investigated the scandal, said: “losing your child is the capital punishment of child protection law.”
What went wrong? Lang’s report exposed a litany of flaws in how Motherisk conducted its tests. The picture that emerges, very clearly, is a case of flawed process, not flawed science.
1. The tests were preliminary
The tests performed by Motherisk relied on the unconfirmed results of its enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay (ELISA) tests.
ELISA is often used as a screening tool before more in-depth tests are undertaken. It can be used in toxicology as a rapid presumptive screen for certain classes of drugs. It’s useful if you need to screen a large number of samples when the presumption that only a small percentage will test positive. But it’s not definitive and the results can be erroneously interpreted.
You may like: 3 big New Year's resolutions for the hair drug and alcohol testing industry
The Motherisk Lab did not follow-up its presumed positive ELISA results with follow-on in-depth tests. Therefore, the results simply could not be relied upon to provide the absolute certainty needed.
As Craig Chatterton, a forensic toxicologist and a proponent of hair sample testing, correctly explains in the CBC report on Motherisk, a preliminary test like ELISA can be spot on - but, tragically for the families implicated, it can be 100% incorrect, too.
Susan Lang’s report went on to say "No forensic toxicology laboratory in the world uses ELISA testing the way MTDL [Motherisk] did."
2. Motherisk had no written standard operating procedures
Having standard, professional operating procedures in place is one of the central pillars of any testing environment, not just hair sample testing.
In this regard, Motherisk failed egregiously. The Lang report found no evidence of any written standard operating procedures at Motherisk. This raises serious doubts about the reliability and, crucially, the standardisation of its testing procedures.
Both forensic and clinical laboratories should have standard operating procedures in place for each of the tests they perform. Motherisk had no clear, documented procedures which means the processes could have varied substantially in each individual case, calling into question, rightly, the integrity of the lab’s results.
3. No transparency
Motherisk’s next misstep was the lack of formal process and documentation meant that it was almost impossible for any third party to robustly assess its results.
When the entire process isn’t adequately captured, it becomes easy for the lab to skirt over anomalies and simplify conclusions.
At Cansford Labs, for instance, we share the evidence in full. This is an absolutely vital component when the test will be involved in a highly sensitive matter like child custody.
The fact that Motherisk offered no insight into how its results were arrived at beggars belief.
4. Inadequate training and oversight
The inadequacy and transparency issues within Motherisk seeped all the way into the employees at the lab.
From reading the Lang report, Motherisk scientists were operating without any forensic training or oversight. The ELISA tests were inadequate, but even if they weren’t, the individuals interpreting the results weren’t properly trained.
Nobody at Motherisk, including, rather incredibly, Dr. Koren himself, had the proper training. He was a shill... (an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others.)
The lack of training manifested in all manner of amateurish mistakes. Staff routinely failed to wash hair samples before analysis, for example. One mother tested positive for alcohol because her alcohol-laced hairspray had not been washed off the sample. With the right training and process, these issues could easily have been avoided.
5. A compromised chain of custody
In the CBC report into Motherisk, one mother recalls how her second test was conducted after she disputed the first test’s results: “With my second test, the hair was done in the social worker’s office with the scissors out of her desk, tape off her desk and cardboard from the trash.”
Her sample tested positive for crystal meth, but laughably when she next saw her “hair sample”, the hair that allegedly belonged to her was longer and a different colour.
It should go without saying, but any robust testing process requires professionalism throughout. It’s not just about testing the sample, but also about how the sample is collected and treated.
The chain of custody is of paramount importance. Trusted professionals need to be present at every stage of the process, guided by the lab that will do the testing, and the procedures need to be the same for every single case.
Motherisk wasn't an aberration.
When things go as wrong as they did at Motherisk, it’s important not to stick our heads in the sand. Especially when it involves vulnerable individuals.
But Motherisk wasn't a tragic and disastrous aberration... The society using what they call a lower standard for reasonable grounds for suspicion specifically targeted the most venerable members of our society...
The science of hair sample testing remains a powerful tool when the analysis is done correctly, appropriately, with quality control and assurances and interpreted by qualified experts.
Indeed, it’s only right that for vulnerable individuals, that nothing but the best will do. A fact that Motherisk seemingly forgot.
"All of us can be harmed': Investigation reveals hundreds of Canadians have phoney degrees." Business ·CBC Marketplace
UPDATE: After this story was published, Gilbert Correces's lawyer contacted Marketplace and shared Correces's master's degree in social work from the University of the Philippines.
Marketplace also received a copy of a 25-page dissertation Correces alleges to have submitted for his PhD from Almeda University. He also said he understood his work was received and approved by Almeda.
Marketplace has verified that more than 30 per cent of this essay was plagiarized.
"Who should be responsible for cracking down and protecting Canadians from people with fake degrees?"
Ezell believes there's plenty of responsibility to be spread around, from individuals to professional bodies to police but "It goes to the employer when they're presented with the credentials to check it out by forwarding a copy of the credentials to the appropriate regulatory body and then if you find something irregular, notify the law enforcement."
Correces is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. But Marketplace could not find his name in the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario database.
A Marketplace investigation of the world's largest diploma mill has discovered many Canadians could be putting their health and well-being in the hands of nurses, engineers, counsellors and other professionals with phoney credentials.
Fake diplomas are a billion-dollar industry, according to experts, and Marketplace obtained business records of its biggest player, a Pakistan-based IT firm called Axact. The team spent months combing through thousands of degree transactions, cross referencing personal information with customers' social media profiles.
The investigation revealed more than 800 Canadians could have purchased a fake degree.
"Keep in mind this is just the one operation," said Allen Ezell, a former FBI agent who investigated diploma mills for decades. "This does not give you totality of how many are being sold throughout Canada by all schools that are operating."
Ezell, who co-wrote the book Degree Mills: The Billion-Dollar Industry That Has Sold Over a Million Fake Diplomas, estimates half of new PhDs issued every year in the U.S. are fake.
Former FBI agent Allen Ezell estimates half of new PhDs issued every year in the U.S. are fake. (CBC)
The impact of fake degrees is twofold, he said. They devalue legitimate degrees that people spend years and thousands of dollars earning. More importantly, professionals like engineers and health-care workers who lack the proper skills and expertise can put the public at risk.
"All of us can be harmed by any professional that … does not have the full extent of training that his credentials purport that he has," Ezell said.
"We can be harmed across the board, every day."
GO PUBLIC| Toronto lawyer out $100K after hiring fraudster with fake law degree
Axact's school websites are slick, and names like Harvey University, Barkley University and Nixon University give the supposed U.S.-based schools an air of Ivy League authenticity.
There are hundreds of Axact-linked schools that offer a range of educational opportunities with faculty ready to assist 24/7. Some schools even have a degree verification department for any third-party requesting transcripts or proof of attendance.
But none of the schools has a physical address, faculty photos are often stock images, and even the accreditation bodies the websites cite are fake.
One can often qualify for high school diplomas, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees or PhDs based on "life experience" and can purchase them for as little as a few hundred dollars.
As Marketplace discovered, Axact customers aren't shy about touting their degrees on their LinkedIn profiles, or displaying them proudly on their office walls.
'Those are my certificates'
Gilbert Correces didn't need any prompting before showing off his credentials to two undercover Marketplace journalists posing as a couple seeking counselling at his Toronto office.
"Those are my certificates up there," Correces said, pointing to a framed PhD in biblical counselling from Almeda University.
A picture of counsellor Gilbert Correces's doctorate in biblical counselling. Does it look official? (CBC )
Correces was working as an independent contractor at A1 Counselling. According to his A1 profile, he's a counsellor, social worker and psychotherapist who specializes in helping people cope with substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and the trauma of child abuse.
"I went to the [United States] to work and study at the same time," he said of his time working on his dissertation at Almeda University in Boise, Idaho.
His LinkedIn profile says he finished with a 4.0 GPA.
But the PhD and Correces's alma mater are both fake. Almeda University is affiliated with Axact's international diploma mill scheme, and is not an accredited post-secondary institution. There is no campus, just a website where customers can trade "life experience" and money for a degree.
"Counsellor" is not a protected title in Ontario — meaning anyone can call themselves a counsellor, regardless of their credentials. "Psychotherapist" and "social worker" are protected titles, requiring a certain level of education and registration provincially with the appropriate professional bodies.
Therapy and counselling is not just a benign endeavour — it can provide harm.
- Dr. Alan Leschied, psychologist and professor at Western University
Correces is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. But Marketplace could not find his name in the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario database.
Dr. Alan Leschied, a psychologist and professor at Western University in London, Ont., said it's preposterous people are able to work with questionable credentials.
"Therapy and counselling is not just a benign endeavour — it can provide harm."
He reviewed parts of the Marketplace counselling sessions with Correces and said there was cause for concern.
"You don't disclose things of a personal nature, inappropriate, that are focused on yourself ... If you're just telling these stories because you're trying to be seen by your clients in certain ways … those are boundary violations."
Caught on camera: Man practises counselling with fake degree WATCH 0:00 02:02.
Gilbert Correces is caught on camera working as a counsellor with a fake PhD in biblical counselling. 2:02
Marketplace enrols
To see what it takes to get a fake degree, Marketplace — using the anagram Peter Ma Lack, and with the help of former FBI agent Allen Ezell — decided to purchase a PhD in biblical counselling from Almeda University, like the one hanging on Correces's wall.
Qualifying for a PhD wasn't difficult. Lack provided Almeda University's "Professor Keith Evans" a backstory over the phone detailing his work experience and past education. He immediately qualified without ever providing a resume.
Evans then tried to upsell Lack a PhD from Gatesville University, another Axact-affiliated school that claimed to be based in Stockton, Calif.
Lack insisted on a degree from Almeda University, so Gatesville University came back with a package deal: a PhD in psychology from Gatesville University and a PhD in biblical counselling from Almeda University for $3,200 US. After complaining about the hefty price tag, Gatesville lowered it to $2,500.
A parcel arrived in the mail after several weeks, but there was a problem: only one degree was included — a PhD in psychology from Gatesville University.
Check out Marketplace's marks from Gatesville University. No school work required. (CBC)
After hassling Gatesville University for weeks about the missing biblical counselling PhD from Almeda University, the school sent Lack another degree, this time via email.
But there was another problem: the PhD was in psychology, not biblical counselling.
After even more hassling, Gatesville emailed another degree, this time with the correct label.
Marketplace's PhD in biblical counselling — very similar to the one that was hanging in Gilbert Correces's office in Toronto. (CBC)
In total, Marketplace received three PhDs (one for free), transcripts (3.92 GPA) and record of attendance papers.
Total cost: $1,550 US.
Customers 'not innocent'
With the help of former employees, court documents, and by piecing together digital clues online, Marketplace was able to identify more than 100 fake online schools and accreditation bodies connected to Axact.
Yasir Jamshaid, a former quality assurance employee at the company, said 95 per cent of the education customers "were crooks themselves."
"They knew they're buying something that is not real but they're still going for it. They're not innocent."
But he said when he blew the whistle on Axact in early 2015, he recovered approximately $600,000 for about 20 customers who he believes were actually duped. He said some of those customers spent tens of thousands of dollars on their fake education.
"You can tell in his own conscience this person wanted a real education," he said. "This guy or girl or woman couldn't get an education while on the job … and they're really genuine victims."
Pakistani authorities raided Axact's office following a New York Times report on the company that quoted Jamshaid. After the company shut down, authorities recovered hundreds of thousands of blank degrees, certificates and other documents from its offices. Several high-level officials were charged. None of them was ever convicted.
Umair Hamid, Axact’s assistant vice-president of international relations, pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in New York’s Southern District Court. (Elizabeth Williams)
But in December 2016, the FBI arrested Umair Hamid, Axact's assistant vice-president of international relations, who was trying to set up a bank account in the U.S. He originally pleaded not guilty, but in April he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in New York's Southern District Court.
Hamid was sentenced in August to 21 months in prison. He was also ordered to forfeit more than $5 million.
Despite the conviction, it appears to be business as usual for many of Axact's schools.
Here's one of Axact's offices, located in Islamabad, Pakistan. Marketplace obtained company business records that revealed more than 800 people across Canada have purchased fake degrees. (CBC)
In a written response, Axact's U.S. lawyer, Todd A. Holleman, said the company "does not own or operate any online education web sites [sic] or schools, and there has never been any evidence produced to show that Axact owns or operates any such web sites [sic] or schools."
Holleman indicated that the diploma mills were created by clients of Axact and that it "does not condone or support any alleged wrongful or fraudulent conduct by its clients, who are independent businesses."
Who's responsible?
So who should be responsible for cracking down and protecting Canadians from people with fake degrees?
Ezell believes there's plenty of responsibility to be spread around, from individuals to professional bodies to police.
"It's everyone's problem," he said. "The people have to do their homework when they're getting ready to sign up with a school.
"It then goes to the employer when they're presented with the credentials to check it out. And then if you find something irregular, notify law enforcement."
Uttering a forged document is a criminal offence that can lead to jail time, said Michael Juskey, a Toronto criminal lawyer.
"If you act upon the document knowing and believing it is not genuine, you are potentially liable for that offence," he said. "It's fraud. It's a crime of dishonesty. Absolutely, you're opening yourself up [criminally]."
'I did not cheat'
Weeks after the counselling sessions, Marketplace approached Correces about his fake PhD and asked whether he thought he was violating the trust of his clients.
"I'm not," he said. "I'm using my skills."
Correces said he "did not cheat" when asked about having a similar Almeda University PhD as the one Marketplace purchased without doing any school work. Correces insisted he completed his dissertation in order to acquire his degree from Almeda.
A1 Counselling told Marketplace Correces's contract has since been terminated but would not explain why. His LinkedIn profile has also been taken down.
Watch the season premiere of Marketplace Friday, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m. on CBC.
Eric Szeto is an investigative journalist at CBC.
“You know your system is based on the flimsiest of foundations when you have absolutely no standards on who can do this work,” adds Gharabaghi, director of Ryerson University’s school of child and youth care.
Mary Ballantyne, CEO of Ontario's Association of Children's Aid Societies claimed the new training for workers announced in 2017 in place of professional regulation was to give the public more confidence when a worker comes to their door the worker will be fully qualified to remove children if deemed necessary using a scientific sounding eligibility spectrum that's only as reliable as the person collecting and entering the data, unlike the Motherisk drug test.
Mary did fail to mention the new training was result of a 2015 Ontario Human an Rights Commission's report and the new training wasn't exactly voluntary..
Regulation of child protection workers by Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers: CUPE responds.
Please send or adapt any of the following letters to the Executive Director of your CAS.
DRAFT Letter 2 – Professionalism
I understand that there are plans in the works to force anyone who works in child protection to register with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
One of the reasons given for this change is that regulation will result in higher quality services and bring greater professionalism to the field and that this will improve the standard of child protection work in Ontario.
I would like to point out that a failure to meet standards of care in child protection work is very rarely the result of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity on the part of individual child protection workers.
The stated purpose of the College is to protect the public from unqualified, incompetent or unfit practitioners.
But children’s aid societies already set those standards and ensure their adherence: they determine the job qualifications. They deal with employees they deem to be unqualified or incompetent. And CASs decide whether child protection work in their area can be performed by someone who holds a Bachelor’s degree and has child welfare experience.
I may not hold a BSW or MSW degree, enjoy membership in the College or be subject to its regulation. But I am a professional practitioner in the child protection sector and, as such, I cannot countenance this move toward the regulation of the child protection workforce. I am resolved to fight it at every step of the way and instead campaign for the measures that will bring real benefits to at-risk youth, children and families.
DRAFT Letter 6 – Privacy and discipline
The move toward a regulated child protection workforce in Ontario gives me cause for serious concern about my privacy as a child protection worker.
One of the rationalizations for registration and regulation with the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers is the restoration of public confidence in Ontario’s child protection system.
But violating my rights to privacy and confidentiality will do nothing to achieve this goal.
And what right to privacy?
A person employed by or acting as an agent for another person, private agency or government is not on their own time and have no right to privacy PERSONAL OR OTHERWISE.
Follow the link to read a lot more of this bullshit...
"Passing the buck..."
CAS funded research indicates that many professionals overreport families based on stereotypes around racial identities. Both Indigenous and Africa-Canadian children and youth are overrepresented in child welfare due to systemic racism but for some reason a document called “Yes, You Can. Dispelling the Myths About Sharing Information with Children’s Aid Societies” was jointly released by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Advocate.
The document, targeted the same professionals who work with children that CAS research indicated already over-reported families, and was a critical reminder that a call to Children’s Aid is not a privacy violation when a professional claims it concerns the safety of a child.
Mary Ballantyne CEO of OACAS says, the next step is to have Ontario's estimated 5,160 child protection social workers registered and regulated by a professional college. Fifty-five per cent have a bachelor's (BSW) or master's degree in social work. A BSW is the minimum required to join the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, which is discussing the registration process with societies. Apr 03, 2016. Toronto Star
2017: "It is unclear what additional role college registration would provide" says Mary Ballantyne, CEO of OACAS. Toronto Star.
Mary Ballantyne, CEO of Ontario's Association of Children's Aid Societies academic credentials include and are limited to a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Guelph and a Masters of Industrial Relations – Human Resource Management from Queens University. Mary also volunteers on the the independent PRDC. From the OACAS website.
A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can't understand others' feelings. They'll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause.
People with ASPD may also use “mind games” to control friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers. They may also be perceived as charismatic or charming.
Under suspicion: Concerns about child welfare.
In 2015, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) began a year-long consultation to learn more about the nature of racial profiling in Ontario. Our aim was to gather information to help us guide organizations, individuals and communities on how to identify, address and prevent racial profiling. We connected with people and organizations representing diverse perspectives. We conducted an online survey, analyzed cases (called applications) at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario that alleged racial profiling, held a policy dialogue consultation, and reviewed academic research. We conducted focus groups with Indigenous peoples and received written submissions. Overall, almost 1,650 individuals and organizations told us about their experiences or understanding of racial profiling in Ontario.
Ways to address concerns about racial profiling in child welfare.
Preventing and addressing racial profiling is a shared responsibility. Government, child welfare organizations and other responsible organizations must take concrete action and decisive steps to prevent, identify and respond to racial profiling.
The OHRC has made many recommendations over several years to address racial profiling. These recommendations are included in our report, Under suspicion. Where applicable, they should be used to identify how racial profiling may be taking place in the child welfare system. They also identify specific approaches organizations should use to prevent and address racial profiling.
Overall, consultation participants agreed with the following broad strategies to prevent and address racial profiling:
Anti-bias training
Developing policies, procedures and guidelines
Effective accountability monitoring and accountability
mechanisms, including:
complaint procedures
disciplinary measures
collecting, analyzing and reporting on data
Holistic organizational change strategy
Communication (external and internal)
Engagement with affected stakeholders.
The OHRC is also very concerned that the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous children in the child welfare system is a possible indicator of systemic racism. We conducted a public interest inquiry to examine this issue. We requested that CASs across the province provide us with data on race and other information. In the preliminary analysis of the data, we found that for many CASs across the province, African Canadian and Indigenous children are overrepresented in care, compared to their census populations.
Concerns about risk assessment standards and tools.
Consultation participants raised concerns about bias in the tools and standards used to assess risk to children. Although they seem neutral, we heard that risk assessment standards and tools may lean towards more positive outcomes for White people.
Social work researchers argue that risk assessment tools in Ontario are biased and perpetuate racism because they do not account for structural inequalities, such as racial discrimination, that may affect a child’s well-being. Parents may be blamed for these external factors, even though they are largely out of their control. We heard that relying on these tools, coupled with worker bias – which may be conscious or unconscious – may contribute to assumptions about racialized children and families being “inherently wrong or deficient.” This can lead to incorrect assumptions about the level of risk children are exposed to.
We also heard concerns about risk assessment standards that relate to poverty – for example, the number of children allowed per bedroom. Poverty in racialized and Indigenous families may be seen as a sign of neglect, providing a basis for a child welfare agency to become involved. We heard that these standards can affect what is seen as acceptable in a home and contribute to CAS decisions to intervene.
It is unclear to what extent child welfare risk assessment standards and tools reflect real risk to children in all cases, or arise from White, Western, Christian middle-class norms. When standards and tools are not based on objective factors, but on the cultural norms of the dominant group, they may contribute to racial profiling.
Concerns about biased decision-making
Concerns were also raised both about the perceived bias of authorities or individuals that refer to CASs, and perceived bias in decision-making practices when child welfare workers and authorities become involved with families. Participants said that child welfare workers, many of whom are White, may be more likely to construe family situations or the actions of Indigenous or racialized people as “risky.”
The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) identified that Indigenous families experience “intense scrutiny of [their] ways of life” (for more information, see the full OHRC report, Under suspicion: Research and consultation report on racial profiling in Ontario). We repeatedly heard that non-Indigenous child welfare workers often do not understand the nature or structure of Indigenous families and cultural differences in how families live. For example, they only see that children are not being raised by their parents or are living in what they think are over-crowded conditions. In another example, Indigenous youth told us that they are sometimes put into care because they miss a lot of school due to practicing their traditions and taking part in ceremonies.
Social work researchers talked about some of the factors that may contribute to the over-scrutiny of Black parents, and the tendency to view Black parents as risks to their children and in need of intervention by CASs. For example, researchers note that child welfare authorities commonly view Black parents as “aggressive” and “crazy” when they are externalizing resistance, grief, fear or shame. They also note that Black children are perceived as needing “rescuing” from their parents. As well, we heard how Black families may be reported to CAS because their children eat non-Western foods that are specific to their culture.
Next steps. The OHRC will:
Release the results of our public interest inquiry
Develop specific policy guidance to help individuals, community groups and organizations understand how racial profiling can be identified, prevented and addressed in the child welfare sector
Continue to call for the collection of race-based data and data on other Code grounds to better understand if racial disparities exist in this sector
Continue to work with community stakeholders to enhance public education on racial profiling.
For more information
To find out more about racial profiling in the child welfare and other sectors, the full Under suspicion report is available online at www.ohrc.on.ca.
To file a human rights claim (called an application), contact the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario at:
If you need legal help, contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre at:
Toll Free: 1-866-625-5179
TTY Toll Free: 1-866-612-8627
"Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 proclaimed in force."
Mary Ballantyne, CEO of Ontario's Association of Children's Aid Societies claimed the new training was to give the public more confidence when a worker comes to their door the worker will be fully qualified to remove children if deemed necessary using a scientific sounding eligibility spectrum that's only as reliable as the person collecting and entering the data.
The new regulation was updated to only require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College.
The majority of local directors, supervisors, child protection workers and adoption workers have social work or social service work education, yet fewer than 10% are registered with the OCSWSSW.
The existing regulations made under the CFSA predated the regulation of social work and social service work in Ontario and therefore their focus on the credential was understandable.
However, today a credential focus is neither reasonable nor defensible. Social work and social service work are regulated professions in Ontario.
Updating the regulations under the new CYFSA provides an important opportunity for the Government to protect the Ontario public from incompetent, unqualified and unfit professionals and to prevent a serious risk of harm to children and youth, as well as their families.
Key concerns:
The absence of a requirement for CAS child protection workers to be registered with the College: ignores the public protection mandate of the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 (SWSSWA); avoids the fact that social workers and social service workers are regulated professions in Ontario and ignores the College’s important role in protecting the Ontario public from harm caused by incompetent, unqualified or unfit practitioners; allows CAS staff to operate outside the system of public protection and oversight that the Government has established through professional regulation; and fails to provide the assurance to all Ontarians that they are receiving services from CAS staff who are registered with, and accountable to, the College.
Since it began operations in 2000, the OCSWSSW has worked steadily and completely unseen to silently address the issue of child protection workers.
Unfortunately, many CASs have been circumventing professional regulation of their staff by requiring that staff have social work education yet discouraging those same staff from registering with the OCSWSSW.
The new regulation was updated to only require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College.
The majority of local directors, supervisors, child protection workers and adoption workers have social work or social service work education, yet fewer than 10% are registered with the OCSWSSW.
The existing regulations made under the CFSA predated the regulation of social work and social service work in Ontario and therefore their focus on the credential was understandable.
However, today a credential focus is neither reasonable nor defensible. Social work and social service work are regulated professions in Ontario.
Updating the regulations under the new CYFSA provides an important opportunity for the Government to protect the Ontario public from incompetent, unqualified and unfit professionals and to prevent a serious risk of harm to children and youth, as well as their families.
As Minister Coteau said in second reading debate of Bill 89, "protecting and supporting children and youth is not just an obligation, it is our moral imperative, our duty and our privilege—each and every one of us in this Legislature, our privilege—in shaping the future of this province."
A "social worker" or a "social service worker" is by law someone who is registered with the OCSWSSW. Furthermore, as noted previously, the Ontario public has a right to assume that when they receive services that are provided by someone who is required to have a social work degree (or a social service work diploma), that person is registered with the OCSWSSW.
The OCSWSSW also has processes for equivalency, permitting those with a combination of academic qualifications and experience performing the role of a social worker or social service worker to register with the College.
These processes address, among other things, the risk posed by "fake degrees" and other misrepresentations of qualifications, ensuring Ontarians know that a registered social worker or social service worker has the education and/or experience to do their job.
The review of academic credentials and knowledge regarding academic programs is an area of expertise of a professional regulatory body. An individual employer will not have the depth of experience with assessing the validity of academic credentials nor the knowledge of academic institutions to be able to uncover false credentials or misrepresentations of qualifications on a reliable basis.
Setting, maintaining and holding members accountable to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. These minimum standards apply to all OCSWSSW members, regardless of the areas or context in which they practise. Especially relevant in the child welfare context are principles that address confidentiality and privacy, competence and integrity, record-keeping, and sexual misconduct.
Maintaining fair and rigorous complaints and discipline processes. These processes differ from government oversight systems and process-oriented mechanisms within child welfare, as well as those put in place by individual employers like a CAS. They focus on the conduct of individual professionals.
Furthermore, transparency regarding referrals of allegations of misconduct and discipline findings and sanctions ensures that a person cannot move from employer to employer when there is an allegation referred to a hearing or a finding after a discipline hearing that their practice does not meet minimum standards.
Submission-re-Proposed-Regulations-under-the-CYFSA-January-25-2018. OCSWSSW May 1, 2018
If you have any practice questions or concerns related to the new CYFSA, please contact the Professional Practice Department at 416-972-9882 or 1-877-828-9380 or email practice@ocswssw.org.
Between 2014\15 the Ontario children's aid society claim to have spent $467.9 million dollars providing protective services that doesn't seem to extent to the 90 to 120 children that die in Ontario's foster care and group homes that are overseen and funded by the CAS.
In a National Post feature article in June 2009, Kevin Libin portrayed an industry in which abuses are all too common. One source, a professor of social work, claims that a shocking 15%-20% of children under CAS oversight suffer injury or neglect.
Several CAS insiders whom Libin interviewed regard the situation as systemically hopeless.
A clinical psychologist with decades of experience advocating for children said, “I would love to just demolish the system and start from scratch again.”
Between 2008 and 2012 the PDRC choose to review the deaths of 215 children in care. In 92 of those cases the cause of death could not be determined while the majority of the remaining deaths were listed as homicides, suicide and accidental. The PRDC reported during that same time period only 15 children with pre-existing medical conditions in care had died of unpreventable natural causes.
Canada in Afghanistan - Fallen Canadian Armed Forces Members.
One hundred and fifty-eight (158) Canadian Armed Forces members lost their lives in service while participating in our country’s military efforts in Afghanistan. You can click on the names to explore their entries in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
“There are lots of kids in group homes all over Ontario and they are not doing well — and everybody knows it,” says Kiaras Gharabaghi, a member of a government-appointed panel that examined the residential care system in 2016.
“It is stunning to me how these children... are rendered invisible while they are alive and invisible in their death,” said Irwin Elman, Ontario’s advocate for children and youth. Between 90 and 120 children and youth connected to children’s aid die every year. (rendered invisible by the PDRC)
Between 2008/2012 natural causes was listed as the least likely way for a child in Ontario's care to die at 7% (only 15) out of the total deaths reviewed while "undetermined cause" was listed as the leading cause of death of children in Ontario's child protection system at 43% of the total deaths reviewed. The of the deaths were categorized as homicide, suicide and accidental.
43% equals 92 children out of just the deaths reviewed by the PDRC. 92 mystery deaths and like every other year no further action was taken to determine the cause...
Undetermined means those 92 had no pre-existing medical conditions and there was no reason for them to have died.
Use of 'behaviour-altering' drugs widespread in foster, group homes.
2014.. Almost half of children and youth in foster and group home care aged 5 to 17 — 48.6 percent — are on drugs, such as Ritalin, tranquilizers and anticonvulsants, according to a yearly survey conducted for the provincial government and the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS). At ages 16 and 17, fully 57 per cent are on these medications.
In group homes, the figure is even higher — an average of 64 percent of children and youth are taking behaviour-altering drugs. For 10- to 15-year-olds, the number is a staggering 74 per cent.
“Why are these kids on medication? Because people are desperate to make them functional,” Baird says, and “there’s so little else to offer.
Yet if the parents take medication to help make them more "functional" it's a reason for to keep a file open or apprehend a child, not render assistance or relief.
The figures are found in “Looking After Children in Ontario,” a provincially mandated survey known as OnLAC. It collects data on the 7,000 children who have spent at least one year in care. After requests by the Star, the 2014 numbers were made public for the first time.
What’s worse is that the number of children prescribed dangerous drugs is on the rise. Doctors seem to prescribe medication without being concerned with the side-effects.
Worldwide, 17 million children, some as young as five years old, are given a variety of different prescription drugs, including psychiatric drugs that are dangerous enough that regulatory agencies in Europe, Australia, and the US have issued warnings on the side effects that include suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior.
According to Fight For Kids, an organization that “educates parents worldwide on the facts about today’s widespread practice of labeling children mentally ill and drugging them with heavy, mind-altering, psychiatric drugs,” says over 10 million children in the US are prescribed addictive stimulants, antidepressants and other psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs for alleged educational and behavioral problems.
In fact, according to Foundation for a Drug-Free World, every day, 2,500 youth (12 to 17) will abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time (4). Even more frightening, prescription medications like depressants, opioids and antidepressants cause more overdose deaths (45 percent) than illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and amphetamines (39 percent) combined. Worldwide, prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death.
Toronto group homes turning outbursts from kids into matters for police
Physical restraint common in Toronto group homes and youth residences. By Laurie Monsebraaten Social justice reporter. Sandro Contenta News Fri., July 3, 2015.
Strange that an agency that is against any form of corporal punishment isn't against giving children to people that are so willing deny children their rights as they drug, restrain and label them "problem children."
Why are children in CAS care described like criminals?
Ontario’s most vulnerable children kept in the shadows
Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis.
Painkiller delves into the opioid epidemic. It features interviews with families who have lost loved ones, as well as healthcare workers and policy experts who question a health system that favours corporate profits over patients.
The Progressive Conservative government recently announced that it would continue to fund the province’s supervised-injection and overdose-prevention sites. Some were surprised by the move: Doug Ford, after all, once said that he was “dead against” such sites — so much so that he put the opening of three overdose prevention sites on hold this summer, pending a review of Ontario’s drug strategy. Thankfully, the government seems to have drawn the same conclusion as many health experts: these sites save lives. But the good news came with caveats. A lot of them.
The 18 sites that received funding before the review will have to reapply to receive more. And the government has not only refused to fund pop-up services, such as tents: it has prohibited them. That’s an especially troubling move, considering the government has also capped the number of sites at 21. Almost 4,000 people in Canada died from opioid overdoses last year — the number is expected to rise in 2018.
Why would the government limit its ability to address the crisis?
Ontario Opioid Epidemic Plunges Children's Aid Societies Into Crisis.
Agencies from Sault Ste. Marie to Brantford are laying off workers as the number of kids who need care mounts.
Kim Streich-Poser has tried to reduce her staff with early retirement offers, but most of them are too dedicated to their work to take the bait.
"We've got people who are very, very committed to working with some of the most vulnerable children and families in our community," the executive director of the Children's Aid Society of Algoma told HuffPost Canada.
Streich-Poser, who is based in Sault Ste. Marie, says she's given layoff notices to six of her 141 employees and is negotiating other "displacements" with their union. She'll also close Algoma's office in Hornepayne, Ont. and reduce two full-service district offices in Wawa and Blind River into small satellite offices with one employee each.
Anyone think this US NewsWeek article doesn't apply equally to Canada's child welfare systems?
Sen. Portman’s legislation is landmark and a key step in helping sex trade victims, but the reality is that predators will find other venues. We must ask the question that gets to the root of the problem: where are these victims coming from?
Here’s the ugly truth: most Americans who are victims of sex trafficking come from our nation’s own foster care system. It’s a deeply broken system that leaves thousands vulnerable to pimps as children and grooms them for the illegal sex trade as young adults.
We have failed our children by not fixing the systemic failures that have allowed this to happen for decades.
Most people don’t know about our nation’s foster care to sex trafficking pipeline, but the facts are sobering. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) found that “of the more than 18,500 endangered runaways reported to NCMEC in 2016, one in six were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those, 86 percent were in the care of social services when they went missing.”
The outcomes of law enforcement efforts against sex traffickers repeatedly support the NCMEC estimate. In a 2013 FBI 70-city nationwide raid, 60 percent of the victims came from foster care or group homes. In 2014, New York authorities estimated that 85 percent of sex trafficking victims were previously in the child welfare system.

About The Author

Advocates for family preservation against unwarranted intervention by government funded non profit agencies and is a growing union for families and other advocates speaking out against the children's aid society's... More