Indigenous-Specific Amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017
Bill or Act:
Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017
Summary of Decision:
Royal Assent received March 3, 2022.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
With respect to any associated costs or fiscal impacts to service providers within the sector, it is anticipated that the implementation of the proposals for customary care and prevention and early intervention services would be cost neutral. In the immediate term, no new costs to the government or to the sector have been identified. Any new costs that may emerge from subsequent proposals would be anticipated to be offset over time and would result in a savings through a decrease in the number of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children in care. This could enhance Ontario's long-term economic growth in two ways: first, by reducing overall costs to deliver child-protection and licensed residential services and, second, by improving outcomes for those who access these services.
As part of a phased approach to developing amendments to the CYFSA, if the proposed statutory amendments are passed, the ministry would propose regulatory amendments further to the additional regulation-making authorities, and the ministry will conduct an analysis of any potential costs to system actors at that time.
All ministries are subject to requirements set out in the Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act, 2020 (MOPBA), which came into force January 1, 2021. As part of its obligations under the MOPBA, the ministry has also completed a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) to assess the impacts of these proposals.
February 22, 2022
Summary of Proposal:
Both the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy (OICYS) and the distinct Indigenous approach of the Child Welfare Redesign (CWR) Strategy reflect the need for legislative amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) and its regulations. Following extensive and ongoing engagement with Indigenous partners, including through past posting to Ontario's Regulatory Registry, the ministry is proposing Indigenous-specific statutory amendments to the CYFSA. If passed, these amendments would provide a framework to:
a) distinguish customary care from residential care in specified circumstances;
b) implement holistic and wraparound supports for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families; and,
c) enhance the role of community-based, prevention-focused Indigenous service providers within Ontario's child and family services system.
The specific proposed amendments to the CYFSA include:
• Customary care amendments intended to distinguish customary care in certain instances from "residential care"- when certain conditions are met, customary care arrangements would be deemed not to be residential care and would not be subject to licensing requirements under Part IX of the CYFSA.
• Conditions that would be established through this proposed statutory change, which if met would allow licensees to be exempt from licensing requirements include that the:
o the child is receiving customary care as defined by the CYFSA;
o there is a customary care agreement in place that meets prescribed criteria;
o a band or First Nations, Inuit or Métis community of the child has made a declaration, in accordance with the prescribed requirements, that the child is being care for under customary care, and
o any additional prescribed conditions are met.
• Proposed new regulation-making provisions to govern the provision of customary care, including provisions in relation to the content and form of the customary care agreement and the declaration.
• New provisions defining and delineating the functions of "prevention-focused Indigenous service providers" that are not societies and authorizing the Minister to designate an entity as a prevention-focused Indigenous service provider.
• New provisions requiring children's aid societies and prescribed service providers providing services to a First Nations, Inuk or Métis child to provide information about services provided by prevention-focused Indigenous service providers and, where applicable, services offered or recommended by the child's bands and First Nations, Inuit or Métis communities, and then to take steps to enable the child and other prescribed persons to receive those services if the child or a prescribed person wishes.
• New provisions requiring children's aid societies and prescribed service providers to establish a "circle of supportive persons" for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children who so wish, together, where possible, with their families.
• New provisions authorizing regulations to be made in relation to prevention-focused Indigenous service providers and circles of supportive persons, which would be necessary to operationalize the proposed amendments to the statute.
It is anticipated that these proposed legislative amendments to the CYFSA would, if passed, lead to improved outcomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.
2 Bloor Street West, 30th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M4W 3E2
March 3, 2022