The Bill Was Passed Without a Single Dissenting Vote

Ontario Ministry of Health reverses course on guardianship requirement for disabled woman after parental rights challenge

Last week, the Minister for Human Services Todd Smith announced to the House that he had reversed his decision and restored the prohibition of parental rights in guardianship cases for disabled people in Ontario, in order to prevent a “backlash and a political challenge”.

The bill introduced by the Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services included a grandfather clause which would have made it easier for grandparents to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives, without having to worry about losing their parental authority.

Despite opposition from a number of disability advocacy groups and people with disabilities, the bill was passed without a single dissenting vote.

Yesterday, the Minister publicly retracted his position, apologising for his “unfortunate action”.

After the announcement, we spoke to four disability rights activists who say that, in fact, the removal of guardianship provisions is a positive step.

Bridget Sutherland, Founder of the Canadian Autistic Society

“The provision of guardianship, as we know, is actually a tool of abuse, often against disabled people and their loved ones. The ability to make decisions on behalf of your disabled loved ones is fundamental to a truly caring and self-determining life. The provision of guardianship and the threat of losing parental authority, as we’ve seen, has a devastating effect on people with disabilities.

It’s a good thing the ban was removed; I don’t see how it would have been possible for the government of the day to defend it through the court system.”

Janelle, Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville

“It’s a good thing that the Bill made its way from the Standing Committee to the House. I believe it’s a positive thing for people with disabilities in Canada to be protected. I agree that the Bill that was before the government should not have had this provision.

As a caregiver for my disabled daughter

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