Ontario Ministry of Health reverses course on guardianship requirement for disabled woman
The Ontario government has reversed course on a requirement that a disabled woman, under her spouse’s guardianship, be allowed to visit her child more than 50 kilometres from her home while she is recovering from cancer surgery.
In December 2014, the government’s minister of social services, Lillian H. Smith, said the requirement was intended to reduce the strain on the guardian by allowing him to take leave for the time she was recuperating.
However, last spring, after three months of public and media discussion, the government said a review of the policy found the obligation was overly broad and could prevent parents from accompanying their children in their care.
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If the review stands, the province will scrap its policy of allowing parents who are not part of their child’s legal guardians to visit their other children, without a court order under special circumstances, under their “guardianship” or “guardian” status. In December 2015 the government said the law would be amended to allow such visits, but that will take one year to enact.
The reversal was announced a day after the government introduced a new law to allow the adoption of children who have no parent identified as their guardian. The bill is part of the government’s broader social conservative agenda to limit the rights of unmarried parents, who make up the vast majority of child-adoptive parents.
The legislation is a follow-up to an amendment the government has made to the law, which allows children to be adopted without parental consent in cases where there is no legal guardian, but the parent cannot be located or has not consented to the adoption.
The government said it has made the proposed changes to the legal guardian requirement in the hope “of ensuring that children who are vulnerable to abuse,