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First Session, Thirty-Ninth Legislature

This version is based on the printed bill that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.   It is not the official version.   If accuracy is critical, you can obtain a copy of the printed bill from Statutory Publications or view the online bilingual version (PDF).

Bill 11

THE CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE'S ENHANCED MANDATE ACT (VARIOUS ACTS AMENDED)


Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

THE CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES ACT

C.C.S.M. c. C80 amended

1(1)        The Child and Family Services Act is amended by this section.

1(2)        The following is added after section 8.2.2:

REVIEW OF SERVICES AFTER DEATH OF CHILD IN CARE

Review after death of child

8.2.3(1)    After the death of child who was in the care of, or received services from, an agency under this Act within one year before the death, or whose parent or guardian received services from an agency under this Act within one year before the death, the children's advocate

(a) must review the circumstances surrounding the death, and the standards and quality of care and services provided under this Act to the child or the child's parent or guardian;

(b) may review the standards and quality of any other publicly funded social services that were provided to the child or, in the opinion of the children's advocate, should have been provided;

(c) may review the standards and quality of any publicly funded mental health or addiction treatment services that were provided to the child or, in the opinion of the children's advocate, should have been provided; and

(d) may recommend changes to the standards, policies or practices relating to the services mentioned in clauses (a) to (c) if, in the children's advocate's opinion, those changes are designed to enhance the safety and well-being of children and reduce the likelihood of a death occurring in similar circumstances.

Purpose of review

8.2.3(2)    The purpose of the review is not to determine the cause of the child's death, but to identify ways in which the programs and services under review may be improved to enhance the safety and well-being of children and prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

Report

8.2.3(3)    Upon completing the review, the children's advocate must prepare a written report of his or her findings and recommendations and provide a copy of it

(a) to the minister;

(b) to the Ombudsman; and

(c) to the chief medical examiner under The Fatality Inquiries Act.

Children's advocate not to determine culpability

8.2.3(4)    The report must not express an opinion on, or make a determination with respect to, culpability in such a manner that a person is or could be identified as a culpable party in relation to the death of the child.

Report is confidential

8.2.3(5)    The report is confidential and must not be disclosed except as required by subsection (3) or as permitted by subsection (6) or Part VI.

Summary of recommendations in annual report

8.2.3(6)    The children's advocate's annual report under clause 8.2(1)(d) for a year may include a summary of the recommendations included in the reports made that year under this section.

"Publicly funded"

8.2.3(7)    For the purpose of this section, a program or service is publicly funded if it is operated or provided by the government or by an organization that receives funding from the government for the program or service.

Independent review in case of conflict

8.2.3(8)    If services provided by the office of the children's advocate come within the scope of a review under this section, the children's advocate must arrange for that part of the review to be conducted and reported on by an independent person qualified to conduct that review.  Subsections (3) to (5) and section 16.1 of The Ombudsman Act apply with necessary changes to that report.

No effect on Fatality Inquiries Act

8.2.3(9)    Nothing in this section limits the power or responsibility of any person under The Fatality Inquiries Act.

1(3)        Clause 8.3(c) is replaced with the following:

(c)  to examine and obtain a copy of any record, paper or thing in the possession or control of

(i) the director, an agency, an authority, or the person in charge of a place mentioned in clause (b), or

(ii) in the case of a review under section 8.2.3, any person or organization referred to in subclause (i) or any other person, government department or organization,

if, in the opinion of the children's advocate, it relates to the matter under investigation or review;

1(4)        Section 8.6 is amended by adding "or reviewed" after "investigated" in the part before clause (a) and in clause (b).

1(5)        Section 8.7 is amended by adding "or review" after "investigation".

1(6)        The following is added after subsection 8.8(4):

Application

8.8(5)      This section does not apply to a report under section 8.2.3.

THE FATALITY INQUIRIES ACT

C.C.S.M. c. F52 amended

2(1)        The Fatality Inquiries Act is amended by this section.

2(2)        The definition "investigation" in subsection 1(1) is amended by striking out everything after "autopsy".

2(3)        Section 10 is replaced with the following:

Child's death to be reported to children's advocate

10(1)       Upon learning that a child has died in Manitoba, the chief medical examiner must notify the children's advocate under The Child and Family Services Act of that death.

Reports to be given to children's advocate

10(2)       If the children's advocate has jurisdiction to conduct a review under section 8.2.3 of The Child and Family Services Act in relation to the death of a child in Manitoba, the chief medical examiner must provide to the children's advocate, upon request,

(a) a copy of the medical examiner's report on the manner and cause of death; and

(b) a copy of the final autopsy report, if one has been ordered by the medical examiner and the children's advocate requires it for the review.

Reports are confidential

10(3)       The information provided to the children's advocate under subsection (2) must not be used except for the purpose of a review and report under section 8.2.3 of The Child and Family Services Act, and must not be disclosed in that report except as necessary to support the findings and recommendations made in that report.

THE OMBUDSMAN ACT

C.C.S.M. c. O45 amended

3(1)        The Ombudsman Act is amended by this section.

3(2)        The following is added after section 16.

Monitoring children's advocate's recommendations

16.1(1)     The Ombudsman must monitor the implementation of recommendations contained in the reports provided to the Ombudsman by the children's advocate under section 8.2.3 of The Child and Family Services Act.

Report to assembly

16.1(2)     In the annual report to the assembly under section 42, the Ombudsman must report on the implementation of the children's advocate's recommendations.

Transitional

4           A review required by section 10 of The Fatality Inquiries Act that is not completed before the day on which sections 1 and 2 of this Act come into force is to be completed under section 8.2.3 of The Child and Family Services Act. For this purpose, that section is to be read without clauses (1)(b) and (c).

Coming into force

5           This Act comes into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

Explanatory Note

Upon the death of a child in care, the chief medical examiner is required by The Fatality Inquiries Act to conduct a review of services provided under The Child and Family Services Act.

This Bill amends The Fatality Inquiries Act and The Child and Family Services Act to transfer responsibility for these reviews to the Children's Advocate. It also expands the scope of the reviews to include other publicly funded social services, mental health services and addiction treatment services.

This transfer does not affect the chief medical examiner's power to investigate the death of a child or to call an inquest into the death of a child.

The Bill also requires the Ombudsman to monitor and report to the Legislative Assembly on the implementation of the Children's Advocate's recommendations.