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5th Session, 40th Legislature

This HTML version is provided for ease of use and is based on the bilingual version that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.

Bill 16

THE CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE ACT


Table of Contents Bilingual version (PDF) Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

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

PART 1

DEFINITIONS

Definitions

1           The following definitions apply in this Act.

"child" means a person under the age of 18 years. (« enfant »)

"children's advocate" means the Children's Advocate appointed under section 2. (« protecteur des enfants »)

"designated service" means any of the following services or programs provided or funded by the government:

(a) services and programs for children and their families provided under The Child and Family Services Act or The Adoption Act;

(b) disability services for children, as described in the regulations;

(c) early childhood development and child care services for children and their families, including services provided in accordance with The Community Child Care Standards Act;

(d) educational programming for children in the care of an agency under The Child and Family Services Act who have, or are eligible to have, an individual education plan under The Public Schools Act;

(e) mental health services for children provided by or on behalf of a public body or a health care facility;

(f) addiction services for children provided by or on behalf of a public body or a health care facility;

(g) youth justice services;

(h) the following services for young adults:

(i) services provided under subsection 50(2) of The Child and Family Services Act for former permanent wards to assist them in their transition to independence,

(ii) disability services described in the regulations for young adults with a mental disability (as defined in The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act) who were receiving any services under The Child and Family Services Act immediately before their 18th birthday,

(iii) educational programming for young adults who were in the care of an agency under The Child and Family Services Act immediately before their 18th birthday and who have, or are eligible to have, an individual education plan under The Public Schools Act;

(i) additional services or programs described in the regulations. (« services désignés »)

"fiscal year" means the period beginning on April 1 of one year and ending on March 31 of the following year. (« exercice »)

"health care facility" has the same meaning as in The Personal Health Information Act, but excludes a medical clinic or laboratory that is privately operated. (« établissement de soins de santé »)

"parent" and "guardian" have the same meaning as in The Child and Family Services Act. (« parent » et « tuteur »)

"person" includes a trustee as defined in The Personal Health Information Act. (« personne »)

"personal health information" has the same meaning as in The Personal Health Information Act. (« renseignements médicaux personnels »)

"personal information" has the same meaning as in The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (« renseignements personnels »)

"public body" means a public body as defined in The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (« organisme public »)

"reviewable service" means any of the following designated services:

(a) services and programs for children and their families provided under The Child and Family Services Act or The Adoption Act;

(b) mental health services for children provided by or on behalf of a public body or a health care facility;

(c) addiction services for children provided by or on behalf of a public body or a health care facility;

(d) youth justice services;

(e) services for young adults provided under subsection 50(2) of The Child and Family Services Act to assist former permanent wards in their transition to independence;

(f) additional designated services that are set out in the regulations. (« services sujets à examen »)

"serious injury" means an injury that

(a) is life-threatening;

(b) requires admission to a hospital or other health care facility and is reasonably expected to cause serious or long-term physical or psychological impairment; or

(c) is the result of a sexual assault that causes serious physical harm or is reasonably expected to cause long-term psychological impairment. (« blessure grave »)

"young adult" means a person 18 years of age or older but under 21 years of age. (« jeune adulte »)

"youth justice services" means services under The Correctional Services Act for children in custody or under supervision pursuant to an order under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (Canada). (« services en matière de justice pour adolescents »)

PART 2

OFFICE OF THE CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE

APPOINTMENT

Appointment of Children's Advocate

2(1)        The Lieutenant Governor in Council must, on the recommendation of the Standing Committee of the Assembly on Legislative Affairs, appoint a Children's Advocate.

Appointment process

2(2)        If the position of children's advocate is vacant or if it will become vacant within six months because the term of office is scheduled to expire or the children's advocate has resigned,

(a) the President of the Executive Council must, within one month of the vacancy or expected vacancy, convene a meeting of the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs; and

(b) the Standing Committee must, within six months of the vacancy or expected vacancy, consider candidates for the position and make recommendations to the President of the Executive Council.

Officer of Assembly

3(1)        The children's advocate is an officer of the Assembly.

No other public office

3(2)        The children's advocate may not hold any other public office or engage in any partisan political activity.

Term of office

4(1)        The children's advocate is to hold office for a term of five years.

Re-appointment

4(2)        The children's advocate may be re-appointed for a second term of five years but may not hold office for more than two five-year terms.

Remuneration

5(1)        The children's advocate must be paid a salary fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and is entitled to the same privileges of office as a civil servant who is not covered by a collective agreement.

No reduction of salary

5(2)        The salary of the children's advocate must not be reduced except on a resolution of the Assembly carried by a vote of 2/3 of the members voting in the Assembly.

Expenses

5(3)        The children's advocate must be reimbursed for reasonable travelling and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in carrying out his or her responsibilities.

Civil Service Superannuation Act applies

6(1)        The children's advocate and all persons employed under the children's advocate are employees within the meaning of The Civil Service Superannuation Act.

Civil Service Act does not apply

6(2)        The children's advocate is not subject to The Civil Service Act.

Employees are civil servants

6(3)        The Civil Service Act applies to persons employed under the children's advocate.

RESIGNATION, REMOVAL OR SUSPENSION

Resignation

7(1)        The children's advocate may resign at any time by giving written notice to the Speaker of the Assembly or, if the Speaker is absent or there is no Speaker, to the Clerk of the Assembly.

Removal or suspension

7(2)        The Lieutenant Governor in Council may suspend or remove the children's advocate from office on a resolution of the Assembly carried by a vote of 2/3 of the members voting in the Assembly.

Suspension when Assembly not sitting

7(3)        If the Assembly is not sitting, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may suspend the children's advocate for cause or incapacity, but the suspension must not continue beyond the end of the next session of the Legislature.

ACTING CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE

Acting children's advocate

8(1)        The Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint an acting children's advocate if the office of children's advocate is vacant or if the children's advocate is suspended or is absent for an extended period because of illness or another reason.

Responsibilities of acting children's advocate

8(2)        An acting children's advocate must carry out the responsibilities and may exercise the powers of the children's advocate.

Term of acting children's advocate

8(3)        An acting children's advocate holds office until a new children's advocate is appointed, or until the children's advocate returns to office after a suspension or extended absence.

OATH OF OFFICE

Oath of office of children's advocate

9(1)        Before beginning to carry out responsibilities or exercise powers under this Act, the children's advocate must take an oath before the Speaker or the Clerk of the Assembly to faithfully and impartially carry out the responsibilities of office and not to disclose any information received under this Act except as provided in this Act.

Oath of staff

9(2)        Every person employed under or acting as a delegate of the children's advocate must, before beginning to carry out his or her responsibilities, take an oath before the children's advocate not to disclose any information received under this Act except as provided in this Act.

PART 3

GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND POWERS

RESPONSIBILITIES AND POWERS

Responsibilities

10          The children's advocate has the following responsibilities:

(a) to support, assist, inform and advise children, young adults and their families respecting designated services, including

(i) by providing information and advice to children, young adults and their families about how to effectively access designated services and how to become effective self-advocates with respect to those services,

(ii) by representing the rights, interests and viewpoints of children and young adults receiving or eligible to receive designated services, including by advocating on their behalf, and

(iii) by supporting, promoting in communities and commenting publicly on advocacy services for children, young adults and their families with respect to designated services;

(b) to conduct research on the provision of a designated service for the purpose of making recommendations to improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of that service;

(c) to review, investigate and report on the serious injuries and deaths of children and young adults as set out in Part 4;

(d) to monitor the implementation of recommendations included in reports made under section 26 (investigation) or special reports made under section 30;

(e) to carry out other responsibilities as set out in this Act.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

11          The children's advocate may take steps to raise awareness and understanding of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Advice to ministers

12          The children's advocate may advise a minister responsible for the provision of a designated service about any matter relating to that service that the children's advocate considers appropriate.

Power to delegate

13(1)       The children's advocate may, in writing, delegate to a person any responsibility or power of the children's advocate under this Act, except the power to make a report or to further delegate a responsibility or power.

Children's advocate may still exercise power

13(2)       A delegation does not prevent the children's advocate from exercising the delegated responsibility or power at any time.

Delegation in case of conflict

13(3)       Despite subsections (1) and (2), if the children's advocate is in a conflict of interest concerning a matter, he or she may delegate in writing to any person any responsibility or power respecting the matter, including the power to make a report.

Access to places re designated services

14          When, for the purpose of carrying out responsibilities under this Act, the children's advocate requests access to a place where children or young adults receive a designated service, the owner or person in charge of the place must provide access at a time when it is reasonable and safe to do so.

No power to act as legal counsel

15          The children's advocate may not act as legal counsel.

RIGHT TO INFORMATION

Right to information

16(1)       The children's advocate may require a public body or other person to provide any information in its custody or under its control — including personal information and personal health information — necessary to enable the children's advocate to carry out responsibilities or exercise powers under this Act.

Duty to provide information

16(2)       Despite any other enactment, the public body or other person must provide the children's advocate with the information the children's advocate requires.

Privileged information excluded

16(3)       Despite subsection (1), the children's advocate may not require information that is subject to a legal privilege, including solicitor-client privilege, the privilege respecting Cabinet confidences and the privilege in section 9 of The Manitoba Evidence Act (hospital, standards and critical incident review committees).

Information for research purposes

16(4)       When conducting research under clause 10(b), the children's advocate must not request personal information or personal health information if other information will serve the purpose of the research.

Providing research information

16(5)       Information requested for research under clause 10(b) is to be provided at the times and in the manner agreed on by the children's advocate and the public body or other person.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY

Confidentiality of information

17(1)       The children's advocate, and anyone employed under or acting as a delegate of the children's advocate, must

(a) maintain confidentiality about all matters that come to their knowledge in the course of their work under this Act; and

(b) not disclose information to any person except as required to carry out responsibilities and exercise powers under this Act.

No disclosure re adoption records

17(2)       The children's advocate, and anyone employed under or acting as a delegate of the children's advocate, must not disclose personal information or potentially identifying information relating to the granting of an order of adoption under The Adoption Act.

Limits on disclosure of personal information

18(1)       The children's advocate, and anyone employed under or acting as a delegate of the children's advocate, must ensure that any disclosure of personal information, personal health information or potentially identifying information

(a) is necessary to accomplish the purpose for which the disclosure is made; and

(b) is limited to the minimum amount of information necessary to accomplish that purpose.

Disclosure limits apply to reviews, investigations and reports

18(2)       For certainty, subsection (1) applies during any review or investigation conducted under this Act and in relation to the making of any report under this Act.

PART 4

REVIEWS AND INVESTIGATIONS OF SERIOUS INJURIES AND DEATHS

REVIEWS OF SERIOUS INJURIES AND DEATHS

Jurisdiction to review — serious injury to child

19(1)       The children's advocate may review a serious injury to a child who was receiving, or whose family was receiving, a reviewable service at the time of the injury or in the year before the injury.

Jurisdiction to review — serious injury to young adult

19(2)       The children's advocate may review a serious injury to a young adult who was receiving services under subsection 50(2) (transition to independence) of The Child and Family Services Act at the time of the injury or in the year before the injury.

Jurisdiction to review — death of child or young adult

19(3)       After receiving notice of the death of a child or young adult from the chief medical examiner under The Fatality Inquiries Act, the children's advocate may review

(a) a child's death, if the child or his or her family was receiving a reviewable service at the time of the death or in the year before the death; and

(b) a young adult's death, if the young adult was receiving services under subsection 50(2) of The Child and Family Services Act at the time of the death or in the year before the death.

Purpose of review

19(4)       A review under this section may be conducted for the following purposes:

(a) to determine whether to investigate the serious injury or death under section 22;

(b) to identify and analyse recurring circumstances or trends

(i) to improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of reviewable services, or

(ii) to inform improvements to public policies relating to designated services.

Duty to report serious injury of child

20(1)       After a government department or regional health authority responsible for the provision of a reviewable service becomes aware of a serious injury to a child for which a review may be conducted under subsection 19(1), it must provide information about the injury to the children's advocate.

Duty to report serious injury of young adult

20(2)       After the government department responsible for the provision of services under The Child and Family Services Act becomes aware of a serious injury to a young adult for which a review may be conducted under subsection 19(2), it must provide information about the injury to the children's advocate.

Information provided at intervals

20(3)       For the purpose of this section, a government department or regional health authority may compile information relating to one or more serious injuries and provide it to the children's advocate at intervals agreed on by the children's advocate and the department or health authority.

Assessment before review

20(4)       The children's advocate must assess each report of a serious injury or death that he or she receives to determine if there is jurisdiction to review the injury or death under section 19 and whether a review is warranted.

Disclosure of results of the review

21          If, after completing a review under section 19, the children's advocate decides not to investigate under section 22, the children's advocate may disclose the results of the review to

(a) the government department or regional health authority responsible for the provision of the reviewable service that is the subject of the review;

(b) the public body or other person who provided the reviewable service; and

(c) any other person or entity the children's advocate considers appropriate to notify in the circumstances.

INVESTIGATIONS OF SERIOUS INJURIES AND DEATHS

Investigations of serious injuries and deaths

22(1)       The children's advocate may investigate a serious injury or death of a child or young adult if, after completing a review under section 19, the children's advocate considers that

(a) a reviewable service, or related policies or practices, might have contributed to the serious injury or death; and

(b) the serious injury or death,

(i) in the case of a child, was or may have been due to one or more of the circumstances set out in section 17 (child in need of protection) of The Child and Family Services Act,

(ii) occurred in unusual or suspicious circumstances, or

(iii) was, or may have been, self-inflicted or inflicted by another person.

Persons notified of an investigation

22(2)       On deciding to investigate a serious injury or death under this Part, the children's advocate must notify

(a) the minister responsible for the provision of a reviewable service that is a subject of the investigation;

(b) the public body or other person that provided a reviewable service that is a subject of the investigation;

(c) if the reviewable service was provided by a child and family services agency, its mandating authority under The Child and Family Services Act;

(d) if the reviewable service was funded by a regional health authority, that authority; and

(e) any other person or entity the children's advocate considers appropriate to notify in the circumstances.

Limits on jurisdiction to investigate

23          Despite section 22, this Act does not authorize the children's advocate to investigate a serious injury or death of a child or young adult

(a) until the completion of any criminal investigation and criminal court proceedings respecting the serious injury or death, unless the Attorney General or delegate gives the children's advocate written permission to proceed with an investigation;

(b) if an investigation into the death is conducted under The Fatality Inquiries Act, until the earliest of the following events:

(i) the investigation is completed and the chief medical examiner has, under section 19 of that Act, determined whether an inquest ought to be held,

(ii) the chief medical examiner gives the children's advocate written permission to proceed with an investigation,

(iii) one year after the death;

(c) if, at the time of the serious injury or death, written procedures for investigating serious injuries or deaths are in place under another enactment, and an investigation is conducted, until the earliest of the following events:

(i) the investigation is completed,

(ii) the investigating body gives the children's advocate written permission to proceed with an investigation,

(iii) one year after the serious injury or death.

INVESTIGATIVE POWERS

Right to enter and inspect

24          For the purpose of an investigation under this Part, the children's advocate may at any reasonable time enter and inspect any place where a reviewable service being investigated is or was provided.

Power to compel persons to answer questions and order disclosure

25(1)       For the purpose of an investigation under this Part and subject to subsection 16(3) (privileged information), the children's advocate may make one or both of the following orders:

(a) an order requiring a person to attend, personally or by electronic means, before the children's advocate to answer questions on oath or affirmation, or in any other manner;

(b) an order requiring a public body or other person to produce for the children's advocate a record or thing in the person's possession or under his or her control.

Order to comply

25(2)       The children's advocate may apply to the Court of Queen's Bench for an order directing a person or public body to comply with an order made under subsection (1).

REPORT AFTER INVESTIGATION

Report after investigation

26(1)       After investigating a serious injury or death of a child or young adult under this Part, the children's advocate must make a report on that injury or death.

Contents of report

26(2)       A report must contain the reasons the children's advocate had for undertaking the investigation and his or her findings and may

(a) contain recommendations for

(i) the public body or other person that provided a reviewable service that is a subject of the investigation, or

(ii) any other public body or person the children's advocate considers appropriate; and

(b) address any other matters the children's advocate considers relevant.

No finding of legal responsibility

26(3)       The findings of the children's advocate must not contain any finding of legal responsibility.

Persons given report

26(4)       A copy of the report must be given to

(a) the minister responsible for the provision of a reviewable service that is a subject of the investigation;

(b) any public body or other person that is a subject of recommendations in the report;

(c) if the report makes recommendations for a child and family services agency, its mandating authority under The Child and Family Services Act;

(d) if the report makes recommendations for a public body or other person funded by a regional health authority, that authority; and

(e) the chief medical examiner if the report concerns the death of a child or young adult.

Summary for child or young adult

26(5)       If the children's advocate considers it appropriate to do so, the advocate may provide a summary of the report to the child or young adult who is the subject of the report and to the child's parent or guardian.

REFERRALS FOR INVESTIGATION BY ASSEMBLY OR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL

Referral by committee of Assembly or LG in C

27(1)       A standing committee of the Assembly or the Lieutenant Governor in Council may refer a serious injury or death of a child or young adult to the children's advocate for investigation and report under this Part.

Report on a referral

27(2)       After receiving a referral, the children's advocate must investigate the serious injury or death so far as it is within the children's advocate's jurisdiction under this Part, and make a report to the standing committee or the Lieutenant Governor in Council as the children's advocate considers appropriate.

PART 5

SERVICE PLAN, ANNUAL REPORT AND

SPECIAL REPORTS

SERVICE PLAN

Service plan

28(1)       For the fiscal year beginning after the coming into force of this Act and for each fiscal year afterwards, the children's advocate must prepare a service plan that describes the goals of the children's advocate for the year and sets out specific objectives and performance measures.

Plan submitted to Speaker

28(2)       The children's advocate must submit the service plan to the Speaker of the Assembly by November 30 of the year before the year to which the service plan relates.

Plan tabled in Assembly

28(3)       The Speaker must table a copy of the service plan in the Assembly within 15 days after receiving it if the Assembly is sitting or, if it is not, within 15 days after the next sitting begins.

ANNUAL REPORT

Annual report to Assembly

29(1)       For each fiscal year, the children's advocate must prepare and submit to the Speaker of the Assembly an annual report on the carrying out of responsibilities and the exercise of powers under this Act.

Contents

29(2)       Subject to section 31 (consent to disclosure), the annual report must include

(a) information on the work of the children's advocate during the year;

(b) information on the work of the children's advocate during the year with Indigenous children, young adults and their families;

(c) aggregate non-identifying information relating to the reviews and investigations conducted by the children's advocate during the year;

(d) a summary of recommendations included in any special report made under section 30 during the year; and

(e) information as to whether the goals and the specific objectives and performance measures of the children's advocate set out in the service plan prepared for the year have been met.

Compliance information may be included

29(3)       The annual report may include information as to the level of compliance with previous recommendations the children's advocate has made under this Act or a former Act.

Submitting annual report to Speaker

29(4)       The children's advocate must submit the annual report to the Speaker of the Assembly by November 30 of each year.

Tabling report in Assembly

29(5)       The Speaker must table a copy of the annual report in the Assembly within 15 days after receiving it if the Assembly is sitting or, if it is not, within 15 days after the next sitting begins.

Referral to Standing Committee

29(6)       The annual report stands referred to the Standing Committee of the Assembly on Legislative Affairs. The Committee must begin considering it within 60 days after it is tabled in the Assembly.

SPECIAL REPORTS

Special reports

30(1)       In order to improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of designated services, the children's advocate may publish special reports.

Contents

30(2)       Subject to section 31 (consent to disclosure), a special report may

(a) include recommendations for

(i) a minister responsible for the provision of a designated service, and

(ii) any public body or other person providing a designated service that the children's advocate considers appropriate;

(b) refer to and comment on any matter the children's advocate has reviewed or investigated under Part 4; and

(c) include information the children's advocate considers necessary about any matter for which the children's advocate has responsibility under this Act.

CONSENT TO DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

Consent required to disclose personal information

31(1)       In an annual or special report, the children's advocate must not disclose personal information, personal health information or potentially identifying information

(a) about a child or young adult, without the consent of the child or young adult or, in the case of a child who is incapable of giving consent, without the consent of the child's parent or guardian;

(b) about a child's parent or guardian, without the consent of the parent or guardian;

(c) about any other individual, unless the children's advocate is of the opinion that the public interest in the disclosure outweighs the privacy interests of any individual whose information is disclosed.

Exception re publicly available information

31(2)       Nothing in this section limits the ability of the children's advocate to disclose, in an annual or special report, information that has already lawfully been made public by other means.

PART 6

GENERAL PROVISIONS

COMMUNICATION FROM CHILD OR YOUNG ADULT

Right to communicate with children's advocate

32(1)       Every child or young adult who is receiving or is eligible to receive designated services has a right to communicate with the children's advocate.

Communication from child

32(2)       If a child in a facility asks to communicate with the children's advocate, the person in charge of the facility must forward the request to the children's advocate or must assist the child to contact the children's advocate directly. The child is entitled to communicate with the children's advocate privately and in confidence.

Information given to child

32(3)       The person in charge of a facility must inform each child placed there of the services offered by the children's advocate, the right to communicate in private with the children's advocate and how to contact the children's advocate.

Meaning of "facility"

32(4)       In this section, "facility" means a facility or other place in which a child is placed under an Act of the province or under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (Canada).

PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE

Protection from liability

33          No action or proceeding may be brought against the children's advocate, or anyone employed under or acting as a delegate of the children's advocate, for anything done, or omitted to be done, in good faith, in the exercise or intended exercise of a responsibility or power under this Act.

Children's advocate and staff not compellable

34          The children's advocate, and anyone employed under or acting as a delegate of the children's advocate, must not be compelled to give evidence in a court or in a proceeding of a judicial nature with respect to anything coming to his or her knowledge in carrying out responsibilities or exercising powers under this Act except

(a) to enforce compliance with this Act; or

(b) in a prosecution for perjury.

PROTECTIONS FOR PERSONS GIVING INFORMATION

Protection from liability

35(1)       No action or proceeding may be brought against a person by reason only of having complied with a request or requirement of the children's advocate to provide information, answer questions or produce a record or other thing under this Act.

Communications privileged

35(2)       The following information, records and reports are privileged and not admissible in evidence in an action or proceeding, except to enforce this Act or in a prosecution for perjury:

(a) anything said, any information given and any record produced during a review or investigation by the children's advocate under this Act;

(b) any report made after an investigation under section 26.

Defence under other enactments

35(3)       No person is guilty of an offence under another enactment by reason only of having complied with a request or requirement to provide information, answer questions or produce a record or other thing under this Act.

No retaliatory action against persons giving information

35(4)       No person shall take adverse employment action against, or withhold services from, or otherwise discriminate against another person because the other person has complied with a request or requirement of the children's advocate to provide information, answer questions or produce a record or other thing under this Act.

OFFENCE AND PENALTY

Offence and penalty

36          Every person who

(a) wilfully obstructs, hinders, or resists the children's advocate or any other person carrying out responsibilities or exercising powers under this Act;

(b) refuses or wilfully fails to comply with a lawful requirement of the children's advocate or any other person under this Act;

(c) knowingly makes a false statement to or misleads or attempts to mislead the children's advocate or any other person carrying out responsibilities or exercising powers under this Act; or

(d) fails to comply with subsection 35(4) (no retaliatory action);

is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or both.

REGULATIONS

Regulations

37          The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) for the purpose of the definition "designated service", describing additional services or programs as designated services;

(b) for the purpose of the definition "reviewable service", setting out additional designated services that are reviewable services;

(c) describing disability services for the purpose of clause (b) and subclause (h)(ii) of the definition "designated service";

(d) for the purpose of Part 4, respecting the reporting of serious injuries to children and young adults to government departments or regional health authorities, including who must report and the manner and timing of reporting;

(e) defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act.

RULES OF THE ASSEMBLY

Rules of the Assembly

38(1)       The Assembly may make general rules for the guidance of the children's advocate in carrying out responsibilities and exercising powers under this Act.

Procedure of children's advocate

38(2)       Subject to this Act and any rules made under subsection (1), the children's advocate may determine his or her procedure.

REVIEW OF ACT

Review of Act

39          Within five years after this Act comes into force, a committee of the Assembly must begin a comprehensive review of the operation of this Act and must, within one year after beginning the review, submit a report to the Assembly that includes any amendments to this Act recommended by the committee.

PART 7

TRANSITIONAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, C.C.S.M. REFERENCE AND COMING INTO FORCE

TRANSITIONAL

Transitional – definition of "former Act"

40(1)       In this section, "former Act" means The Child and Family Services Act as it read immediately before the coming into force of this Act.

Children's advocate continues in office

40(2)       The children's advocate appointed under the former Act continues in office as the children's advocate under this Act as if appointed under this Act, but for a term that expires on the day the appointment under the former Act would expire.

Reviews of child deaths

40(3)       Any review of a child's death that was required under the former Act but not completed on the day this Act comes into force is to be dealt with according to the provisions of this Act, and the children's advocate has discretion under Part 4 of this Act as to whether to conduct the review or not.

Transitional — Ombudsman's duties

40(4)       The Ombudsman's duty to monitor and report on the implementation of the children's advocate's recommendations under section 16.1 of The Ombudsman Act ceases on the coming into force of this Act.

Transfer of records

40(5)       Any records maintained by the Ombudsman for the last year in which the Ombudsman had a monitoring and reporting duty under section 16.1 of The Ombudsman Act must be transferred to the children's advocate.

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS

The Adoption Act

C.C.S.M. c. A2 amended

41(1)        The Adoption Act is amended by this section.

41(2)       The definition "children's advocate" in subsection 1(1) is repealed.

41(3)       Section 8 is repealed.

The Child and Family Services Act

C.C.S.M. c. C80 amended

42(1)       The Child and Family Services Act is amended by this section.

42(2)       The definition "children's advocate" in subsection 1(1) is replaced with the following:

"children's advocate" means the Children's Advocate appointed under The Children's Advocate Act; (« protecteur des enfants »)

42(3)       Subsection 2(1) is amended in the part before clause (a) by striking out "the children's advocate,".

42(4)       Part I.1 (Children's Advocate) is repealed.

42(5)       Clause 76(3)(d.2) is amended by striking out "under section 8.10".

The Fatality Inquiries Act

C.C.S.M. c. F52 amended

43          Section 10 of The Fatality Inquiries Act is replaced with the following:

Death of child or young adult reported to children's advocate

10(1)       Upon learning that a child or a young adult under 21 years of age has died in Manitoba, the chief medical examiner must notify the children's advocate of the death.

Reports to be given to children's advocate

10(2)       If the children's advocate has jurisdiction to review the death of a child or young adult under Part 4 of The Children's Advocate Act, 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.

The Mental Health Act

C.C.S.M. c. M110 amended

44          Clause 32(1)(c) of The Mental Health Act is amended by adding "and, if the patient is a child, the children's advocate" at the end.

The Ombudsman Act

C.C.S.M. c. O45 amended

45          Section 16.1 of The Ombudsman Act is repealed.

C.C.S.M. REFERENCE AND COMING INTO FORCE

C.C.S.M. reference

46          This Act may be referred to as chapter C95 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.

Coming into force

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

Explanatory Note

In 2014, the Commission of Inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair recommended that Manitoba enact stand-alone legislation for the Children's Advocate and provide the Advocate with a broader mandate. This Bill implements those recommendations.

Expanded Advocacy Mandate

Under current legislation, the Children's Advocate may provide advocacy services for children who are receiving services under The Child and Family Services Act or The Adoption Act. This Bill expands that mandate to include advocacy services for children receiving or eligible to receive any of the following publicly funded services:

  • disability services funded by Manitoba Family Services;
  • early childhood development and child care services;
  • educational programming for children in care who need an individual education plan;
  • mental health and addiction services provided by government and health care facilities; and
  • criminal justice services for children in custody or under supervision.

In addition, the Children's Advocate may advocate for young adults between 18 and 21 who, as children, received services under The Child and Family Services Act and are now eligible to receive any of the following publicly funded services:

  • services to assist them in their transition to adulthood;
  • disability services funded by Manitoba Family Services; and
  • educational programming for those who need an individual education plan.

Expanded Mandate to Review and Investigate Deaths and Serious Injuries

Under current legislation, when a child in the care of child and family services dies, the Children's Advocate must review publicly funded services provided to that child.

To assist in improving the effectiveness and responsiveness of publicly funded services for children, this Bill gives the Children's Advocate broad discretion to review and investigate a serious injury or death of a child who was receiving any of the following services at the time of the injury or death, or in the year preceding it:

  • services under The Child and Family Services Act or The Adoption Act;
  • mental health or addiction services provided by government and health care facilities; and
  • criminal justice services for children in custody or under supervision.

The Children's Advocate may also review and investigate a serious injury or death of a young adult who was a former permanent ward receiving transitional child and family services.

Expanded Public Reporting

In addition to the annual report required by current legislation, the Children's Advocate must publish a service plan that describes the Advocate's goals for the year and includes specific objectives and performance measures.

The Children's Advocate may publish special reports to assist in making services for children and young adults more effective and responsive.

Amendments to Other Acts

This Bill makes consequential amendments to other Acts, including The Child and Family Services Act, The Adoption Act and The Ombudsman Act.