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The Child and Family Services Amendment Act

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If you need an official copy, contact Statutory Publications.

S.M. 1992, c. 28

The Child and Family Services Amendment Act

(Assented to June 24, 1992)

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

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

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

2           Section 1 is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

"children's advocate" means the person appointed as the Children's Advocate under section 8.1 or his or her delegate; («protecteur des enfants»)

3           Subsection 2(1) is amended by adding "the children's advocate," after "director,".

4           The following is added after section 8:

PART I.1

CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE

Appointment of children's advocate

8.1         A children's advocate shall be appointed as provided in The Civil Service Act.

Duties of children's advocate

8.2(1)      The children's advocate shall

(a) advise the minister on matters

(i) relating to the welfare and interests of children who receive or may be entitled to receive services under this Act, or

(ii) relating to services provided or available to children under this Act;

(b) review and investigate complaints that he or she receives

(i) relating to children who receive or may be entitled to receive services under this Act, or

(ii) relating to services provided or available to children under this Act;

(c) in response to a request, represent, other than as legal counsel, the rights, interests and viewpoints of children who receive or may be entitled to receive services under this Act;

(d) prepare and submit an annual report to the minister respecting the performance of the duties and the exercise of the powers of the children's advocate; and

(e) perform additional duties and functions as may be prescribed by the regulations, or as may be required by the minister.

Annual report to be tabled

8.2(2)      The minister shall lay a copy of the report of the children's advocate before the Legislative Assembly within 15 days of receiving it if the Legislative Assembly is then in session, or if it is not then in session, within 15 days of the beginning of the next session.

Powers of children's advocate

8.3         The children's advocate may exercise the following powers:

(a) to conduct inquiries, investigate, report on, and make recommendations regarding any matter

(i) relating to children who receive or may be entitled to receive services under this Act, or

(ii) relating to services provided or available to children under this Act;

(b) to inspect any treatment centre, group home or other home or place in which a child is placed in accordance with the provisions of this Act;

(c) to examine and obtain a copy of any record, paper or thing which, in the opinion of the children's advocate, relates to any matter being investigated by him or her, and which is in the possession of the director, an agency or the person in charge of any of the places mentioned in clause (b);

(d) to communicate with and visit a child who is receiving or has received services under this Act, or a guardian or other person who represents the child;

(e) other than as legal counsel, to represent the rights, interests and viewpoints of a child who is receiving services under this Act when decisions relating to the child are being made under this Act;

(f) to solicit, accept and review reports from individuals or organizations concerned or involved with the welfare of children or families, or both.

Delegation

8.4         The children's advocate may in writing authorize any person to perform any of the duties or exercise any of the powers of the children's advocate.

Right of entry

8.5         The children's advocate may, for the purposes of carrying out his or her duties or powers under this Act, at any reasonable time enter the premises occupied by the director or an agency, or a treatment centre, group home or other home or place in which a child is placed in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

Information to be furnished

8.6         The children's advocate may require any person who in the opinion of the children's advocate is able to give any information relating to any matter being investigated by him or her

(a) to furnish the information to the children's advocate; and

(b) to produce any record, paper or thing which, in the opinion of the children's advocate, relates to the matter being investigated and which may be in the possession or under the control of that person;

but nothing in this subsection abrogates any privilege that may exist because of the relationship between a solicitor and the solicitor's client.

Proceedings re furnishing information prohibited

8.7         No proceedings lie against a person by reason of his or her compliance with a requirement of the children's advocate to furnish information or produce any record, paper or thing, or by reason of answering any question in an investigation by the children's advocate.

Report to director and agency

8.8(1)      After making an investigation under this Act, the children's advocate shall make a written report to the director and to any agency involved setting out his or her conclusions as to the matter being investigated and reasons for the conclusions, and may make such recommendations as the children's advocate considers appropriate.

Report to parent and child

8.8(2)      Where an investigation by the children's advocate involves a review of a complaint about services to a child, the children's advocate, in such manner as he or she considers appropriate,

(a) shall report the results of the investigation to the parent or guardian of that child;

(b) shall report the results of the investigation to the child if he or she is 12 years of age or more; and

(c) may report the results of the investigation to the child if he or she is less than 12 years of age and the children's advocate considers it appropriate to do so.

Report to placement centre

8.8(3)      Where an investigation by the children's advocate involves a treatment centre, group home or other home or place in which a child is placed in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the children's advocate may report the results of the investigation to the person in charge of that place, in such manner as the children's advocate considers appropriate.

Report to complainant

8.8(4)      The children's advocate may report the results of an investigation to a complainant in such manner as the children's advocate considers appropriate.

Communication by child

8.9         Where a child in a treatment centre, group home or other home or place in which he or she is placed in accordance with the provisions of this Act

(a) asks to communicate with the children's advocate, that request shall be forwarded to the children's advocate immediately; or

(b) writes a letter addressed to the children's advocate, the person in charge of the place shall forward the letter immediately, unopened, to the children's advocate.

Secrecy

8.10(1)     The children's advocate shall maintain secrecy in respect of all matters that come to his or her knowledge in the performance of duties or the exercise of powers under this Act, and shall not disclose any matter except as provided in this Act.

Disclosure re duties and power

8.10(2)     Subject to subsections (3), (4) and (5), in the performance of duties or the exercise of powers the children's advocate may disclose any matter which the children's advocate considers necessary.

Disclosure in reports on investigations

8.10(3)     Subject to subsection (5), in a report referred to in section 8.8 the children's advocate may disclose any matter which the children's advocate considers necessary relating to his or her conclusions, reasons and recommendations.

Disclosure in annual reports

8.10(4)     Subject to subsection (5), in an annual report made under clause 8.2(1)(d) the children's advocate may disclose any matter which he or she considers necessary relating to the performance of the duties and exercise of the powers of the children's advocate, but shall not disclose the name of any individual, or any identifying information as to any child involved in an investigation, any parent or guardian of such a child, or any complainant.

Disclosure re adoption records

8.10(5)     The children's advocate shall not disclose information relating to the granting of an order of adoption unless authorized or permitted to do so under section 62.

Proceedings against children's advocate prohibited

8.11        No proceedings lie against the children's advocate for any act done in good faith in the performance or intended performance of a duty or in the exercise or intended exercise of a power under this Act, or for any neglect or default in the performance or exercise in good faith of such duty or power.

Offence and penalty

8.12        Every person who

(a) without lawful justification or excuse wilfully obstructs, hinders, or resists the children's advocate in the performance of his or her duties or the exercise of his or her powers under this Act;

(b) without lawful justification or excuse refuses or wilfully fails to comply with any lawful requirement of the children's advocate; or

(c) wilfully makes any false statement to or misleads or attempts to mislead the children's advocate in the performance of his or her duties or the exercise of his or her powers under this Act;

is guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $500. or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both.

Review by committee

8.13        Within three years of the coming into force of this section, a committee of the Legislative Assembly, designated or established by the Legislative Assembly for the purpose, shall undertake a comprehensive review of the operation of this Part and shall, within one year after the review is undertaken or within such further time as the Legislative Assembly may allow, submit to the Legislative Assembly a report on the operation of this Part, including any amendments to the Act which the committee recommends.

5           Section 52 is amended

(a) by striking out "who" where it appears preceding clause (a), and by adding "who" at the beginning of clauses (a), (b), (c) and (e); and

(b) by adding "other than the children's advocate, who" at the beginning of clause (d).

6           Subsection 62(2) is amended by adding "or" at the end of clause (b) and by adding the following after clause (b):

(c) the children's advocate in the performance of a duty or exercise of a power requests disclosure of information in the record.

7           Subsection 76(3) is amended by adding the following after clause (d):

(d.1) to the children's advocate; or

(d.2) where the disclosure is by the children's advocate under section 8.10; or

8           Section 86 is amended by adding the following after clause (t):

(u) prescribing duties and functions of the children's advocate.

Coming into force

9           This Act comes into force on a day fixed by proclamation.