Commissioner Ann Cavoukian applauds Premier for not appealing the court ruling striking down adoption law



    TORONTO, Nov. 13 /CNW/ - Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann
Cavoukian today applauded Premier Dalton McGuinty for deciding not to appeal
the decision of Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba - whose September 19,
2007 ruling struck down sections of Ontario's Adoption Information Disclosure
Act just two days after it came in force. The Commissioner is also very
pleased with the government's commitment to bring in a new law that will
include a disclosure veto.
    Mr. Justice Belobaba declared that the legislation was unconstitutional
because provisions to protect the privacy of birth parents and adopted
children were inadequate as well as breaching the privacy rights guaranteed
under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    "I am delighted with the Premier's decision and encourage the government
to move quickly to introduce new legislation that will be in keeping with the
court ruling," said Commissioner Cavoukian. The Commissioner had written to
the Premier on October 1st, urging him not to appeal the ruling by the court.
The Commissioner added that the Premier would have the full support of her
office in drafting legislation that the court ruling said should include a
disclosure veto.
    "This is a very emotional issue for many people," said Commissioner
Cavoukian, "and I very sincerely praise the Premier for his decision. The
ultimate goal should be a new law with a disclosure veto which would mean that
the vast majority of people who want their adoption files opened would be able
to do so, while those who really feared the disclosure of such potentially
life-changing information would be able to keep their files sealed."
    In her October letter to the Premier, and again today, the Commissioner
cited one of the statements made by Mr. Justice Belobaba in his September 19
ruling:

    
        "It is not the obligation of the applicants and certainly not that of
        the court to suggest ways how the new law could comply with (sic)
        Charter. In this case, however, the answer seems obvious. In her
        submission to the standing committee that was considering the new
        law, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Ann
        Cavoukian, argued that a disclosure veto would not only protect the
        privacy rights of the minority but would in fact allow the vast
        majority to get the information they were seeking. Not to adopt a
        disclosure veto for past adoptions, said Ms. Cavoukian "would be to
        ignore the wishes of an entire segment of society'."
    

    The Commissioner today reiterated her commitment to provide the full
support of her office to assist the government in developing constitutionally
appropriate legislation. She looks forward to working with the Premier and the
government in bringing about such legislation.

    The Information and Privacy Commissioner is appointed by and reports to
the Ontario Legislative Assembly, and is independent of the government of the
day. The Commissioner's mandate includes overseeing the access and privacy
provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as the
Personal Health Information Protection Act, and commenting on access and
privacy issues.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Bob Spence, Communications
Co-ordinator, Direct line: (416) 326-3939, Cell phone: (416) 873-9746, Toll
free: 1-800-387-0073, bob.spence@ipc.on.ca, www.ipc.on.ca


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