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Legislation and Acts

PART ONE - LAWS THAT AFFECT YOUNG PEOPLE'S RIGHTS
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This section provides links to important laws that affect the rights of young people.

The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007, governs the activities of the Ontario Child Advocate.  This Act outlines the powers of the Advocate and the situations under which the Advocate can hold a review or conduct an investigation. 

The Child and Family Services Act is the law that governs the operations and duties of children’s aid societies, the obligations of residential service providers, and the rights of children and youth who are in state care. The Child and Family Services Act also sets out specific legal rules about the use of secure isolation and secure treatment.  It is important to know that the Child and Family Services Act also includes a number of complaint mechanisms that are required by law to be made available to people receiving services from a Children’s Aid Society or a residential service provider, such as the Child and Family Services Review Board, Custody Review Board and Residential Placement Advisory Committees.

The Coroner’s Act is the law that governs the activities of coroners and pathologists when they conduct death investigations in Ontario.  Specifically, the Coroner’s Act sets out the duties and obligations of a coroner who investigates the death of a child or youth who dies while in custody, after being admitted for psychiatric treatment, or if they were receiving services from a Children’s Aid Society at the time of death, or at any time in the year prior to death.

A link to the Office of the Chief Coroner’s website can be found here: http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/DeathInvestigations/office_coroner/coroner.html

The Education Act is the law that establishes school boards in Ontario to oversee education.  The Education Act contains legal rules about things like school attendance, student records, suspensions, and expulsion. It is important to know that the Education Act gives the Child and Family Services Review Board the power to hear appeals of school expulsion decisions.

The Health Care Consent Act applies to situations where an individual (including a child or youth) is deemed to be incapable of making their own decisions about medical treatment.  The Health Care Consent Act sets out the rules about informed consent and who is allowed to act as a substitute decision-maker for a person who is incapable of giving informed consent to treatment. It is important to know that this legislation applies to people of all ages and there are no separate laws for children and youth or children and youth in care.

The Mental Health Act is the law that governs admission to psychiatric facilities, and voluntary and involuntary admissions to hospital for mental health treatment.

It is important to know that appeals of decisions made under the Health Care Consent Act, the Mental Health Act, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, the Substitute Decisions Act and the Mandatory Blood Testing Act, are heard by an independent board established by the Province of Ontario called the Consent and Capacity Board.   A link to the Consent and Capacity Board’s website can be found here: http://www.ccboard.on.ca/scripts/english/index.asp

The Ontario Human Rights Code contains provisions that protect people from discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability.

A link to the website of the Ontario Human Rights Commission can be found here: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en

The Police Services Act is the law that sets out the duties, obligations and statutory authority for all police services in Ontario.  The Police Services Act also outlines the rules for making a complaint about a police officer or a police service, and identifies the role of the Special Investigations Unit in situations where an individual has dies while in the custody of police.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act is the law that applies to all young people in Canada who are charged with an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.

PART TWO - Laws about protecting privacy or obtaining information
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There are certain legal rules that apply to accessing information held by governments or institutions and the protection of individual privacy. This section links to a number of statutes in Ontario that relate to privacy and access to information.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is the law that governs access to information held by the Ontario government, or agencies funded by the Ontario government. The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is the law that governs access to information held by municipalities, school boards, municipal police services and other boards or service providers funded by cities or municipalities.

The Personal Health Information Protection Act is the law that governs access to personal health information of individuals in the Province of Ontario.

Part Three - United Nations Conventions and Declarations
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Although they are not part of the national law of Canada, several United Nations declarations and conventions address issues affecting Canadian youth, and are often referred to by courts and tribunals when considering the rights of children and youth.

This section links to important international declarations and conventions.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Part Four - The Constitution of Canada
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The highest or most supreme law in Canada is known as the Constitution of Canada and is made up of a number of different statutes. Of particular importance to children and youth is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which applies to all Canadians and guarantees certain constitutional rights, such as the right to life, liberty and security of the person.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms can be found here.

The Consolidated Constitution Acts from 1867-1982 can be found here.