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WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?

All children and youth have rights under Canadian law. The Ontario Child Advocate's Office can help you navigate your rights if:

  • You are a young person seeking or receiving services from a children’s aid society.
  • You are a young person receiving services from a children's mental health service.
  • You are a young person involved in the youth criminal justice system.
  • You are a young person with a special need.
  • You are a First Nations youth.
  • You attend one of Ontario’s provincial schools for the deaf, schools for the blind or demonstration schools.

 

Do you have a question about your rights? Ask us now!

What are my rights in foster care, group home care or a treatment facility?

Under the Child and Family Services Act, you have the right, among others, to:

  • Be informed about the Advocate’s Office, and your right to speak with an advocate on request
  • Be given access to a phone in a private space to call the Advocate’s Office without delay
  • Adequate food
  • Clothing
  • Medical and dental care
  • An education
  • Your personal belongings
  • Reasonable privacy
  • Receive mail
  • Be heard and to express your views
  • Be informed about how to make an internal complaint to the agency or service provider
  • Be informed about how to make an application to the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB)*
  • If you are an Indigenous person, you have the right to have your band notified of your situation

*If you are or over the age of 12 and unhappy about your placement, you can make an application to the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB). You can also make a complaint to the CFSRB about a children’s aid society, and appeal an expulsion from a school board.

If your rights are not being respected, an Advocate can give you information about what steps can be taken to address the situation. They can then help you with the steps that are available to you to resolve the situation.

Contact an Advocate.

I am unhappy about my placement in a foster home, group home, treatment facility or youth custody facility (jail). What are my rights and what can I do?

If you are unhappy with your placement, you have the right to be given access to a phone in a private space to call the Advocate’s Office without delay to talk about what you can do about the situation. An advocate can help you talk to your child protection worker, case worker, probation officer, the children’s aid society, or the Ministry of Children and Youth Services so that your concerns can be addressed.

If you are 12 years of age or older and in care, you have the right to make an application for a review of your placement to the Residential Placement Advisory Committee (RPAC) and then the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB).

If you are in a youth custody facility, you have the right to make an application for a review of your placement to the Custody Review Board (CRB).

If you have any questions about this, Contact an Advocate.

What are my rights if I feel unsafe in care?

The rights and freedoms afforded under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply to everyone, including children and youth. The following fundamental rights are guaranteed under the Charter and cannot be taken away from you except in certain circumstances under the law:

  • You have the right to your life.
  • You have the right to your liberty and not to be arbitrarily detained without a lawful reason.
  • You have the right to security of the person.
  • You have the right to freely express your thoughts, belief and opinions.

If you think that any of your rights are not being respected, or you have concerns about things like your safety, your placement, food, discipline and consequences or the use of physical restraints, an Advocate at the Office can give you information about what steps can be taken to address the situation. They can then help you with the steps that are available to you to resolve the situation.

If you want more information or you think your rights are being violated, Contact an Advocate.

I feel that I am being discriminated against. What are my rights?

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person  has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without 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.

If you think that you are being discriminated against, an Advocate at the Office can provide you with information on how to resolve the issue. They can then help you with the steps that are available to you to resolve the situation.

Contact an Advocate.

What are my rights if the police want to talk to me?

The Ontario Child Advocate cannot provide young people with legal advice about criminal matters. If you are in contact with the police, you have the right to be represented by legal counsel and you cannot be put in jail simply because there is nowhere else for you to live. If you are under 18 years of age and have a legal question that arises from a criminal investigation under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, contact the Justice for Children and Youth legal clinic to obtain legal advice.

If you have any questions about this, Contact an Advocate.

I am a student at a provincial or demonstration school. Can I call the Advocate’s Office?

Yes, you have the right to contact an Advocate at the Office.

If you feel that your right to call the Advocate’s Office is not being respected, an Advocate at the Office can provide you with information on how to resolve the issue. They can then help you with the steps that are available to you to resolve the situation.

Contact an Advocate.

What can I do if I have a concern about my health, my treatment, or my medication plan, including being treated against my will?

Under the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, you are presumed capable. Unless you are found incapable, you have the right to:

  • Make your own decisions about your health.
  • Change your mind about your health care treatment.

If you feel like you haven’t been allowed to make your own choice or give informed consent to your own health care treatment, or you’ve been found incapable and have questions, call the Advocate’s Office to speak to an Advocate.

Access a copy of the Ultimate Health Rights Survival Guide -- A step-by-step guide for young people for making your own health decisions and what to do when you can’t make your own decisions, developed by the Advocate’s Office.

If you have any questions about this, Contact an Advocate.