On June 1, 2009, Ontario will become the fifth Canadian province to open adoption records. The other four provinces with open adoption records are British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland.
Approximately 250,000 adoption orders have been filed in Ontario since 1921. Open records will allow adults who were adopted in Ontario to apply for copies of their adoption order and birth registration. Birth parents will also be able to apply for identifying information from these documents.
There has been a battle to open adoption records in Ontario for years. Open records has been a long time coming and means that adult adoptees will be able to learn their birth names as well as the names of their birth parents. Birth parents will be able to learn the name their child was given after their adoption.
Birth parents and adult adoptees whose adoption was finalized before September 1, 2008, can file a disclosure veto to prevent the release of identifying information. To date, only a very small percentage of adoptees or birth parents have filed a veto.
Should involved parties have a preference for how they are contacted, they may file a "notice of contact preference" providing the details of how they can be contacted. If an adopted adult or birthmother or birthfather do not wish to be contacted by the other party they may file a "no contact notice". Doing so would allow the release of the information but impose a fine on those who do make contact against the other parties wishes.
Adopted adults, birth parents, adult birth siblings and birth grandparents can apply to have their names placed on the Adoption Disclosure Register. Should there be a match between an adoptee and a birth relative, the matched individuals will be provided with the contact information that has been provided to the Register.
Visit ServiceOntario.ca to file a disclosure veto, a no contact notice, a notice of contact preference or to place your name on the Adoption Disclosure Register.