On June 1, 2017, Ontario Bill 89 received Royal Assent. Bill 89 made a number of changes pertaining to the rights of children. It repealed the Child and Family Services Act, and enacted the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017; these acts both deal with child protection services, and adoption and foster care services. Some of the changes made by the new act include protections for children on the basis of gender identity and gender expression, something which was not included in the previous act. It also removed the word ‘religion’ from the enumerated grounds, stating that ‘creed’ is to be interpreted as including religion.
This Act provides children with a number of rights, which are to be taken into consideration when considering the best interests of the child. Previously parents were able to direct a child’s religious upbringing and education; that wording has been altered, stating that parents can still direct a child’s education and religious upbringing, but in accordance with the child’s own beliefs and identity, not only with those of the parents.