Canada can't 'seize' your children if you disagree with their gender identity, despite reports

Jessica Ankomah
A screenshot from <em>Rebel Media</em>‘s YouTube report claiming Ontario’s new bill “threatens our children.”
A screenshot from Rebel Media‘s YouTube report claiming Ontario’s new bill “threatens our children.”

Ontario’s Bill 89, Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act was passed on June 1. With the new law comes enhancements to the province’s child welfare, including child protective services, foster care, and adoption.

One amendment, focusing on gender expression, has sent rumours swirling throughout conservative communities. Since a child’s gender identity now holds same protection as race, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation, many believe the new law is targeting “christian parents who oppose the LGBT agenda” and aims to “seize” their children.

A report from conservative news site Heat Street garnered a massive response online with the headline, “Canada’s New Law Lets Government Take Children Away If Parents Don’t Accept Their Gender Identity,” but according to the government, that’s simply untrue.

“Bill 89 does not give the government power to seize children from families based on a parent that disagrees with a child’s gender identification. Any suggestion of the sort is false,” Alicia Ali, a spokesperson for Michael Coteau, Ontario’s Minister of Children and Youth Services, told BuzzFeed News.

The legislative building at Queen’s Park, Toronto. <i>(Getty)</i>
The legislative building at Queen’s Park, Toronto. (Getty)

Independent watchdog organization Ontario child advocate’s office also says fears over Bill 89 have been misdirected and that a mere disagreement with a child about their gender identity or gender expression is not enough to have your child taken from you.

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There must be a “a pattern of abuse, neglect or serious emotional harm” before removing the child can be considered, according to Akihito Tse, a spokesperson for the advocate’s office.

The reasons a child may require protection are laid out in section 74(2) of Bill 89.

As Tse noted, there are strict condition for removing a child from their family, and the power to take a child into care is not held by government bureaucrats and child aid workers alone.

“There is a clear process through which the final decision is made by a judge,” Tse said.

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