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.
— TruthFeed News (@TruthFeedNews) June 6, 2017
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.
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.
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.