Adoption provides a legal means for another family to permanently take on the responsibility of caring for and raising a child.

In Canada, provincial legislation regulates adoption. There are several ways to adopt in Ontario, which are all governed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. These are adoption by a relative or family member, public adoption through the Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) of Ontario, private adoption through an adoption practitioner or agency, and international adoption.

Other service we provide to those hoping to adopt:

In Ontario, an applicant must be 18 years of age or older to adopt, unless special circumstances exist.  Where a child is placed by a society, agency or licensee, a home study report or assessment must be conducted, and the placement must be approved by a Director appointed under the Child and Family Services Act. Canadian law makes it an offence to give, receive, or agree to a payment or reward of any kind in connection with a child’s adoption. Legal fees are exempt from these requirements. The penalty for a violation can be up to a $25,000 fine and three years of imprisonment.

Written consents by various individuals affected by the adoption are required before an adoption can be made. Consent is generally required from a child’s parents or guardians, as well as the child if they are seven years of age or older. A parent cannot give consent for adoption before a child is seven days old. The spouse of the applicant must also consent to adoption. There is a 21 day statutory cooling period during which consent can be withdrawn. Where this period has passed, and a child has not yet been placed for adoption, parental consent can still be withdrawn with court approval where it is in the child’s best interests.

To finalize an adoption, a court will make an order for the adoption based on the best interests, protection and well-being of the child. An adoption order, once issued, is final and the applicant becomes the parent of the adopted child. Orders of access to the birth family are generally terminated upon placement, however access orders made prior to a relative or family adoption will survive an adoption order. An openness order can also be made by the court for the purpose of facilitating communication or maintaining a relationship between the child and a birth parent or another person with whom the child had a significant relationship or emotional tie.

In some cases, adopted children and birth parents may want to attempt contact after an adoption is completed. In Ontario, documents filed in support of an application for adoption are generally confidential, but identifying information may be disclosed if there are compelling reasons, or disclosure is necessary for the safety, health or wellbeing of a child. When an adopted child reaches 18 years of age or older, the child or the child’s birth parents may apply to receive a copy of the birth registration and other records. However, records may not be disclosed if a no-contact declaration has been filed by a birth parent or an adopted person who does not wish to be contacted.