01 May 2018

Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 proclaimed in force

The College has learned that the new Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) and its supporting regulations have been proclaimed in force as of April 30, 2018. While the majority of provisions in the CYFSA are now in effect, Part X (Personal Information) will come into force January 1, 2020.

The CYFSA replaces the Child and Family Services Act, RSO 1990 (CFSA), which has been repealed. Members can access the CYFSA and its supporting regulations on the e-Laws website at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/17c14 . Information about the changes and their impact on service delivery can be found on the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) website at http://www.ontario.ca/children.

Of particular relevance to social workers and social service workers is section 125, which sets out the duty to report. Members are reminded that the College’s Standards of Practice require them to maintain current knowledge of legislation relevant to their practice. They are strongly encouraged to review the College’s article on the duty to report, which can be found on the College website and has been updated to reflect this important legislative change.

Regulations under the CYFSA
The College has worked with government to address its concerns about regulations under the new CYFSA which set out the qualifications of Children’s Aid Society (CAS) staff. Upon learning in late November that the proposed regulations would continue to allow CAS workers to avoid registration with the College, the College immediately engaged with MCYS and outlined its strong concerns in a letter to the Minister of Children and Youth Services and a submission to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services during the consultation period.

The new regulation was updated to require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College. We are pleased to note that, while the new regulation does not currently require CAS supervisors to be registered, we have received a commitment from government to work with the College and the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies toward a goal of requiring registration of CAS supervisors beginning January 2019.

However, the College also wishes to express its serious concerns about the new regulation’s lack of any requirement for child protection workers to be registered with the College.

Key concerns
The absence of a requirement for CAS child protection workers to be registered with the College:

  • ignores the public protection mandate of the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 (SWSSWA);
  • avoids the fact that social workers and social service workers are regulated professions in Ontario and ignores the College’s important role in protecting the Ontario public from harm caused by incompetent, unqualified or unfit practitioners;
  • allows CAS staff to operate outside the system of public protection and oversight that the Government has established through professional regulation; and
  • fails to provide the assurance to all Ontarians that they are receiving services from CAS staff who are registered with, and accountable to, the College.

The Ontario government has promised to further discuss requirements for other society staff positions in the future. The College will continue to work with the government and sector partners to emphasize its important role and relevance in the child welfare sector and to seek changes to the regulations which would address the risks to the public associated with the fact that many CAS workers in Ontario are unregulated by a professional regulatory body.

If you have any practice questions related to the new CYFSA, please contact the Professional Practice Department at 416-972-9882 or 1-877-828-9380 or email practice@ocswssw.org.