Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ottawa CAS Blocking Memberships Again

The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa appears to be acting with corporate oppression tactics again by blocking members of the community from obtaining memberships with the Society. The letter below is yet another attempt by John Dunn to obtain a membership with the local Children's Aid Society in order to advocate for changes to the policies and practices of the Society through the proper channels.

UPDATE: Nov 21, 2012: I contacted the Society again to ask if they were sending an application and I have now received one. In the past the Society has rejected my membership applications. I am going to fill it out and I expect them to reject it again without a proper explanation.

When finished reading this e-mail, please see our other posts and our Crown Ward newsletter at

Barbara MacKinnon
Executive Director
Children's Aid Society of Ottawa

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Please distribute this letter to the Board of Directors of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa as I wish to send it to them for consideration and respond confirming such.

Barbara MacKinnon,

As you are aware, Children's Aid Societies allegedly offer corporate membership to members of the local community as a means of providing local oversight of their operations. As you are also aware, the Ministers of Children and Youth Services also believe this and have publicly stated so on Hansard in the legislature. However, despite the appearance of local oversight through Society memberships, the Ottawa Children's Aid Society continues to feign local oversight.

On November 04, 2012 I submitted yet another request for a copy of the Society's latest membership application. The Society confirmed receipt of my request on November 06th 2012, yet to date,  two weeks later, I have not yet received a Society membership application.

Can you please respond to this e-mail indicating whether you intend to send a membership application to me so that I may apply for a Society membership in accordance with the Society's corporate by-laws, or if you are continuing to subject me to the equivalent of a "life-time ban" on membership since my efforts to obtain a Society membership have consistently thwarted since 2006, despite the Society's 2009 assertion via registered mail that "there is no such thing as a life-time ban regarding Society membership applications".

I have been trying to obtain a membership with the Society for approximately six years. It is my hope that eventually the Society will accept my membership so that I may advocate for changes to the Society's policies and practices through the only available means to do so, which is via membership. In preventing members of the public from obtaining membership, the Society frustrates the public, and is also putting up a false appearance to their regulators that they are being overseen by their local public.

The reason I have CC'd the interested parties below is because many of them are of the belief that Children's Aid Society's have local memberships as a mechanism of public oversight when in fact those who advocate the most for change are being rejected from doing so via the proper channels. In addition, this type of behaviour by CASs and their executives demonstrate to these important individuals, especially Irwin Elman, the Child Welfare Critics, and the Minister, the way former youth from care are treated when they attempt to properly raise their voices for change after a life time of foster care experience.

I have been extremely patient with this issue over the past almost seven years. I have also not acted illegally in my efforts to advocate for change, however I stand strong behind my public statement that the Society, on the other hand, in their efforts to block me from advocating for changes via legal and 'proper' channels has willingly and openly contravened offence creating provisions of their governing legislation (SubSection 307 (5) Corporations Act) and that in doing so has also contravened Subsection 15 (3)(g) of the Child and Family Services Act which requires the Society perform any other duties given to it by the CFSA and by the Corporations Act, subsequently contravening their own Annual Service Agreements with the Ministry for funding and approval to serve, as well as the Ministry's Accountability Framework by failing to comply with their applicable statutes and governing instruments as stated above.

If citizens can not advocate for change via the 'proper channels' what are they left with? Intentional acts of oppression by CASs through their executives, and Board members, have led to frustration, protest, and sadly, as has been evidenced by people in the past such as Jim Malone who drove his flaming truck into the Windsor CAS building, killing himself in the process, as well as countless numbers of people who have made physical threats of violence to their respective Societies, staff and volunteers.

Since I am not a violent person and have no intention of ever acting in such a way, I can only beg the Society to allow me and others a chance to advocate for change through the legal and 'proper' means, membership being a primary and simple solution without having to be faced with what is known in the courts as 'oppressive" corporate actions. The by-laws already govern the behaviour of members and provide sanctions for wrongdoing by them. CASs can't assume everyone who applies for membership will act inappropriately at meetings until they prove otherwise.

As an example, I have attended a few Board meetings of the Ottawa CAS in an attempt to demonstrate that I act appropriately in such environments.


John Dunn
Executive Director (Volunteer)
Foster Care Council of Canada
News Blog:
Child Welfare Discussion Forum:


Children's Aid Society of Ottawa
Tracy EngleKing - CAS Senior Legal Counsel / Membership Committee
Mary Parisien - Executive Assistant, Ottawa CAS

Ontario Legislature
MPP, Monique Taylor - NDP Ontario, Child Welfare Critic (Introduced Ombudsman Oversight Bill 110)
MPP, Jane McKenna - PC Ontario, Child Welfare Critic
Jennifer Mooradian - Green Party of Ontario (GPO) Child Welfare Critic
MPP, Randy Hillier - PC Ontario - Outspoken on CAS Oversight
MPP, Frank Klees - PC Ontario - Outspoken on CAS Oversight

Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Laurel Broten - Minister of Children and Youth Services

Ontario Provincial Child and Youth Advocate
Irwin Elman - Provincial Child and Youth Advocate