B.C. has amended the Adoption Act to make out-of-province adoptions legal, following lawsuits focused on the long-standing practice of placing children in other provinces.
For decades the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) sent children to families outside of B.C. to be adopted, but the B.C. Supreme Court ruled last year it was illegal.
The province tabled a bill in early March to change the act, in what an NDP MLA termed a “surprise” move.
“It came out of nowhere,” said Melanie Mark, critic for issues involving families and children.
She said while the adoption process needs clarity, the change runs “roughshod” over families, particularly Indigenous families affected by the changes but not consulted during the drafting of the bill.
“This bill got amended because for the past 20 years the province has been acting out of its jurisdiction.”
“They were caught. The amendments were them covering their tracks because the Supreme Court said what they were doing was wrong.”
In March 2016 a B.C. Supreme Court ruling warned that the MCFD’s director of adoption has no “legal authority” to do this, despite a long-standing practice that’s affected 130 children since 1997.
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