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PWC demands Child Advocate be reinstated

In a letter to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, OPSEU’s Provincial Women’s Committee (PWC) is demanding that the Ontario Child Advocate be reinstated.

“According to the former advocate in charge of the portfolio, Irwin Elman, his office represented children and youth who received child welfare services, youth with disabilities or mental health issues, and young people who were involved with the youth justice system, most of whom are from marginalized and Indigenous communities,” writes PWC Chair Dianne Clarabut to Minister Todd Smith.

“We urge you to reinstate the Ontario Child Advocate in order to ensure that our children will have the chance for a future they deserve.”

Here’s the full text of the PWC’s letter:

March 12, 2020

Hon. Todd Smith
Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
Hepburn Block, 6th Floor
80 Grosvenor St.
Toronto, ON, M7A 1E9
todd.smithco@pc.ola.org, ministermccss@ontario.ca

Dear Minister Smith,

The Provincial Women’s Committee of the Ontario Public Services Union (OPSEU), and its members would like to appeal to you to reconsider your government’s decision to dismantle the office of the Ontario Child Advocate.

The child advocate was an independent body with a specific mandate, which was to be a voice and representative for the most vulnerable and marginalized children and youth.  The government’s decision to dismantle this service sent a message that your government’s austerity and cuts are more important than the welfare of Ontario’s youth.

According to the former advocate in charge of the portfolio, Irwin Elman, his office represented children and youth who received child welfare services, youth with disabilities or mental health issues, and young people who were involved with the youth justice system, most of whom are from marginalized and Indigenous communities.

Although the Ford Government has promised to continue to support Ontario’s children through the Ombudsman’s office, there continues to be cuts to services that are critical to so many families and youth across Ontario.  Our communities deserve and demand immediate and positive action.

It is our belief that in order for Ontario’s youth to strive, they must be a priority for your government, not the kind of austerity and cutbacks we’ve been seeing.

We urge you to reinstate the Ontario Child Advocate in order to ensure that our children will have the chance for a future they deserve.

Dianne Clarabut
Chair, OPSEU Provincial Women’s Committee