Ontario Bill 89 to Allow State to Take Away Children "Abused" on the Basis of Gender Identity

(Photo by Benson Kua, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10803582)

(Photo by Benson Kua, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10803582)

Early today, the Ontario government passed Bill-89, Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017, which repeals and replaces the old Child and Family Services Act. This new legislation could permit the state to intervene in situation where families are not accepting of the child’s chosen gender identity and gender expression. The Minister of Child and Family Services, Michael Coteau, characterizes parental opposition to a child’s self-expressed gender identity as a form of abuse that justifies the state to remove that child “from that environment and place [them] into protection where the abuse stops”.

While most have celebrated this bill for shifting the legal paradigm to child-centred care in promotion of children’s rights and the best interests of the child, critics deem the bill “totalitarian”, a danger and threat to people of faith who have children, and a direct attack on parental authority. Petitions are currently calling for a repeal of this bill.