TORONTO, November 26, 2018
Covenant House Toronto is concerned that the Government of Ontario has announced the repeal of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007, the end of the independent Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (PACY), and the transition of that function to the Ombudsman’s Office.
“Many of the youth we serve have been through provincial systems, such as child welfare or youth justice. Vulnerable youth in Ontario deserve to have their voices heard. PACY helps to amplify youth voices to improve the systems that impact them.” said Bruce Rivers, Executive Director of Covenant House Toronto.
The ability of PACY to not only deal with complaints but also proactively investigate important systemic issues has provided invaluable insights for government, as well as improvements to those systems that support vulnerable youth in Ontario. PACY’s role of empowering youth to speak with their own voices has been essential to informing those systems change and is an element that is not currently available within the existing Ombudsman framework.
We are heartened to hear that Minister Lisa MacLeod will continue to act as a fierce advocate for children and youth in Ontario. Experience has shown that government also benefits from an independent voice that can listen and clearly articulate the needs of our most vulnerable populations.
We hope that the provincial government and the Ombudsman will work with Covenant House Toronto and the youth homelessness sector in Ontario to ensure that the voices and experiences of children and youth involved with Ontario’s systems are heard in the new expanded Ombudsman’s Office.
For more information contact:
Associate Director of Communications
Covenant House Toronto