TORONTO – A week after a new survey revealed the number of child protection agencies warehousing children and youth in unsafe, unlicensed homes across the province, the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) offered a legislative solution. The Conservatives rejected it.

Bill 188, branded the Supporting Children’s Futures Act, contained updates to the Child, Youth, and Family Services Act of 2017 that governs, among other things, how Ontario’s 50 Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) operate. The legislation offered a perfect opportunity to address the unlicensed placement crisis that’s seen hundreds of children and youth as young as three kept in motels, trailers, and even CAS offices this past year alone.

“The Ford government can’t claim ignorance. They can’t say they don’t know about the problem because we have the numbers. We know this is happening at nearly every agency in the province. We know children and youth are suffering. We know one young person with autism has been sleeping on a cot in an office with the hum of fluorescent lights above him for more than three months. This is unacceptable and it demands a solution,” said Fred Hahn, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, which represents thousands of child protection workers in 27 union locals across the province. “We brought this data to the government. We asked for meetings. We proposed solutions. They ignored us just like they are ignoring these children, youth, and families in dire need.”

The ONDP proposed amendments to Bill 188 that would have compelled the Ministry of Children, Youth, and Community Services (MCCSS) to increase transparency around serious occurrences and banned the use of motels and other unlicensed placements. The amendments were ignored, and Bill 188 passed with no new protections to safeguard Ontario’s most vulnerable young people.

“The party line from the government has been that they don’t dictate to agencies where to place children and youth. They’re putting their heads in the sand, pretending this crisis isn’t real, while children’s lives are at stake,” said Member of Provincial Parliament, Monique Taylor, ONDP critic for the MCCSS. “When child protection workers take a young person into care, that’s a promise from the government that they are going to do everything in their power to help and support them. That starts with keeping them safe. Motels are simply not an appropriate place to do so. We need more foster beds and treatment facilities. And agencies need this government to step up and fund them properly.”

Concerned community members who want to prioritize the safety of children and youth are encouraged to sign CUPE Ontario’s petition:


For more information, contact:

Jesse Mintz, CUPE Communications
[email protected]