SUMMARY: Charges Against Ottawa CAS

The Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa and its executive director Barbara MacKinnon face trial Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 9:30am for charges under section 307 (5) of the Corporations Act.

Related Case Law:
Lawrence v. Toronto Humane Society

The Trial time and location
Provincial Offences Court
100 Constellation Cres
Nepean, ON (Ottawa)
Court Room 101
9:30am

Offences Charged:

1. Failing to furnish a list of their members
2. Authorizing, permitting, or aquiescing to the offence in number 1 above.

Feel free to send someone to monitor this matter.

Prosecutor/Informant: Former Foster Child – John Dunn

Counsel for Defendant Society and Barbara MacKinnon: Robert C. Morrow and Danesh Rana of Burke-Robertson Barristors & Solicitors

Media in Attendance: Ottawa Citizen possibly others

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

"TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF NON-PROFITS"
OR
"ADHERING TO GOVERNING LEGISLATION"

One of the self-proclaimed "leading firms in Canada in the area of charity and not-for-profit law", Carters Professional Corporation published information in their own "Charity Law Bulletin No. 101" ( http://www.carters.ca/pub/bulletin/charity/2006/chylb101.htm ) which speaks to the importance of non-share capital corporations (non-profits) adhering "as strictly to corporate governance procedures as their share capital counterparts".

The impact of failing to adhere to governing legislation, the Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C-38 (the Act) is being felt by the local Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa (the Society) and it’s executive Director, Barbara MacKinnon who have been charged separately under the Act with counts of "failing to furnish a list of their members" and "authorizing, permitting, or acquiescing to such offence" respectively.

These charges, although corporate in nature, are surprisingly rooted in philanthropic efforts by former foster child and Ottawa resident, John Dunn who was attempting to advocate for changes to the corporation’s by-laws which would allow former foster children who are now adults to become voting members of the Society even if they happen to live outside of the city of Ottawa. Currently the Society’s by-laws prevent anyone who does not work or live in the city from becoming a member and advocating for changes.

Dunn says "this is a serious problem because foster children are often moved away from their families outside of their city of origin and eventually grow up in other locations making it impossible for them to become voting members of the Children’s Aid Society which had life-altering, positive or negative impacts on their lives. If they want to advocate for changes in how the Society operates through regular membership or through joining the board of directors they are prevented from doing so". He continues to say "The Societies tell them to join the Children’s Aid Society in their local area when they seek membership, however doing so is akin to joining the Alumni of a University in Toronto when you attended a University in Ottawa… it makes no sense, especially if you want to change the way things are done at your own Society given your life experiences with them."

Regardless of the many potential reasons for the charges being laid, it is vital that all corporations, profit or non-profit in nature adhere to their governing legislation because you never know when someone might try and hold you to account!

John Dunn has been advocating for improved transparency and accountability of  Children’s Aid Societies across the province for several years through his organization the Foster Care Council of Canada, which has as it’s mission statement "Involving current and former foster children and their supporters in the process of improving the transparency and accountability of child-welfare services through a strong and united voice"

If you are interested in following the case or attending the trial you can learn more online at http://www.fostercarenews.blogspot.com

THE TRIAL TAKES PLACE ON WED DEC 01, 2010 AT 9:00AM

PROVINCIAL OFFENCES COURT
100 CONSTELLATION CRESCENT
COURT ROOM 101

(NEAR ALGONQUIN COLLEGE IN CITY BUILDING)

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