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P.E.I. government to open up adoption records in fall

PC MLAs Darlene Compton and Cory Deagle talk before the first question period of the new legislative session June 18.
PC MLAs Darlene Compton and Cory Deagle talk before the first question period of the new legislative session June 18. - Mitch MacDonald
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The province’s Minister of Social Development and Housing said the province will be bringing forward legislation in the fall to make adoption records more freely available.

Minister Ernie Hudson made the remarks in response to a question posed by Montague-Kilmuir MLA Cory Deagle, a member of his own Progressive Conservative party.

In last fall’s sitting, the previous Liberal government announced plans to introduce legislation to allow more access to adoption records, after a detailed consultation process. But a provincial election was called before this legislation could be introduced.

Currently, only non-identifying information regarding adoptions are made available to adopted adult children or birth parents of adopted children, unless both parties consent to the release of identifying information. However, the province’s consultation report proposed more open access to records but also recommended individuals have options for vetoing the ability of grown adopted children or birth parents to have access to their information.

On Tuesday, Deagle asked Hudson the status of allowing individuals “open access to their adoption records.”

In response, Hudson said the new government planned to bring forward legislation on the subject in the fall sitting.

Deagle suggested the Act should not have a veto option for individuals seeking information.

“Most provinces have open adoption records, with a no contact option but not a veto,” Deagle said.

“Will you reconsider any plans to include a veto option in changes to the Adoption Act?,” he asked Hudson.

In response, Hudson said the government needed time to consult with adoptees about changes to legislation governing records.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure that we have this legislation right and that we take into consideration and feedback all of these issues,” Hudson said.

Deagle, the sole backbencher on the government side of the legislature, said he brought up the issue because it was a concern of some of his constituents.

"It's an issue that I've been following from outside the legislature for about a year now," Deagle said in an interview.

Deagle said he was aware that previous backbench MLAs on the government side often posed “lob-balled questions” of ministers, for which they were often briefed beforehand. He said he wanted to avoid this.

"I wanted to bring this forward and actually get some answers from government and the cabinet," Deagle said.

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RELATED:

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