Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth – Mandate

Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth – Mandate

The duty of the Office, as simply stated in the Bill, is to:

1.”provide an independent voice for children and youth including First Nations children and youth and children with special needs by partnering with them to bring issues forward”; and

2.”encourage communication and understanding between children and families and those who provide them with services”; and

3.” educate children, youth and their caregivers regarding the rights of children and youth”

As of March 2016:

  • Increased Mandate
  • Includes an investigation branch now


  • Youth focus – advocate for youth only
  • Children and Youth must call themselves (don’t hear from parents)



  • Anyone can call on behalf of children and youth
  • Hear mainly from parents
  • Cant reverse any prior decisions
  • Make recommendations – in hopes they will be adopted


Parental Voice

  • No voice for parents in and of themselves, but do work with parents calling on behalf of their children

Provincial Advocate Contact:


Irwin Elman

Meet the Provincial Advocate

In October of 2007, the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth was established with the passage of Bill 165 by the Legislature of Ontario. On July 14, 2008 an all party panel of the Legislature appointed Irwin Elman to provide leadership to the new Provincial Advocate Office as it strives to promote the voice of children and youth across Ontario.


Of Interest on the Advocates Website:

Serious Incidents Report http://provincialadvocate.on.ca/documents/en/SOR_Preliminary_Report_022016_En.pdf

Experience of Black Youth Survey


Child Deaths


Mandate letter progress: Children and Youth Services

The Minister’s response letter to Premier Wynne, outlining the results achieved on key mandate priorities in 2014-15.

January 11, 2016

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

Dear Premier:

I am pleased to advise you on the progress we are making on the items outlined in my September 2014 mandate letter. Our success at the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) is achieved in collaboration with partner ministries, other levels of government and the public and private sectors.

Progress for the children and youth of Ontario is built on the foundation that all components of society have a role to play in supporting positive child and youth outcomes. I am pleased to report that our work at MCYS is garnering national and international attention, as other jurisdictions are looking to us for best practices in helping children and youth reach their full potential.

Child Welfare

  • We continue to work with children’s aid societies (CASs) to emphasize prevention so that, wherever possible, children can remain with their families with appropriate supports.
  • We have doubled the number of adoptions and permanency placements in recent years, and we are introducing new subsidies and supports to ensure even more kids have access to forever families.
  • We have increased our focus on transparency and accountability by introducing cyclical reviews and common performance measures for all CASsand through the passage of Bill 8, which gives the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth investigatory functions over CASs.
  • We continue to work with the Ministry of Education, school boards and CASson improving the educational outcomes of children and youth in care, and are now rolling out a provincial IT system for CASs to improve safety for children across the province.
  • We will continue to raise public awareness of the duty to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
  • We continue to work with our partners to improve the child welfare system and outcomes for children, building on the advice of the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare and other inputs.


For responses regarding poverty, the law in conflict with our kids, autism, indigenous child and youth services…..




Today during Question Period, Monique Taylor, the Ontario NDP’s critic for Children and Youth Services, demanded Premier Wynne  keep her word to change the child welfare system, and take immediate action on the Katelynn  Sampson inquest’s core recommendation, “Katelynn’s principle.”

“On Friday, the inquest into Katelynn Sampson’s death led to 173 recommendations.  The most important was to overhaul the child welfare, judicial and education systems to hear and value children’s voices and wishes,” said Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain.

“As the judge in the initial case stated, ‘alarm bells were ringing but no one was responding.’  Will the Premier do the right thing and immediately implement Katelynn’s principle, the core recommendation of the inquest?” asked Taylor. 

Eight years ago, seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson was murdered by two caregivers who previously had children removed from them by the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).  Taylor recounted  that on a note written before she was found, Katelynn had written 62 times, “I am A awful girl that’s why know one wants me.”

“It is undeniable that Katelynn was failed in every possible way during her short life,” Taylor said. “She was failed by a broken system that didn’t properly protect our most vulnerable children.  A system that didn’t respond when half a dozen calls concerning Katelynn in the months before her death were made.”

 Taylor reminded Premier Wynne of her promise to take action to change the child welfare system.

“The Premier has said that once she has the information and evidence necessary, she would make change.  The information is in front of her. The time for change is now,” said Taylor. 

“Will the Premier immediately ensure that children are at the centre of child welfare in the province and that their voices are heard and valued?”