BILL 59 An Act to Amend the Family Services Act

BILL 59

 

An Act to Amend the Family Services Act

 

 

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, enacts as follows:

1 The preamble of the Family Services Act, chapter F-2.2 of the Acts of New Brunswick, 1980, is amended in the sixth paragraph by striking out "and that children should only be removed from parental supervision either partly or entirely when all other measures are inappropriate" and substituting "and that children should only be removed from parental supervision in accordance with the provisions of this Act".

 

2 Section 2 of the Act is repealed.

3 Section 11 of the Act is repealed and the following is substituted:

11(1) All information acquired by the Minister or any other person in relation to any person or matter under this Act, whether of a documentary nature or otherwise, is confidential to the extent that its release would tend to reveal personal information about a person identifiable from the release of the information.

11(2) The Minister shall not permit the release of confidential information to any person without the consent of the person from whom the information was obtained and to whom the information relates.

11(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), the Minister may permit the release of confidential information, without the consent of a person from whom the information was obtained and to whom the information relates,

(a) to another Minister of the Crown or his or her servant,

(b) to a person or persons appointed by the Minister

(i) to review the circumstances surrounding the death of a child under the age of majority who was in the care of the Minister under Part IV or who was known to the child protection system in the twelve months before the child’s death, and

(ii) to make recommendations to the Minister as a result of such review to enable the Minister to improve the manner in which the Minister exercises his or her powers, duties, authority or functions under this Act and the regulations under this Act in relation to children who are in the care of the Minister under Part IV or who are known to the child protection system,

 

(c) to protect the health, safety and security of any person, and

(d) where such release is otherwise provided for under this Act.

11(4) A person to whom information is released under paragraph (3)(b) shall not release, or permit or cause to be released, confidential information without the consent of the person from whom the information was obtained and to whom the information relates.

 

11(5) A person to whom information is released under paragraph (3)(c), other than a person referred to in paragraph (3)(a), shall not release, or permit or cause to be released, confidential information without the consent of the person from whom the information was obtained and to whom the information relates.

 

11(6) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, owners and operators of community placement resources, as defined in Part II, and their employees, and owners and persons in charge of community social service agencies, and their employees, shall not release, or permit or cause to be released, confidential information without the consent of the person from whom the information was obtained and to whom the information relates.

 

 

11(7) Any person who contravenes subsection (4), (5) or (6) commits an offence.

4 The Act is amended by adding after section 11 the following:

11.1(1) The Minister may, in the circumstances prescribed in subsection (3), request any person prescribed in subsection (4) to furnish information to the Minister and to produce any document or record that relates to a child identified by the Minister or to that child’s parents or siblings or to a person identified by the Minister as being significant in the life of the child.

11.1(2) A person to whom the request is made under subsection (1) shall furnish the information or produce the document or record.

 

11.1(3) The circumstances are as follows:

(a) the Minister is providing social services for the child or child’s family or the Minister is acting under Part III or IV of the Act with respect to the child;

(b) the Minister has requested and has been unable to secure the consent of any parent of the child or the person identified as being significant in the life of the child, as the case may be, to release the information, document or record; and

(c) the Minister believes, on reasonable and probable grounds, that the information, document or record is relevant for the purposes of providing the social services or acting under Part III or IV of the Act.

11.1(4) The following persons are prescribed:

(a) persons employed within the civil service, including those employed on a part-time, temporary or casual basis;

 

(b) a hospital corporation as defined in the Hospital Act;

(c) persons employed by a hospital corporation, including those employed on a part-time, temporary or casual basis.

 

11.1(5) The Minister may make a copy of any document or record provided to the Minister under this section.

11.1(6) No action or other proceeding lies, in relation to the giving of information or production of a document or record under this section, against a person who in good faith complies with this section.

 

11.1(7) In this section, "civil service" has the same meaning as in the Civil Service Act.

 

11.2 No provision of this or of any other Act or of any regulation, bylaw, code of ethics or contract requiring a person to maintain secrecy in relation to any matter, or not to disclose information relating to any matter, shall apply in respect of a request by the Minister under section 11.1, and no person who is required to furnish any information or to produce any document or record under section 11.1 shall refuse to furnish the information or produce the document or record on the ground of such a provision.

5 Subsections 30(5.1), (5.2), (5.3), (5.4) and (5.5) of the French version of the Act, as enacted by paragraph 1(b) of chapter 40 of the Acts of New Brunswick, 1998, are amended by renumbering the subsections as 30(5.01), (5.02), (5.03), (5.04) and (5.05) respectively.

6 Paragraph 51(7)(a) of the French version of the Act is amended by striking out "doit rendre" and substituting "peut rendre".

7 Section 73 of the English version of the Act is amended

(a) in subsection (1) by striking out "birthdate" and substituting "birth date";

 

(b) in subsection (2) by striking out "birthdate" and substituting "birth date".

 

8 Paragraph 130.1(d) of the French version of the Act is amended in the portion preceding subparagraph (i) by striking out "acquiesser" and substituting "acquiescer".

9 Schedule A of the Act is amended by striking out "11(4)" and substituting "11(7)".

 

10(1) Subsection 8(1) of the Medical Services Payment Act, chapter M-7 of the Revised Statutes, 1973, is amended by adding after paragraph (a) the following:

(a.1) as required under section 11.1 of the Family Services Act,

10(2) Subsection 17(5) of the Mental Health Act, chapter M-10 of the Revised Statutes, 1973, is amended by adding after paragraph (k) the following:

(k.1) in compliance with section 11.1 of the Family Services Act,

10(3) The Health Act, chapter H-2 of the Revised Statutes, 1973, is amended by adding after section 33 the following:

33.1 Any information acquired by the Minister or any other person in relation to any matter under this Act shall be released as required under section 11.1 of the Family Services Act.

 

10(4) Subsection 66(2) of the Public Health Act, chapter P-22.4 of the Acts of New Brunswick, 1998, is amended by adding after paragraph (b) the following:

(b.1) required under section 11.1 of the Family Services Act,

11 This Act or any provision of it comes into force on a day or days to be fixed by proclamation.

EXPLANATORY NOTES

Section 1

The existing provision is as follows:

WHEREAS it is accepted that parents have responsibility for the care and supervision of their children and that children should only be removed from parental supervision either partly or entirely when all other measures are inappropriate; and

 

Section 2

The existing provision is as follows:

2 This Act shall be liberally construed to the end that the integrity of the family will be protected and family breakdown averted.

Section 3

The existing provision is as follows:

11(1) All information acquired by the Minister or any other person in relation to any person or matter under this Act, whether of a documentary nature or otherwise, is confidential to the extent that its release would tend to reveal personal information about a person identifiable from the release thereof.

 

11(2) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Minister shall not permit the release of confidential information to any person other than another Minister of the Crown or his servant without the consent of the person from whom the information was obtained and to whom the information relates.

11(2.1) The Minister may permit the release of confidential information, without the consent of a person from whom the information was obtained and to whom the information relates, to a person or persons appointed by the Minister

(a) to review the circumstances surrounding the death of a child under the age of majority who was in the care of the Minister under Part IV or who was known to the child protection system in the twelve months before the child’s death, and

(b) to make recommendations to the Minister as a result of such review to enable the Minister to improve the manner in which the Minister exercises his or her powers, duties, authority or functions under this Act and the regulations under this Act in relation to children who are in the care of the Minister under Part IV or who are known to the child protection system.

 

11(2.2) A person referred to in subsection (2.1) shall not release, or permit or cause to be released, confidential information without the consent of the person from whom the information was obtained and to whom the information relates.

11(3) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, owners and operators of community placement resources, as defined in Part II, and their employees, and owners and persons in charge of community social service agencies, and their employees, shall not release, or permit or cause to be released, confidential information without the consent of the person from whom the information was obtained and to whom the information relates.

 

11(4) Any person who contravenes subsection (2.2) or (3) commits an offence.

Section 4

New provision.

Section 5

Some subsections that were incorrectly numbered are renumbered.

Section 6

A language inconsistency is corrected.

Section 7

A typographical error is corrected.

Section 8

A typographical error is corrected.

Section 9

This amendment is consequential on the amendment in section 4 of this amending Act.

Section 10

These amendments are consequential on the amendment in section 4 of this amending Act.

Section 11

Commencement provision.