Jill Dunlop, associate minister of Children and Women's Issues, has today announced that Ontario is eliminating the practice of birth alerts, notifications sent by children's aid societies to hospitals that a newborn may be in need of protection.
The practice of birth alerts disproportionately affects racialized and marginalized mothers and families and causes these expectant mothers to fear going to hospitals to give birth or from seeking prenatal care or parenting supports while pregnant.
Birth alerts have never been required under provincial legislation and have been used inconsistently by children's aid societies across the province, reads a press statement about the announcement.
Going forward, the government is directing children's aid societies to end the practice of using birth alerts by Oct. 15
Ending the use of birth alerts was a recommendation from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“Ending the use of birth alerts is an important step as we shift our focus to prevention, early intervention and improve outcomes for families and their children,” said Dunlop in a press release.
The release also said Ontario is undertaking an extensive review of the child welfare system, including the overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous and racialized children and youth.