Disclosure changes

Post-adoption disclosure changes from the Red Tape Reduction Act took effect January 1, 2021.

Disclosure of adoption information

The Ministry of Children’s Services will be able to release identifying biological background information to an adopted person or their descendants, siblings and biological parents – unless a specific veto has already been filed.

In order to respect the balance between information disclosure and the right to privacy, additional information will not be released to siblings until July 1, 2021. This will allow adopted persons to have time during the 6-month transition period for the submission of a veto, if they choose to.

Disclosure vetoes

On adoptions granted prior to 2005, birth parents and adoptees were able to file disclosure vetoes to prevent the disclosure of personal information.

In adoptions completed after 2005, disclosure vetoes were no longer allowed in Alberta.

A Contact Preference form can be completed for all adoptions granted in the Province of Alberta. On this form, you can indicate the type of contact you wish to have or if you do not wish to have contact. This information would be shared with the other party upon their request for information.

Reasons for removing the right to file a disclosure veto

  • The current legislation is complicated by the fact that it currently has sections for both pre-2005 and post-2005 adoptions.
  • There has been no right to file a disclosure veto on adoptions completed in Alberta after 2005 and currently less than 1% of adoptees or birth parents involved in adoptions prior to 2005 have filed a veto.
  • There has been a general movement towards increased openness of adoption records across Canada, including recent amendments to legislation in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
  • Members of the public are increasingly using their own research to circumvent veto processes through DNA analysis and social media.
  • Changes will benefit groups impacted by closed adoption practices. For example, many Indigenous people separated by adoption during the Sixties Scoop do not have access to information that would help them reunite with family members. In some cases, having this information could help them obtain Indigenous status.

Birth parents and adoptees adopted prior to 2005

A provision was provided in legislation that gives birth parents and adoptees involved in adoption prior to 2005, 6 months to file a disclosure veto. The 6 month period to file a veto ends on July 1, 2021. Adoptees involved in adoptions prior to 2005 who are not yet 18, have until they turn the age of 18 plus 6 months to file a veto.

Siblings

On January 1, 2021, a provision in legislation was granted to allow birth siblings the ability to request information about their adopted sibling. This information will not be released until July 1, 2021, to allow adopted persons time to submit a veto, if they choose. If a veto is submitted by the adopted person, their information will not be released to the sibling.

To request information about a birth sibling, you will need to complete and submit the Request for Release of Adoption Information form (PDF, 80 KB).

Voluntary contact

Barriers for extended family members applying to have contact with an adoptee have been removed. Family members, such as grandparents, no longer require birth parent consent to register. Band members and Metis Settlement members can also register to connect with an adoptee from their same band or settlement.

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