To help ensure the privacy of children and their parents or guardians, the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act and the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (CYFE) prohibit the publication of specific identifying information that reveals the child’s involvement with the child intervention system.
Know what publication means
The publication ban provisions do not prevent a parent or guardian from discussing their child’s situation with the media.
However, the media cannot publish the identifying information without permission of the director or the Courts.
In addition to traditional media publications, posting the prohibited identifying information on social media or other forms or self publication are also not permitted.
The publication ban provisions prevent the following information from being published:
- a child’s name or photograph and their parent’s or guardian’s name or photograph
or, in connection with
- a reference that the child is receiving or has received intervention services
- intervention services includes services such as enhancement services to a family within their home, foster care and services in a secure facility.
This prohibition applies even after a child is no longer receiving intervention services but had received them at one time in the past.
In certain circumstances, identifying information may be published:
- A child is 16 years or older and consents to their own information being published.
In this case the child’s own name or photograph can be published. However, they cannot give permission for their parent’s or guardian’s information being published.
- A child is deceased and there is no Court ordered publication ban under section 126.3 of CYFEA.
In this case the child’s name or photograph can be published. However, the parent’s or guardian’s information cannot be published.
- Interested parties, such as the media, a child, or the parent or guardian of a child, apply for and are granted consent to publish identifying information from one of the following:
(a) A director designated under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act
- the applicant will need to satisfy the director that publication is in the child’s best interests or necessary for the proper administration of justice
(b) The Courts through a court order
- the applicant will need to satisfy the Court that publication is in the child’s best interests or the public interest
Request a publication ban for a deceased child
There are certain circumstances when a publication ban may be requested of the court to protect a deceased child’s identity:
- The deceased child’s family does not want the child’s name and picture published. In this situation, the family applies to the court for the publication ban.
- A Director may apply to the courts for the publication ban after considering whether:
- the deceased child’s wishes are known, and
- publishing identifying information could harm their children or siblings.
- Any other person may apply with the court’s permission.
The court may grant an order if satisfied that the publication ban would be appropriate having regard to:
- the best interests of any child receiving intervention services who is a sibling of the deceased child
- the known wishes of the deceased child
- the public interest in the administration of justice
Appeal the publication ban
If a deceased child’s family disagrees with the publication ban that has been granted, they can apply to the courts to appeal it. Anyone can apply to the courts to appeal a publication ban.
Contact Resolution and Court Administrative Services for help connecting with legal services and navigating the court system.
Penalties for breaching the publication ban
The penalty for breaching the publication ban provisions is
- a fine up to $10,000, or
- up to 6 months in prison if the fine is not paid.
If it is unclear whether your story breaches the publication ban provisions, you are encouraged to seek independent legal advice.
Review the following situations to understand how the publication ban provisions apply:
- A child in care is involved in an accident that is being publicly reported.
- The child’s name and/or photograph can be published as long as the child is not identified as a foster child or child in care.
- Other people involved in the accident cannot be referenced as foster parent or foster sibling if the child’s name and/or photograph are used.
- A foster parent is charged with a crime.
- The publication ban does not apply to caregivers who are not the parents or guardians of a child in care.
- The foster parent’s name and/or photograph may be published along with references they are a foster parent.
- A family receiving child intervention services is profiled for their successful work at keeping their family together.
- The parents’ and children’s names and/or photographs cannot be published unless they are interviewed and photographed in a non-identifying way. This could include using fictitious names, first names only, or photographs that do not show faces or identifying features.
- A child 16 or older may consent to having their identifying information published, but they cannot consent to the publication of their parent’s or guardian’s information.
- A family wants to share their concerns about their involvement with child intervention services publicly.
- The law does not prevent family members from discussing their child’s situation publicly, but the names and/or photographs of the child and parent or guardian receiving child intervention services cannot be published.
- Publication of a child’s or parent/guardian’s identity is only a breach when there is reference that the child is receiving, or has received, child intervention services.
- A community program serving children or youth in care is being profiled publicly.
- If the program is described as providing services to children or youth in care, then the children’s names and/or photographs cannot be used.
- If it is not described this way, children’s names and/or photographs may be used.
- A youth in care is graduating high school.
- A youth aged 16 or older can consent to have their name and/or photograph published.
- They can also agree to publish information that indicates they are receiving child intervention services such as being a foster child or in care.
- A child who is receiving, or had received, child intervention services wins a public award.
- The child’s name and/or photograph can be published as long as the child is not identified as a foster child, child in care or a child who is receiving or has received child intervention services.