Adoption processes in Alberta are currently complex and create barriers for adoptees, birth parents and families. These changes will make it easier for families to navigate adoptions, increase accountability of adoption agencies, and improve processes for prospective adoptive parents. Additionally, in Bill 48, the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act 2020, (No. 2), adult adoptees and former children in care will have improved access to their biological and family information.

“I’m proud to make changes that will help connect more children with forever loving homes and ensure that the adoption process is easier for prospective adoptive parents.” 

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services

Key changes

  • Proclaiming the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (Adoption Advertising), introduced by MLA Aheer in 2017, will allow prospective adoptive parents to advertise their profiles publicly through licensed adoption agencies – a change parents have been lobbying to implement since its introduction. An order-in-council was granted Nov. 25.
  • Improving transparency and accountability of licensed agencies.
  • Making it easier for adult adoptees and birth families to connect in the Post Adoption Registry.
  • Providing online resources for prospective parents.
  • Simplifying and standardizing adoption processes.

“This will go a long way towards easing the stigma, stress and anxiety often associated with the adoption process by allowing all participants to access information from the comfort of their own homes, rather than an unfamiliar setting like an adoption agency office.”

Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women

“As an adoptive parent, I know first-hand the amount of anxiety and stress that the adoption process can cause families. These changes will make life easier for children and parents who simply want a family.”

Searle Turton, adoptive parent, and MLA for Spruce Grove-Stony Plain

“When Adoption By Choice closed, we were really shaken and we were unsure of whether or not we were even going to continue our journey. My wife and I began talking with Small Miracles Adoption agency and through their support, we found a glimmer of hope. Within a couple of months, we were contacted about a possible match and we were lucky enough to be chosen by the birth family. We’re so happy our story will have a happy ending and we’re grateful the Alberta government is making changes that will ensure adoptive parents have the information they need to best choose an adoption agency.”

A.H., adoptive parent

“As prospective adoptive parents, my husband and I were disappointed in the lack of accountability with our previous adoption agency. These changes will help other adoptive families in their journey and ensure no family will have to go through what we did.”

Anila Lee Yuen, prospective adoptive parent, and CEO, Centre for Newcomers

“Connecting with my father and my birth family has given me my identity but I’m still filling in the blanks in my life. I’ve lost my language, and my heritage was taken from me. I’m a toddler in my culture. Opening access to adoption information for ‘60s Scoop survivors is incredibly important. Our past is part of our story. And it needs to be shared.”

Laura (Lawanda) Osgood, survivor, ‘60s Scoop

“The knowledge that I may have a full biological sister lives inside of me. I have been searching for her for many years without success. New access to identifying information could bring me closer to the answers I have been waiting for.”

Jane Wilkinson, adoptee searching for biological sister

“Both prospective adoptive parents and birth parents need to know they are in safe hands with the adoption agency they choose to represent them. These changes will help make sure Albertans have the information they need to make the best choice for them.”

Sheryl Proulx, executive director, Adoption Options

“Couples hoping to become parents through open adoption have been asking us to find new ways to share their information with prospective birth parents who are considering making an adoption plan for their child. Allowing prospective parents to advertise their profiles online through licensed adoption agencies gives us a new way to share information with birth families – while guarding the safety and privacy of all parties.”

Edie Pendleton, executive director, Small Miracles Adoption

“Many prospective adoptive parents in the domestic program have expressed a desire to be able to share their information online to make connections with birth parents who are considering placing a child through adoption. It is important that this desire is mitigated by the need to maintain the integrity, ethics, and safety of everyone involved in an adoption placement. This legislation offers a good balance – allowing licensed adoption agencies to advertise parent profiles and use technology to broaden our reach, while protecting the privacy and safety of everyone involved, and still ensuring that families are adequately screened, trained, and prepared for some of the complexities that come with adoption.”

Tandela Swann, executive director, AMARIS Adoption and Family Support Services

Current adoption legislation has been in force since 2005. If the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act 2020, (No. 2) is passed, the changes will come into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Quick facts

  • In 2019-20, there were 71 adoptions completed through licensed agencies and 70 international adoptions completed in Alberta.
  • The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (Adoption Advertising), allows a licensed adoption agency to publicize the profiles of prospective adoptive parents.
  • On May 27, 2019, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta passed Motion 501 “to take all necessary measures to make the process for all forms of adoption more efficient and timely for families.”
  • In response to Motion 501, Children’s Services conducted a review of adoption provisions in the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. The review resulted in recommendations for legislative and regulatory amendments.
  • Bill 48, the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act 2020, (No. 2), was tabled on Nov.16.