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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Islanders searching for their biological family will soon have access to their adoption records.
Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy announced during Tuesday’s question period that, following a lengthy period of public consultation, the province has decided to open up adoption records.
The decision will include both past and future adoptions.
Mundy said an advisory committee tasked with seeking feedback heard from Islanders who were both for and against opening the records.
“We heard differing viewpoints, but one thing that came up clear in the report is that adoption is an intensely personal and emotional subject for people who have experienced it. And not everyone’s experience is the same,” said Mundy.
“We understood attitudes are changing and, increasingly, Islanders want greater access to their personal records.”
Mundy said she expects to introduce some legislative changes next spring and later added the department was hoping to strike a balance with public feedback.
Mundy said anyone who has been affected by adoption will have an option to protect their identity through a veto, which she said is similar to other jurisdictions.
Under P.E.I.’s current Adoption Act, the identities of adopted children, birth parents and adoptive parents cannot be released without consent from both parties.
Mundy made Tuesday’s announcement after Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry asked whether government had received the committee’s report and whether any action would be taken.
Perry also asked that the report be tabled.
Mundy said the report will be tabled this week and will be made available on the department’s website.
She said more details on the upcoming legislation will be announced in the coming months and that there will be about a year of public engagement before any changes come into effect.
“(So, we can) make sure all those parties who are affected by adoption are aware of their rights and how we will be moving forward,” said Mundy, who also encouraged anyone affected by adoption to reach out to the department if they require services.