Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services

Supervised Access (Ontario)

Province/Territory
Ontario

Type of service
Supervised Access

Services offered
Supervised Access Centres provide a safe, neutral, child-focused setting for visits or exchanges between children and non-custodial parents or other persons such as a grandparent for families involved in custody/access matters. They are used in cases where there are concerns for the safety of the child or the custodial parent. The centres give integrity to orders of the court where enforcement may be an issue and provide an alternative means of dealing with access disputes. They provide factual reports to the court regarding the participants’ use of the service. Further information is available at http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/supaccess.asp

Pilot or ongoing service
Supervised access is an ongoing program.

Department responsible
Administered by the Supervised Access Program, Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division, of the Ministry of the Attorney General, the program offers a community-based service through partnerships with 36 non-profit organizations such as children’s mental health centres, neighbourhood support centres, the YMCA and local children’s aid societies. The organizations in the province operate the program with a mix of paid staff and volunteers, with the financial support from the Ministry of the Attorney General. The service providers sign a service agreement with the Ministry requiring them to meet specific criteria set out by the Ministry.

How to access this service
Most referrals for service come from the courts and from the lawyers for the parents. Each parent must contact the centre to arrange for a separate intake interview. The centre will require a copy of the court order, endorsement or agreement for supervised access. Both parents will be asked to participate in separate interviews at the centre before service is offered. Each parent will be asked to sign an agreement with the centre, including release of information forms. Payment of fees will also be discussed at this time. The children may be invited to meet the centre staff and tour the centre before or on the day of the first visit to help prepare them for the visit or exchange. For further details, please contact the supervised access centre in your area.

Location(s)
Services are available in all court districts. A list of site locations is available on the Ministry of the Attorney General website at the following address: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/supcentres.asp
[ Service(s) offered ]

Language(s)
Service is available in English and French in designated areas. Please contact the centres for information about languages other than French. Interpreters may be arranged if required.

Publications/information
Further information concerning supervised access centres is available on the Ministry of the Attorney General website at the following address:
http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/supaccess.asp

Costs
Centres charge a fee based on guidelines set by the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Fees for the Supervised Access Program are discussed with the parties at the initial interview. Costs for visits and exchanges are usually shared between parties unless a court order says otherwise. Fees are based on a person’s ability to pay and can be subsidized or waived if they are unaffordable. Parties and their legal counsel can request reports of factual observations of the visits and exchanges for an additional fee. Other fees may apply.Please contact the centres for specific information about fees.

Governing legislation/legislative authority
Children's Law Reform Act, s. 34(1). Available online at:
http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/

Contact person(s)
Judy Newman
Ministry of the Attorney General
Supervised Access, Program Manager
700 Bay Street, 3rd Floor, Box 171
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1Z6
(416) 212-2028 (tel.)

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