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Government ordered to give child and youth rep cabinet documents

Supreme Court of British Columbia justice Susan Griffin has affirmed the right of the province's representative for children and youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, to receive cabinet documents.

Turpel-Lafond had been seeking records related to the Child in the Home of a Relative program in the Ministry of Children and Family Development that was replaced earlier this year with the Extended Family Program. She and the government disagreed as to whether the act governing her position allowed for such access.

“The MCFD and Office of the Premier have failed to comply with their statutory duty,” said Griffin in her reasons for judgment released today. She heard arguments in the case yesterday, May 13.

Griffin ordered MCFD and the premier's office to release the documents to Turpel-Lafond immediately, and for the government to pay the representative's court costs.

MCFD minister Mary Polak had dismissed the lawsuit as a waste of resources.

On April 29 the government introduced amendments to the Representative for Children and Youth Act that if passed will curtail the representative's access to cabinet documents, retroactively until March, 2007.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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