In this section you will be able to find information for parents and caregivers. It is to help you to understand what the court process is when you are involved in a child protection case.
- how to find a courthouse and its contact information;
- the Ontario Court of Justice’s Scheduling of Family Law Matters notice for child protection cases;
- Court appearances: In-Person, Virtual Technology (Video or Telephone) or a Combination of In-Person and Virtual Technology;
- Information about child protection cases;
- Information on how to attend court in-person or remotely, including by Zoom.
This information in this document is not legal advice.
It is for information only. Consult a lawyer as soon as you are served with an Application by the Children’s Aid Society or if your children have been taken to a place of safety by the Children’s Aid Society.
Introduction to child protection court
Child protection cases are heard at the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice, Family Court. There is specific legislation and Family Law Rules for child protection cases. You may find the legislation in Child, Youth and Family Services Act. Part V of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act is about child protection matters. The Family Law Rule that governs child protection cases is rule 33 of the Family Law Rules. However, there are many different Family Law Rules that you must also follow in your child protection case.
There are different reasons why a Children’s Aid Society becomes involved with your child. A child is in need of protection if, for example, your child has suffered physical, emotional or sexual harm or is at risk of suffering physical, emotional or sexual harm due to a parent or caregiver’s neglect and/or failure to adequately care for, provide for, supervise or protect a child.
The Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) organization is a community legal clinic and part of Ontario’s legal aid system. CLEO has prepared Children's aid: Information for parents involved in child protection cases.
First Nations, Métis and Inuit children, their families, and their communities have certain rights under the Children, Youth and Family Services Act. You should tell the Children’s Aid Society that you and your child identify or are a member of a First Nations, Métis or Inuit community.
The judge who is hearing your case also needs to determine if your child is a First Nations, Métis or Inuit child before deciding if your child is in need of protection. If your child is First Nations, Métis or Inuit, there are judicial decisions and services that recognize the importance of your child’s culture, heritage and connection to their community.
After finding a child is in need of protection, the judge must make an order to protect the child. The order can be a supervision order, interim society care order, extended society care order, a custody order or the child should be returned to the child’s parent or caregiver. If the judge decides that a First Nations, Métis and Inuit child should be in interim or extended society care, unless there is a substantial reason to place the child somewhere else, your child should be placed with a member of your child’s extended family. If this is not possible, your child must be placed with a member of a First Nations, Métis or Inuit family.
The Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) organization has additional information about First Nations, Metis and Inuit children in a child protection case.
If a First Nations, Métis or Inuit child has been found in need of protection, the Children’s Aid Society must try to develop a customary care plan for the child.
Section 80 of the Children, Youth and Family Services Act deals with customary care.
The Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) organization has information on customary care.
Public access to child protection court records
This section is about the public’s access to court records, not your access to your court records. Family court records, including child protection records, are managed by the Ministry of the Attorney General. The Ministry has a policy regarding access to court files, documents and exhibits.
Child protection court records are not available to the public, including the media.
Court staff are therefore not permitted to provide public or media access to court documents filed in child protection cases, including any warrant issued under the CYFSA, even to media representatives who attend the hearings.
Section 4.2.1 of the policy deals with child protection court records:
4.2.1 Child protection cases
Under subsections 87(4) and 121(8) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA), child protection hearings and appeals of child protection decisions are closed to the public, unless otherwise ordered by the court. Under subsection 87(5), select representatives of the media may attend the hearings, unless a judge makes an order excluding them. Subsection 87(8) of the Act prohibits the publication of any identifying information about a child, child’s parent or foster parent or a member of the child’s family in a child protection case.
Subsection 87(8) of the Act prohibits the publication of any identifying information about a child, child’s parent or foster parent or a member of the child’s family in a child protection case
(8) No person shall publish or make public information that has the effect of identifying a child who is a witness at or a participant in a hearing or the subject of a proceeding, or the child’s parent or foster parent or a member of the child’s family.
(9) The court may make an order prohibiting the publication of information that has the effect of identifying a person charged with an offence under this Part.
(10) No person except a party or a party’s lawyer shall be given a copy of a transcript of the hearing unless the court orders otherwise.
Find a court and local contacts
To search for a particular court location and all available contact information relating to that location, including telephone numbers and email addresses, use the Courthouse location and information search tool. You should also contact the courthouse that heard the case in order to access court documents.
Search by Courthouse location
Some of the features include:
The Government of Ontario website also has contact information and links for all Ontario Court of Justice courthouses. This includes:
- hours of operation, maps, contact and accessibility information
- satellite and fly-in courts information
- services offered
- list of municipal Provincial Offences Court locations across Ontario
- contact information for the local Crown Attorney’s office
This guide gives you helpful information about what you should expect in family and child protection court. It gives you guidance on how you should conduct yourself when you are appearing before a judge.Where will my case be heard?
Rule 5 of the Family Law Rules determines where your case will be heard. Typically, the case will be heard where your child lives.Child Protection Court forms
The child protection law forms that you will need to use for your case are here:
This guide is for Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice
Asking the court to change a scheduled date is called an adjournment. Adjournments will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances and only if it is in the best interests of your child. If you need to change the date of your hearing, you need to fill out a form called a 14B Motion Form, serve it on all the parties and file it with the court. It is important that you know that the hearing may proceed without you if you do not appear in court on the scheduled day and time.
In child protection hearings, parties cannot consent or agree to change a scheduled court date unless the judge agrees.