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Model Open Records Legislation

Tools for Open Records Activism

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This page contains an example of open records legislation that can be used by open records action groups to propose legislative change. It is non-discriminatory in that it opens records to both adoptees and natural parents, and also recognizes that family includes siblings and grandparents who may also wish to search. It is based on B.C.'s current open records legislation (Sections 63 to 67 of BC's Adoption Act) , but eliminating the veto provisions and instead putting in a contact preference provision from Alberta's new Child Welfare Amendment Act.

Sample Open Records Legislation:


Section 1 - Disclosure to adopted person 18 or over:

    (1) An adopted person 18 years of age or over may apply to the Director of Vital Statistics for a copy of the following:
    (a) the adopted person's original birth registration;
    (b) the adoption order.
    (2) When an applicant complies with Section 3, the Director of Vital Statistics must give the applicant a copy of the requested records.

Section 2 - Disclosure to natural parent or natural family member when adopted person is 18 or over

    (1) If an adopted person is 18 years of age or over, a natural parent named on the adopted person's original birth registration or other family member upon presentation of the death certificate of the natural parent may apply to the Director of Vital Statistics for a copy of one or more of the following:
    (a) the original birth registration with a notation of the adoption and any change of name consequent to the adoption;
    (b) the birth registration that under section 12 of the Vital Statistics Act was substituted for the adopted person's original birth registration;
    (c) the adoption order.
    (2) When an applicant complies with Section 3, the Director of Vital Statistics must give the applicant a copy of the requested records
    (3) Before giving the applicant a copy of the requested record, the Director of Vital Statistics must delete the adoptive parents' identifying information.

Section 3 - Applicant must comply with Vital Statistics Act


A person who applies to the Director of Vital Statistics under this Part must:

    (a) supply any proof of identity required by that director, and
    (b) if the application is for a copy of a record, pay the fee required under the Vital Statistics Act.

Section 4 - Contact Preference

    (1) An adopted person, a natural parent or any other person whose personal information may be in orders, certificates or documents may register a contact preference with the Minister that indicates the person's preferences concerning contact with a person who makes a request under Sections 1 or 2.
    (2) The Minister shall advise a person making a request under Sections 1 or 2 of any contact preference registered with respect to the requested information.
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