Family Helper > Adoption News Central

COUNTRY NEWS   Family Helper   
Adoption Resource Central
 Heart of Adoption
Articles to inspire
International adoption guide
You can order Family Helper publications
  Ontario keeps $925 adoption "head tax"
Family Helper editor
(May 24, 2001) In an article in the Ottawa Citizen of May 24, 2001, journalist Glen McGregor reported that the Ontario government will continue to charge a $925 processing fee for children adopted from overseas. Adoption advocates last year denounced the fee as discriminatory. After reviewing the fee, Social Services Minister John Baird said it will remain in effect because the money it brings in does not even cover the government's increased costs of processing international adoption -- the fee recoups only 67% of the adoption cost. Ontario is the only province to charge a fee on processing international adoptions.

As of March 8, 2000, the Ontario government imposed a $925 case processing fee on Ontario families adopting from abroad (under the Intercountry Adoption Act). Families adopting domestically are not charged a processing fee. Children's Bridge members campaigned to eliminate this fee, calling it "a head tax on foreign adoptees." They circulated a petition to the Ontario Legislature, and encouraged families to write letters to the Minister of Community and Social Services, John Baird. FCC Toronto (Families With Children From China) formed a legislative issues committee to deal with adoption issues such as the $925 processing fee.

According to the Ottawa Citizen of Aug. 27, 2000, adoptive parents are taking the Ontario government to the Ontario Human Rights Commission over the $925 fee charged for international adoptions. Adoption groups called the charge an unfair "head tax" because it doesn't apply to children adopted in Canada. Susan Christie, an Ottawa elementary school teacher, complained to the OHRC that the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) [now Ministry of Children and Youth Services], violated Ontario's Human Rights Code by discriminating against adopted children based on their place of origin. (She paid the fee when she applied to adopt her second baby girl from China.) The OHRC has received at least one other complaint from an adoptive parent in the Ottawa area.

MCSS says the fee will only recoup the cost of added paperwork needed to comply with the Hague Convention. (The fee is expected to bring in $600,000 annually.) Ms. Christie says the fee does not reflect the actual cost of processing adoption files because much of the paperwork is handled by foreign governments, and adoption agencies and social workers hired at parents' expense. MCSS Minister John Baird has promised to review the fee after a year to ensure families are not paying more than the extra costs incurred by the ministry.

The Ontario government may also face additional human rights complaints over new limits on the age of children that can be adopted from overseas. Rick Kenny, a software contractor, says he and his wife asked for permission to adopt an older child, perhaps seven or eight years old, but were told that an application to adopt a child older than three would be refused. Mr. Kenny, 49, already has two daughters adopted from China, ages five and three.

Media coverage of the $925 processing fee
-- National Post, Aug. 28, 2000:
-- Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 27:
-- Ottawa Sun, April 15, article by Sally Quinn, "McGuinty slams adoption taxes"
-- Ottawa Citizen, April 8, letter by Jim Andrews, "Adoption act changed to permit tax grab"; and by the Nelson family, "Spectre of racism"
-- Ottawa Citizen, March 25, letter by Dr. Ah Yin Eng, "Heartless revolution", and by Lyse Champagne, "Foreign orphan tax is a cold-hearted measure"
-- Toronto Star, March 19, 2000, commentary, "Offensive head tax"
-- Ottawa Citizen, March 16, 2000, article by Glen McGregor, "Ontario slaps 'tax' on foreign orphans: 'Discriminatory' fee means families adopting from overseas will have to pay extra $925",

-- Petition and background information,, email:
-- Michael Zessner, FCC Toronto,
-- Intercountry Adoption Act in Ontario,

You may reproduce this item with the credit:
"Source: Family Helper ("



Infertility Adoption Adoption Resource Central Post-adoption Family Tree
Contact: Robin Hilborn,
Box 1353, Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada
Copyright 2009 Robin R. Hilborn
Updated Mar. 22, 2006

Family Helper


About us    Copyright    Privacy    Disclaimer