Unfair or Indefensible - Costs Against C.A.S.?

Unfair or Indefensible - Costs Against C.A.S.?
Posted on October 5, 2019 | Derek Flegg | Written on October 5, 2019
Letter type:
Blog Post

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Former Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian wrote:
"As the law stands now clients of the Ontario Children's Aid Society are routinely denied a timely (often heavily censored) file disclosure before the court begins making decisions and the clients can not request files/disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act nor can censored information reviewed by the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario or the federal counterpart."
In the video below you can hear former service manager for FCSLLG Lisa Muir explaining in 2016 to Kelley Denham why she hasn't received file disclosure hours before our first appearance date in Perth's family court over alleged child protection concerns that ultimately resulted in FCSLLG withdrawing an application for a supervision order 5 months later.
One year later FCSLLG "referred" our family to Family and Children's Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington which resulted in FCSFLA withdrawing a motion at our first appearance and withdrawing an application for a supervision order that was to be heard at a later date. (see more below)
After that FCSLLG again referred our family to the Ottawa CAS who after a number of conversations with a several of their workers closed our file without taking us to court again - notifying us by mail the file had been closed after several months without any contact with any their workers in person, email or by phone.
And the big question left unasked is why isn't Kelley's lawyer trying to get the disclosure before the court begins making life altering decisions...
Due Process Denied With Lisa Muir: Service Manager for FCSLLG in 2016.
Meet the former Director of Service for FCSLLG, Kim Morrow: 120 minute interview.
“I am disheartened by the complete lack of action to ensure transparency and accountability by these organizations that received significant public funding. As part of the modernization of the Acts, I call on the government to finally address this glaring omission and ensure that Children’s Aid Societies are added to the list of institutions covered.”
The only oversight for the province’s children’s aid agencies comes from Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
In her 2004 annual report, which was released on June 22, 2005, the Commissioner called for amendments that would bring virtually all organizations that are primarily funded by government dollars under FOI for the purposes of transparency and accountability: This would include the various children’s aid agencies in the Province of Ontario. Many parents and families complain about how difficult it is, if not impossible, to obtain information from children’s aid agencies. Many citizens complain that CAS agencies appear to operate under a veil of secrecy. Unlicensed and untrained CAS workers are making decisions which are literally destroying families, yet there is little or no accountability for their actions short of a lawsuit.
“Hundreds of organizations that are recipients of large transfer payments from the government are not subject to the provincial or municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Acts,” said the Commissioner, “which means they are not subject to public scrutiny.” Among the examples she cites are hospitals and Children’s Aid Societies. “Openness and transparency of all publicly funded bodies is essential – they should be publicly accountable.”
In her annual report for 2013 released on June 17 there is just one paragraph on children's aid on page 12:
In my 2004, 2009, and 2012 Annual Reports I recommended that Children’s Aid Societies, which provide services for some of our most vulnerable citizens – children and youth in government care, be brought under FIPPA. I am disheartened by the complete lack of action to ensure transparency and accountability by these organizations that received significant public funding. As part of the modernization of the Acts, I call on the government to finally address this glaring omission and ensure that Children’s Aid Societies are added to the list of institutions covered.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner is appointed by and reports to the Ontario Legislative Assembly, and is independent of the government of the day. The Commissioner's mandate includes overseeing the access and privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Personal Health Information Protection Act, and commenting on other access and privacy issues.
Unfair or Indefensible - Costs Against C.A.S.?
On behalf of Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre posted in Child Welfare on Tuesday, January 7, 2014.
There is a presumption that a successful party is entitled to the costs of a motion, enforcement, case or appeal (Ontario Family Law Rules, R. 24(1)). There is, however, no such presumption for costs in a child protection case (Rule 24(2)). Does that mean that a successful parent can never obtain a costs order against a children's aid society? Let us delve a little further.
The lack of presumption for costs is perfectly understandable. The Courts have been hesitant to impose cost orders against children's aid societies as they are faced with the difficult statutory duty of protecting children from harm and the law tells us that they should not be punished (through costs orders) for errors of judgment. A further reason for courts rarely awarding costs against societies stems from the view that societies should not be discouraged from taking action because of the risk of an adverse costs order.
Rule 24(2) does not give children's aid societies the authority to behave with impunity though. The courts have (and will) order costs against children's aid societies in limited circumstances. For example the 2013 matter of Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto v. SSB awarded costs to the mother and Office of the Children's Lawyer for the procedural failings of the CCAST. This case affirms the courts' approach in awarding costs against children's aid societies in that a society will not be shielded from costs where its behaviour is "unfair or indefensible or where exceptional circumstances exist".
In SSB the CCAST sought disclosure of "clinical investigation notes" from the OCL. The OCL claimed that the requested documents were subject to solicitor-client privilege and therefore could not be disclosed as the disclosure would amount to a serious breach of trust between the OCL and the children. The prevailing concern was that the CCAST had sought to obtain the privileged documents on three separate occasions (only to withdraw their motion before a decision could be delivered) and had put the mother and OCL to considerable expense in defending the motions. The judge considered that the repeated attempts to obtain disclosure was tantamount to an abuse of process and verged on acting in bad faith. The judge, most helpfully, summarized the responsibility of the CCAST as follows [at paragraph 12]:
... Like any other litigant, the society must conduct itself according to the rules. It is given broad investigative scope, and cannot and should not be liable for costs for actions it takes in good faith in its duty to investigate cases. That, however, does not give a society licence to ignore the general rules of procedural fairness. When it does, it should be liable in costs.
The CCAST matter also made reference to the 2005 decision of Children's Aid Society of Niagara Region v. B. (C.), which provides guidance for the circumstances when children's aid societies should and should not be liable for costs. These can be summarized as follows [paragraphs 89-100]:
1. Bad Faith Not Required: To attract an adverse award of costs, a children's aid society need not have acted in bad faith;
2. Fairness: Costs may be awarded against a society, "where it conducts itself... in a way where it would be perceived by ordinary persons as having acted unfairly";
3. Indefensible Behaviour: Many cases hold that a children's aid society should only be visited with an adverse award of costs where it has taken a step or position that is "indefensible", ie. "admitting of no defence".
4. Exceptional Circumstances: There is a line of decisions holding that costs should not be awarded against a society "unless exceptional circumstances exist";
5. Error in Judgment not sufficient to attract costs: A society should not be punished for a mere error of judgement (an error of judgement can truly arise only where one has considered all courses of action reasonably available at the time);
6. Society Not to Be Dissuaded by Costs: A society should not be dissuaded from its statutory mandate by costs considerations;
7. Society to Re-assess Its Position: A children's aid society must be even-handed and act in good faith. To this end a society must be prepared to re-assess its position as an investigation unfolds and more information becomes known;
8. Accountability: "Children's aid societies must be accountable" for the manner in which it investigates a case and in the way it chooses to litigate that case (one method of achieving accountability is through costs sanctions);
The judge in CASNR tells us that a society can attract an adverse costs award where it fails in any of the following seven areas (paragraph 102):
1. Investigation before apprehension;
2. Continued investigation after apprehension;
3. Consideration of all appropriate protective measures;
4. Formation of a fair and defensible position;
5. Reassessment of that position as circumstances warrant;
6. Use of properly trained workers; and
7. Accessing independent experts in the field of child psychology.
This more critical approach adopted by some courts should provide some modest encouragement to parents who have been subjected to biased investigations or litigation undertaken by a children's aid society where the C.A.S. actions were patently unfair or indefensible. These factors should be relevant not only to a costs determination but also to the expected standard of care to which child protection authority must adhere. Holding these agencies accountable to such standards should hopefully be encouraged by the case management judge as the case unfolds.
If you have a matter where a children's aid society has acted unfairly, indefensibly or there are exceptional circumstances, you may benefit from a consultation with our experienced child welfare lawyers.
Tags: CAS, Child Custody, Child Protection, Child Welfare, Children's Aid Society, Costs, Procedural Fairness
Related Posts: THE EASTER BUNNY AND C.A.S. ABUSE OF POWER, Do's and Don'ts of a CAS Apprehension of Your Child, C.A.S. Attitude: Win child welfare cases at all costs, PROPORTIONALITY, SUMMARY JUDGMENT, SELF REPRESENTED CHILD WELFARE LITIGANTS
“Mr. Rogers, It Will Be A Short Retainer”
They call us, the parents, to courtroom one.
First, the agency lawyer asks us to say, on record, that we are not recording. She says they asked us to cooperate at the first home visit. She says we would not sign consent forms and that we would not cooperate. There is a second home visit where she says we refused to cooperate again. There was a third visit, at their office, which she says we secretly recorded. All videos, she says, have now been posted to the internet. She says we served a substantial amount of documentation in our responding materials that satisfy the agency’s concerns. She says it’s unfortunate that instead of sitting down and discussing the children, that we, the parents, “shoved a camera” in the workers face and refused to cooperate. She advises they are withdrawing the application and motion as the parent’s responding materials have addressed the agency’s concerns.
Author's Note:
The following is a true account of a child protection hearing for a motion made against us, the parents. This case is a bit unusual as the child protection agency is the complainant in a high-profile criminal court proceeding against the parents. To avoid a conflict of interest, the agency contracts the investigation to a sister agency. More background info, including cited letters, can be found on the author's page.
Want to see the cheque?
Ontario CAS Dirty Tricks.
T'was the night before first appearance and all over the house, the kids were still stirring, though the sun had gone down, when suddenly there came a tapping, as if someone gently rapping, rapping on our modest door. “’Tis some late visitor,” I muttered to my wife, “tapping at our door. Only this and nothing more.”
Author's Note:
Watch the video: "The authors of their own misfortunes."
The audio in the video is a copy of the non-emergency call obtained through the freedom of information act that sent three police officers racing through the streets of Smiths Falls one beautiful Monday morning about two years ago. The events in this video were the beginning of Families United Ontario's advocacy for other families being abused and molested by a system gone terribly wrong.
2017: Parents Thank Smiths Falls Police After Missing Son Found Safe..
Kelley Denham and Derek Flegg went through every parent's worst nightmare when their two-year-old son went missing from their Smiths Falls home last Tuesday, Sept. 27.
The child's father, Flegg, was getting the boy ready to pick up the family’s other three children from school on Tuesday afternoon, leaving the youngest child sitting in the living room in front of the TV about six feet from the front door, Mr Flegg had taken a stroller outside at 2:25 p.m. Shortly thereafter calling for the boy and the child failed to respond, Mr Flegg realized he had forgotten to lock the front door after taking the stroller out and began to worry the child had slipped out the front door when he had gone to lock the backdoor and find his keys.
After a minute of calling and frantically searching the house the father realized the child really was not in the house - phoned the police quickly (by approximately 2:30) for help and by about 2:40 the child was returned to his father and the other children were picked up from school on time.
Four police officers attended the home and while three officers searched the home from top to bottom, even turning over furniture only the one female officer searched the streets with the help of the boy's mother.
Strangely six days after the incident a rapid response team from the Napanee CAS showed up at the parents Smiths Falls home to begin a new investigation claiming the police officers had made some concerning statements.
The family requested under the freedom of information act all information from the Smiths Falls Police pertaining to the incident. All of the notes were blacked out for a variety of reasons and a copy 911 recording was not released. A PDF of the reasons given for the denial for information by the Smiths Falls police is located on the bottom of the article.
Even though the parents were investigated last year based on negligent and wildly inaccurate statements made by the Smiths Falls Police which resulted in the local CAS eventually withdrawing an application for a supervision order after they could not validate any of their "concerns" last December,,, CAS now firmly believes the family's fully fenced in backyard is unsafe for children and is reopening the family's file and to date has failed to provide any other concern/s verbally or in writing or the basis for them, instead choosing to threaten and intimidate the family with court action if they don't sign consent forms. Other than refusing to sign anything, the parents have cooperated in every way, allowed these unregistered CAS workers into their home and to see and speak with the children themselves.
It's interesting that neither the Smiths Falls Police nor CAS want to disclose the reasons for the new CAS investigation.
Meet Sun Wai, another one of Ontario's unregistered child protection social workers in our 42 minute video. Sun Wai failed to investigate objectively, took a biased position throughout, and failed to reassess and adjust her position as she had a statutory duty to do when faced with information that did not support her original position or her sworn affidavit. Listen as Sun Wai explains the children's aid society's anti-oppressive policy.
42 minute video:
Abuse of power, in the form of "malfeasance in office" or "official misconduct," is the commission of an unlawful act, done in an official capacity, which affects the performance of official duties. ... Abuse of power can also mean a person using the power they have for their own personal gain.
The act of using one's position of power in an abusive way. This can take many forms, such as taking advantage of someone, gaining access to information that shouldn't be accessible to the public, or just manipulating someone with the ability to punish them if they don't comply.
Covert and overt abuse of power: Covert: covert means that something is hidden, in the case of power, it would mean that someone is concealing their abuse of power from the public/other service users/other care workers. Covert abuse of power can happen in any setting.
Ontario Court of Appeal Confirms Ongoing “Gatekeeper” Function in Respect of Expert Evidence
Ryan Morris and Ravi Amarnath June 22, 2017
In its recent decision in Bruff-Murphy v. Gunawardena (Bruff-Murphy), the Court of Appeal for Ontario (Court) set aside a jury award and ordered a new trial on the basis that the trial judge did not correctly apply the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) test relating to the admission of expert evidence.
The Court’s decision in Bruff-Murphy provides valuable guidance as to the nature and extent of a court’s “gatekeeper” responsibility with respect to the admission of expert evidence both when the evidence is first sought to be admitted and thereafter, if prejudice emerges that was not apparent at the time of admission.
In White Burgess Langille Inman v. Abbott and Haliburton Co. (White Burgess), the SCC provided a framework for considering the admissibility of expert evidence that is challenged for impartiality or independence concerns (see our May 2015 Blakes Bulletin: SCC Rules on Impartiality and Independence of Expert Witnesses). First, a court must determine if an expert’s opinion evidence is admissible based on the four traditional “threshold” requirements set out by the SCC in R. v. Mohan (Mohan): (i) relevance; (ii) necessity in assisting the trier of fact; (iii) absence of an exclusionary rule; and (iv) the need for the expert to be properly qualified. Second, a court has a residual discretion to act as a “gatekeeper” and weigh the costs and benefits of admitting an expert’s evidence.
At the first stage of the analysis, the SCC held in White Burgess that a court must determine if an expert is “unable or unwilling to fulfill the duty of independence.” At the second stage of the analysis, a court must satisfy itself that the potential helpfulness of the evidence is not outweighed by the dangers of admitting the expert evidence.
In Bruff-Murphy, a personal injury case, the trial judge allowed a civil jury to receive expert evidence from a contested defence expert witness with respect to the damages to which the plaintiff was entitled. The trial judge did not permit the expert to testify in respect of certain sections of his report, but allowed the balance of the expert’s testimony to proceed before the jury. The jury returned a verdict awarding the plaintiff general damages but rejecting all other heads of damages claimed by the plaintiff. As the decision was a jury verdict, no reasons for judgment accompanied the award.
However, in separate reasons pertaining to a related motion in the litigation, the trial judge expressed serious concerns about the expert’s evidence, including his testimony at trial. However, the trial judge stated that he felt “restricted and compelled” to accept the witness as an expert to give opinion evidence because of the “[v]ery high threshold before a court may exclude expert testimony for bias” established by the SCC in White Burgess.
The Court allowed the plaintiff’s appeal and ordered a new trial on the issue of damages. The Court found that the trial judge erred in two respects. First, he erred by not undertaking the second step of the White Burgess analysis described above — the gatekeeper analysis — when deciding whether to admit the expert’s evidence in the first instance. Second, the trial judge erred by not exercising his discretion to exclude the expert’s testimony in whole or in part later in the trial, when further prejudice emerged during the expert’s testimony.
Regarding the trial judge’s first error, the Court stated: “The trial judge did not reference [the] second component of his discretionary gatekeeper role. To the contrary, he appears to have believed that he was obliged to qualify [the expert] once he concluded that the witness met the initial Mohan threshold.”
After conducting its own balancing exercise, the Court concluded that the potential risks of admitting the expert’s evidence far outweighed the potential benefits, as it was evident from the expert’s report that he was intent on advocating for the defence and unwilling to properly fulfil his duties to the court.
Regarding the trial judge’s second error, the Court added that the trial judge should have exercised his ongoing gatekeeper function to deal with the expert’s problematic testimony during the trial itself when it “became apparent to the trial judge during the expert’s testimony that he crossed the line from an objective witness to an advocate for the defence.” The Court stated that courts have a “residual discretion to exclude expert evidence even after admitting it, if later in the trial prejudice emerges that was not apparent at the time of admission.”
The Bruff-Murphy decision reinforces the necessity for courts to engage in both stages of the White Burgess analysis. The Court’s decision also affirms that the discretionary gatekeeping function of a judge with respect to expert evidence continues even after the White Burgess analysis is correctly applied in qualifying an individual as an expert.
While a judge’s ongoing gatekeeper role is especially important in cases such as Bruff-Murphy where there is a jury, both courts and counsel should remain mindful that expert evidence may also become disproportionately prejudicial after it has been admitted, when considered in light of the evidence as a whole.
For further information, please contact:
Ryan Morris 416-863-2176
or any other member of our Litigation & Dispute Resolution group.
Posted by: Ryan Morris and Ravi Amarnath
Posted in: Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Testimony from the alleged CAS hacker trial transcript: PAGE 29/30 - 

2019: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RAYMOND LEMAY. I was just repeating what had been explained to me. That the security features of the website, when it was first installed, had not been turned on. That’s what was explained to me, and I am just repeating what I heard.

Q. So, all you know is whoever C.A.S. retained for you working in your position did something incorrectly with respect to the website that caused this issue?

A. That’s what, that’s what I understand, yes.


2016:  ‘Disgruntled client’ posts names of 285 children’s aid families on Facebook. A Brockville-area children’s aid society reels after names of 285 clients were posted on Facebook. (did the alleged hacker copy and paste all 285 names and codes in one post or did she post a picture of a hyperlink?)

Lemay admits the report was on the FCSLLG's website but says it was hidden behind several layers of security including a password given only to the organization's board of directors.

"You have to go through the back door. You have to be looking for this," he says.

A link to the report was obtained by someone — "likely a disgruntled client" — who hacked the secure portal for board members on the society's website, he said. No staff or board members are suspected of the breach, he said.

"Our suspicion, which is a fairly firm suspicion, is that it is a current client who is very disgruntled, very unhappy with us," he said. "We have contacted the police. Our lawyer has sent a letter to the website owner as well as to this individual telling them what they are doing is, we think, illegal."

This is the second time in about three months that the organization has had to take down its website because of security concerns. An outside expert was brought in after a February scare to better secure the website. No sensitive information was revealed or even in danger in the first breach, Lemay says. He says they made the changes and were told the website was secure.

The website has been taken down while experts help the FCSLLG improve its security. This branch of children's aid says it is reviewing its policies when it comes to sensitive information and how it handles such documents.





From the cross examination:



Q. You – in the past – okay, first of all, I don’t think

if you explained, or if you did I don’t remember, you mentioned

WordPress, what’s WordPress?

A. WordPress is something called a content management

system. It is a piece of software that runs on a web server that

people can use to create a website.

Q. Okay.

A. Okay? It’s the most commonly used such tool on the

internet. It commands, I think, thirty five percent of all

internet websites use WordPress.

Q. And, back in February- sorry, yes, February to April

2016, Family and Child Services was using WordPress?

PAGE 103/4

Q. Okay. In the background, the website has to save all

the documents – or the webmaster has to save the documents


A. Correct.

Q. They are saved in the directory?

A. Correct. 

Q. Now, if this was properly set up you would have a

directory for the non-confidential information to the public


A. Yes.

Q. And, you would have a directory for the confidential


A. Correct.

Q. And, they’d be separate?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. In this case they were not?

A. That is correct.

Q. Okay. And, if you were going to have a directory for

confidential information, one; it would be password protected?

A. Absolutely.

Q. It would be non-browseable?

A. Correct.

Q. And, nothing in it would be non-confidential?

A. Correct.

Q. Right

A. Unless, unless you were – so, for example, in the case

of a Board Portal, you might have a non-confidential document a

board member could see.

Q. That’s the thing...

A. But, realistically you would want a segregation

between that which should be public, and that which should not be


Q. And, all those things that I listed, all of those

things did not occur back in 2016 when you were retained?

A. That is, that is correct.


Q. All lot of the time, or some times when information

gets out it gets out because someone has done something – I’m

going to call it dishonest, or nefarious...

A. Mm-hmm.

Q. And, what I mean by that is this, I will define it for

you; it’s like hacking. So, for example, you download a program,

or use certain code, or you do something to get past a username

and a password.

A. Breaching passwords, finding an exploit, or something

like that, yeah.

Q. Right. But, it requires, one; a certain level of

knowledge, right?

A. Mm-hmm.

Q. Yes.

A. Yes.

Q. I know you are nodding, but...

A. Sorry, yes. For the record, yes.

Q. And two; it would require excessive knowledge of a

certain amount of dishonesty on your part to try and get past a

username and password that is clearly intended to block you?

A. Dishonesty, interest in what’s behind it, yes,


Q. I’m not talking from a moral sense...

A. Yep.

Q. ...I’m talking from a computer sense, you are trying

to get past something that’s intended to stop you?

A. That’s intended not to be, not to be accessed, yeah.

Q. Right. In this case the directory had no password,

nothing in it was intended to stop you from getting to it?

A. That’s correct.

PAGE 107

Q. Right. It doesn’t require a special knowledge to use


A. Not particularly.

Q. Right. And, because of that, it’s not actually, as

it’s set out by default, not intended for confidential documents

at all?

A. I guess not.

Q. Well, and the reason I say this is from what you said

which is that by default it has a browseable directory...

A. Yep, absolutely.

Q. ...that you could go to that doesn’t lock. So, by

default, a logical inference is, if you have a directory that’s

browseable where you can get to every document with no password,

that’s the default settings.

A. Absolutely.

Q. By default, it is not intended for confidential


A. That is true.


Here are the top 5 reasons for which you shouldn’t opt for a WordPress site if your part of a government funded multi-billion dollar private corporation with a legal obligation to protect client information:

Website builders are a perfect solution for - individuals and small businesses - to start a website without hiring a developer. However, finding the best website builder can be tricky for beginners.


WordPress is an open source software. It is free in the sense of freedom not in the sense of free beer. ... Open source software comes with the freedom for you to use, modify, build upon, and redistribute the software in any way you like without paying any fees.

What are the disadvantages of using WordPress?


WordPress is the most popular content management system. This fact alone makes WordPress a prime target for hackers everywhere. As a matter of fact, according to a Sucuri report WordPress is the most hacked CMS platform worldwide. (Talk about putting children and clients at risk...)


Disadvantages of A WordPress Website.


Without a doubt, WordPress is the most used Content management system (CMS) in the world. With millions of users, it is widely praised and appreciated for its advantages. But, while the hype is still strong, many people overlook or are not aware that WordPress has certain weak points that might make them reconsider their decisions or options.


1. Vulnerability


Unquestionably the biggest disadvantage of WordPress is its security. WordPress is an Open Source platform, and it relies heavily on plugins and themes for customization. Both the plugins and the themes are developed by different people and companies and since there isn’t anyone monitoring them, they can easily contain bugs or malicious code lines. On top of this, as stated above, today, WordPress is the most popular content management system. This fact alone makes WordPress a prime target for hackers everywhere. As a matter of fact, according to a Sucuri report WordPress is the most hacked CMS platform worldwide.


2. Can be expensive


While the WordPress itself is free, when looking at the whole picture there are significant costs. WordPress relies on plugins and themes for customization, and while there are some that are free, they are not always reliable or safe. Furthermore, if you want your website to stand out and your visitors to have a great you have to buy a theme, as the free ones are overused. With numerous updates coming out constantly, it can become quite expensive to keep your website up to date. Naturally, if you’re a WordPress designer, or have the knowledge you can make a lot of adjustments yourself, but most people need to use a plugin or a well-developed theme.


3. Needs frequent updates


Simply installing WordPress, is going to help you very much as this platform requires a theme and at least several plugins to work properly. WordPress updates can often render parts of your theme or some plugins usable. The more plugins you use, the more likely it is for you to encounter more compatibility problems. The whole maintenance process in WordPress can be quite challenging, and you have to be ready to make adjustments to your plugins and theme in order to have a functional website. If you don’t have the budget or the knowledge (design, programming), giving the fact that in general WordPress doesn’t offer support, and solutions can only be found on WordPress forums, chances are that you should choose another website solution for you.


4. SEO friendliness


WordPress is definitely an SEO friendly platform, but so is virtually any open source CMS. However, for the people with little to no SEO experience and knowledge, WordPress can create quite a few problems. Probably the most known one is caused by the WordPress’ category and tagging system. If the content is over-tagged or marked into many categories, Google will flag it as duplicate content, a fact that will affect your SEO rankings.


5. Customization needs Coding


To make certain change your WordPress site, you have to possess HTML, CSS and PHP knowledge. If you want to personalize in a unique way, or to enhance its design, you may find yourself needing to write numerous complicated code lines. If you’re in the category of people which possess the knowledge, things can go down smoothly, but if you try to write code without having the right expertise — most people in this category, you can make a lot of damage to your website.








Class action filed after cyber attack, privacy breach at Ontario children’s aid office

The suit names negligence and breach of confidence among the causes for legal action, alleging that the organization didn’t take proper measures to secure its data.

“They knew or ought to have known that the encryption of their computer systems, if any, was inadequate to protect against breach and compromise by computer hackers and they failed to take any or sufficient steps to remedy the same,” the claim reads. “They employed computer personnel and/or computer contractors who lacked the necessary skills, education, training, and expertise in computer data and security and encryption.”

Lemay acknowledged that the agency had struggled with security issues in the past, saying there had been a data breach involving less sensitive information in February.

Lemay said a third party had been called into tighten security on the board portal, but declined to discuss details because the matter is before the courts.

“It’ll be up to the courts to determine whether or not there was neglect and who’s responsible.”



Five Reasons Experts are Bad Witnesses.

Reason #1: In some cases, experts have been known to base their conclusions on the facts alone.

Reason #2: Lots of alleged experts don't.

We all know expert witnesses who are terrific courtroom communicators, but there are many more who are surprisingly ineffective. Why do so many of them struggle in the courtroom?


There’s no one answer but poor teaching is part of it. Most experts are not natural teachers. They are generally selected first for their subject matter expertise. They’re knowledge specialists. If they’re dynamic teachers or skilled communicators, that’s great, but it’s not the rule.


There are plenty of obstacles that can make it challenging for an expert to persuade or teach effectively: technical language, poor learning conditions, personality (not connecting with the jury or judge), the complexity of the evidence, credibility and bias and the effects of cross examination.  Let’s look at the first three of them.

'All of us can be harmed': Investigation reveals hundreds of Canadians have phoney degrees


The Expert’s Vocabulary

The expert’s language can contribute to the teaching problem. For one group of experts it’s instinctive to speak in the opaque jargon of their profession. They spent years learning the vocabulary and it has a precise meaning for them. A second group may think using big words makes them sound more professional and credible. They’re wrong. Big words push people away. A third group of experts is more cunning. They use technical terms to dodge and weave.

Motherisk hair test evidence tossed out of Colorado court 2 decades before questions raised in Canada


I witnessed an example of an expert who combined the first and last reasons. She was a medical expert, a radiologist, who reviewed an X-ray and gave the opinion that a certain area in the lung with higher density was a “non-specific finding” and not evidence of a possible tumor. That’s a perfectly normal reading of an X-ray. Radiologists make that finding thousands of times a year.

What does the jury hear from the phrase “non-specific finding?” It hears vagueness and waffling. It hears a big dodge. Does it mean there’s nothing wrong or that there might be something wrong but we don’t know from what? Does it mean the higher density is “ill-defined” or of “uncertain significance?” It could mean any of them.

“Non-radiologists joke that the official shield of the Radiology Department is a weasel eating a waffle while sitting under a hedge.”

(Radiologists have a reputation within the medical profession for hedging their opinions. I have a family member who’s an ER doctor. He says that non-radiologists joke that the official shield of the Radiology Department is a weasel eating a waffle while sitting under a hedge. Juries may not understand the fine points but they can sense shiftiness.)

This reminds me of that oft-quoted passage in George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language: “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims one turns, as it were instinctively, to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”  Doesn’t “non-specific finding” sound like a cuttlefish spurting out ink?

On cross examination the expert radiologist repeated “non-specific finding” about a dozen times in response to repeated questions about the higher density area. What does the jury hear?  It will hear the repetition of “non-specific finding” as if it’s an incantation. It will sound rehearsed. It did to me. It’s too bad because there was a simple fix.  All the expert needed to do was have an alternative phrase so that she didn’t sound so rehearsed.

Poor Learning Conditions

As a forum for teaching complex evidence, the courtroom functions partly as a classroom, but it’s not an easy place to teach. Even the design of the traditional school classroom has come under attack. In Brain Rules John Medina challenged its effectiveness:

“If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom.”

If he thinks the school classroom is a bad learning environment, he should visit a courtroom. Jurors are denied many of the learning tools available to students. They aren’t permitted to read background material or do any Web research. They can’t ask questions (except in a few jurisdictions). They have no textbooks. They can’t discuss the evidence with anyone until jury deliberations. If there’s technical evidence, they’ll likely be “taught” by experts from each party and the “teachings” will conflict and confuse.

How can a juror learn under those conditions?  Any classroom in America that was set up this way would be roundly condemned for undermining the learning process and dooming students to failure. Yet that is what jurors face in most courts.  If we think that the jurors will compensate for these learning conditions that is expecting too much.


Some expert witnesses take their expertness a little too seriously. For some reason Larry Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury and former President of Harvard, always comes to my mind when I imagine a super smart but super smug expert. Summers is brilliant but socially clumsy. His analysis is often dazzling and luminous but there is an arrogance and detachment about him that pushes people away (or at least me).

Motherisk tests 'felt like junk science,' says lawyer in Colorado case.


You get the sense that he doesn’t really care about you as a person or understand you. He cares about Himself. Juries have a nose for that kind of person. They do not like the attitude.  Now there are expert witnesses who can be arrogant and luminous but they are effective because they have a streak of humor or empathy or other human quality.  It doesn’t need to be a lot.

Here’s a story about how a good personality won the day. Bob was a software engineer and expert witness in a complicated patent case. He had never testified in court. His testimony was going to be very technical. He was a university professor who taught mostly graduate courses, and he spoke in the heavy jargon of his specialty. We didn’t have enough time to re-wire his language habits. Demonstrative exhibits were not going to help much. Our goal was limited. We wanted the jury to like him better than the other party’s software expert.

During his trial preparation we asked him how he got interested in the software field. He told a charming story about how a girl in high school led him to that career path. We asked him the same question early in his direct examination. The jurors clearly loved the story. They probably didn’t understand much about his testimony but they had a good feeling for him as a person. The other party’s software expert came off as cool and detached. Bob won the battle of experts simply by being a nice man.

Posted on July 10, 2015 by Mark G. Phillips


PAGE 108/9/10

Q. ...etcetera. When you were retained in February you 

made a list of all of the problems with the website, right?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. So, I am going to go through that list with

you, okay?

A. Absolutely.

Q. So, number one; if you are going to put confidential

information, like a Board Portal, the most secure way to do it is

you don’t even put it online. You put it in an intranet system,

like an internal system...

A. Absolutely, that’s right.

Q. Sorry, just let me finish...

A. Sorry.

Q. ...because the transcript becomes really difficult to

follow. So, there is an intranet, an internal system, yes?

A. Yes.

Q. And, you then use what’s called a V.P.N to access that

intranet if you are not on that network, right?

A. Yes.

Q. So, for example, the intranet would be accessible from

your work place only?

A. Typically, yes.

Q. And, if you wanted access from home the board members

would then have access via a V.P.N., yes?

A. Correct.

Q. Which requires a username and password, yes?

A. Yes.

Q. To get in?

A. Yes.

Q. That’s the most secure?

A. That is. 

Q. Very difficult to hack?

A. Correct.

Q. You don’t come into any of these problems, right?

A. Correct

Q. And, it is very clear, this is confidential, no one

can get into it?

A. Absolutely.

Q. Okay. If you are one step worse than that, which is

not quite as secure...

A. Yep.

Q. You are going to put it on its own separate website,


A. Yes.

Q. Aside from non-confidential information?

A. Correct.

Q. You are going to require a username and password?

A. For everything.

Q. Well. So the one, you are going to require a username

and password for the website?

A. Correct.

Q. Then, you will make sure that the directory is not


A. Correct.

Q. Then, you would make the documents password protected

in the event that for some reason something went wrong, it makes

it very clear that you can’t get here?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. None of those things happened in this case?

A. My understanding is that you are right.

Q. Right. We are here for your understanding. 

A. Yes, absolutely.

Q. Okay.

A. I mean, I know that they did post some documents that

were passworded, but by and large the documents that they posted

for the board members were not password protected.

Q. So, I was about to go there next. Obviously the

person who did this had the ability to password protect because

some of the P.D.F. documents were password protected?

A. That is correct.

Q. But, the document in question, or one of them, which

is this Excel spreadsheet...

A. Yep.

Q. ...that we went through the log sheet, the log lines

on, that one was not?

A. Correct.

Q. Right. Now, you gave us one way in which you can find

out that it’s open, okay?

A. Yes.

Q. And, that was the whole purpose of you creating this

fake website?

A. Yep. It was demonstration.

Q. Which is just to show us how someone could figure out

that, “Hey, this is open directory”?

A. Yes.


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PAGE 112

Q. And, the result will be it’s Google searchable?

A. That is correct.

Q. Right. So, in this case we know it’s an open


A. Mm-hmm.

Q. We know that – yes?

A. Yes.

Q. We know that it’s not password protected?

A. That is correct.


2018: Ransomware attacks hit two Ontario children’s aid societies.

Ransomware attacks at two children’s aid societies have spurred the Ontario government to tighten cybersecurity around a new, $123-million provincial database for children in care.

Officials with the other agency — Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville — claim they saw an English ransom message flash on their computer screens, demanding $60,000, when they tried to access their database in November.

“It encrypted most of our servers,” says the Lanark agency’s executive director, Raymond Lemay. “No data was taken out of our system. It was just an attempt by whatever you call these people to get a ransom.”

Lemay says his agency didn’t pay up. He says it used an offline backup of computer files to get the agency up and running again in about eight hours.


Backup copy or was there two sets of books? 

To cook the books is an idiom describing fraudulent activities performed by corporations to falsify their financial statements and God knows what else when it comes to the Ontario CAS..


Lemay says the ransomware attack cost his agency $100,000 to fix, an expense covered by his agency’s “cyber insurance.”

How does that make any sense? FCSLLG could have paid $60 000 and then fixed the problem and maybe the police could have tracked the money back to the bad guys but choose instead to pay $100 000 to regain control of their computers?

Cybersecurity experts from the province’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services, along with a private internet security firm, swooped into the agency to neutralize the malware in the infected servers.

“It took them about three weeks to find the needle in the haystack,” Lemay says.

The ransomware attack locked the agencies out of local online files that contained private information on the children and families they serve.

The computer virus attacked while the Lanark agency was uploading its data to a centralized database known as CPIN. It will allow societies across Ontario to share information more easily and better track how children in foster care and group homes are doing.

“They might have taken advantage of vulnerabilities that occurred because we were changing over to a new system,” Lemay says of CPIN. That’s one of the hypotheses, but we don’t know for sure.”




PAGE 44/45/46/47/48


Q. So, you know there is a breach in February, there is a

breach in April, you make the decision in April for the website

to eventually go back up. Do you know what the breach in

February was? What caused it?

A. We understood that board documents were posted,

interspersed in an interview that had been surreptitiously

recorded and posted to Facebook, YouTube, and Liveleaks.com.


Q. Okay. So, I think my question wasn’t clear. I know

that’s how it came to light for C.A.S, but my question more is,

were you, did you ever become aware as to how that individual got

that information, got that document?

A. No.

Q. So, you’ve never been aware in your roll what the

security breach of your website was, like, what caused it


A. Oh, I beg your pardon, the technical issue was that

directory tree that lists what files are on the website was


Q. So, it’s actually a bit more than that. What happened

was you had two systems. One was all of the public documents that

were intended to be in the public’s view, correct?

A. Correct.

Q. And in that exact same spot, under the same months,

arranged by months, folders with months in them, were the

documents on the confidential site, correct?

A. That’s my understanding.

Q. Right. So, the intention was you go on the interface,

and you put in a username or password for the confidential site?

A. Yes.

Q. Correct. Or, you go to the public sphere and you have

access to those things, correct?

A. Correct.

Q. But, all somebody had to do was go to the address bar,

put in the address of a certain month, year, and date, and they

would get the directory of everything that C.A.S. had saved?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And, that included both public and private documents?

A. That’s correct.

Q. You didn’t have to put any password?

A. That’s correct.

Q. You didn’t have to do anything – of any dishonesty,

you just have to put in a link, anyone could have done it?

A. Anyone did

Q. Right. And, the problem is, whoever created your

website back whenever it was created, left that function open,


A. Correct.

Q. And, the function I am referring to is that ability to

put in any U.R.L. at the top, in the address bar, and be able to

browse whatever you want to browse?

A. That’s correct.

Q. Thereby putting it all in the public’s view?

MR. CORBELLA: Well, I guess that’s the whole issue of the

legal argument, Your Honour.

MR. MANSOUR: We can excuse the witness if my friend has

an issue, and I can explain why I am asking the question.

THE COURT: I think that would be – if you want to just

wait outside I’ll hear from the lawyers, and then we will 

call you back in.

MR. MANSOUR: There isn’t much that turns on this. The

witness has said she (indiscernible) anyways, but my

point to the witness was, to the best of her knowledge,

anyone in the public could have accessed this with no

active dishonesty as far as she is aware. That is my

question. I’m not asking her to define what a publics

sphere is, my question was poorly worded. But, my point

to the witness, how I intended it is, to the best of your

knowledge, anyone could have done this, Ms. Denham, or

anybody else could have went online and browsed through

this, that’s it.

MR. CORBELLA: And, she’s answered that, Your Honour. I

think – but the next question was, and that put you into

the public’s sphere, and that’s where the whole point of

the legal argument we are having here. Again, there is

not much contention here, but I think her commenting on

what is or what isn’t in the publics sphere is for Your

Honour to decide.

MR. MANSOUR: I can reword. I’m not trying to tip the

witness or anything.

THE COURT: That’s fine. It seems to me that you are at

agreement in any event.

MR. MANSOUR: Yes. I’ll reword the question, that’s fine.

I think – my friend is right. I’ll reword. I only asked

the witness to be excused out of caution.

THE COURT: I wonder if she could be brought back in.

Q. I think my question was a little bit confusing. So,

let me re-ask you the question. I think you have already 

answered it, but let me ask you again. As far as you are aware, at the time when the security breach existed, anybody could have gone on line and accessed those documents if they went to that directory?

A. If they understood the concept of backing out.

Q. Right. So, anybody that put in what was put in the

U.R.L, with that knowledge of how a U.R.L. works, or how folders work within a website, as far as you are aware, could have gone and accessed it?

A. That’s correct.

Q. Okay. Now, prior to this date, were you always in

charge of the website, or is this something that just when you

decided to launch a new website it became your purview?

A. No, it became my purview in November of 2015 when I

assumed the role, when I assumed the communications project. The

website redesign was one part of our communications project.

Q. And, during that time you wouldn’t have been involved

of the storing of the confidential documents?

A. That is correct. I was not.

Q. Okay. But, when you decided to take down the website,

you decided to take down the website because you weren’t sure what the security breach was, and so you wanted to make sure that – shutdown, and make sure you fixed whatever it was?

A. That’s correct.

Q. No, I’m assuming security is quite important to


A. Yes.

Q. If you had found out some other way about the same

security breach, or any security breach, you would have taken the same step, which is shut down the website?

A. Yes.

Q. So, if your I.T. department came to you and said, hey,

I think there is a problem, no one has accessed it, but there was a problem, you would have taken the same step of shutting it



A. Our I.T. department had nothing to do with the



Q. Ma’am, I’m putting to you a hypothetical. If your

I.T. department came to you and said there was a security breach on your website...

A. Yes.

Q. ...no one has accessed it yet. Would you have taken

it down still?

A. Yes.

MR. MANSOUR: Thank you. Those are all my questions.

MR. CORBELLA: No re-examination, Your Honour. 


Download a copy of the Alleged CAS Hacker Trial Transcript Now

@ https://unpublishedottawa.com/letter/247562/alleged-ontario-cas-hacker-trial-update-190814




Flaherty McCarthy LLP: Our Firm has chosen to represent Class Members in several important Class Proceedings. These claims have involved mass torts, Consumer Protection issues and privacy breaches.

We have recently successfully certified a privacy breach class action involving the Children’s Aid Society of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville.

We have successfully prosecuted the following claims:

Wilkins v. Rogers Communications Inc., 2008 CanLII 56715 (ON SC)

Rowlands v. Durham Region Health, et al., 2011 ONSC 2171 (CanLII)

Travassos v. Tattoo, 2011 ONSC 2290 (CanLII)

Drew v. Walmart Canada Inc. 2017 ONSC 3308 (CanLII)


We are in the process of prosecuting the following claims:

Blood-borne disease exposure: Rizzi v. Dr. Vivek (Vick) Handa, Upper Middle Dental and Vick Handa Dentistry Professional Corporation

Solicitor’s Negligence claims against three Immigration Lawyers: Hohots, Jaszi and Farkas

Medical Device  and disease exposure: Nardi v. Sorin Group Deutschland GMBH


We remain committed to commencing and prosecuting valid and important claims that are best served by a proposed Class Proceeding.

Should you have an issue or concern that may be shared by others, such that a Class Proceeding may be appropriate, please contact:

In Toronto, contact Sean Brown.

In Whitby, contact Todd McCarthy.


M.M. v. Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Children’s Aid Society, 2018 ONSC 5032 (CanLII)

[6]               Now before the court are several motions for a diverse mix of procedural and evidentiary orders.

a.      M.M. seeks to discontinue her action against Ms. Denham.

b.      The Society, which, as noted above, had crossclaimed against Ms. Denham, seeks an Order converting its Crossclaim into a Third Party Claim and converting Ms Denham’s Crossclaim into a Counterclaim in the Third Party Action.

c.      The Society seeks an Order that the Third Party Action including its Counterclaim be case managed in Toronto as a part of the class action and be tried together with or immediately following the class action.

d.      The Society seeks a sealing order. The sealing Order is said to be required to address confidentiality concerns arising because of s. 87 (8) of the Child Youth and Family Services Act, 2017[3] and s.70(1) of the Children's Law Reform Act.[4]

e.      Ms. Denham does not oppose the continuation of the crossclaims within a Third Party Action, but she opposes the request for case management in Toronto and asks the court to transfer the Third Party Action to Perth, where she lives and where apparently she will have a lawyer prepared to act for her in defending the Third Party Action and in prosecuting her Counterclaim.

[7]               The request for a sealing order, which was not opposed, should be granted.




Canada: What Are The Consequences Of Filing A False Police Report In Canada?

By now we have all been subjected to the tragic details of television star Jussie Smollett's alleged attack in Chicago earlier this year. When the news broke initially, it seemed as though Smollett was a survivor of what appeared to be a hate crime and his colleagues within the entertainment business did not hesitate to express their support and vocalise the need for change. It was and still is a media frenzy.

However, as the evidence unfolded, it quickly became apparent that the crime itself could have been fabricated and orchestrated by Smollett himself. Subsequently, the actor now faces charges for filing a false police report and the story has raised an all important question about the repercussions for such actions.

What are the offences someone can be charged with under the Criminal Code of Canada for filing a false police report or lying to the police?

The offence under the Criminal Code which would be most applicable is committing public mischief under section 140. That section states:

140 (1) Every one commits public mischief who, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation by

making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed an offence;

doing anything intended to cause some other person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person has not committed, or to divert suspicion from himself;

reporting that an offence has been committed when it has not been committed; or

reporting or in any other way making it known or causing it to be made known that he or some other person has died when he or that other person has not died.

The purpose of the law is to discourage and punish false reporting and of course to prohibit people from falsely accusing others. Making a false statement transpires when the person makes the statement with the intention of misleading justice. One cannot be convicted if it is determined that they genuinely believed the statement to be true at the time it was made.

The penalties for committing public mischief are outlined at section 140(2) of the Criminal Code. If the Crown Attorney perceives the case as serious and elects to proceed by indictment, then an accused who is found guilty is potentially liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years. If the Crown decides to proceed summarily (less serious case) and an accused is found guilty then they are liable to a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both. The actual punishment imposed for those convicted will vary according to the facts of each case and the circumstances of each offender.

In addition to public mischief, there are several other offences under the Criminal Code that a person could find themselves charged with if they file a false police report or lie to the police. These include the following:

Perjury under section 131 of the Code if the person, with intent to mislead, knowingly gives a false statement under oath, affirmation, by affidavit, solemn declaration or deposition;

Fabricating Evidence under section 137 of the Code if the person, with intent to mislead, fabricates anything (such as a police report) with the intent that it shall be used as evidence in a judicial proceeding; and

Obstructing Justice under section 139 (2) of the Code if the person wilfully attempts to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice.

These offences involving the misleading of justice and which include lying to the authorities are taken very seriously. This is clear when looking at the potential and maximum penalties under the Code. Perjury and fabricating evidence are indictable offences with potential prison terms of up to 14 years, while obstruct justice under 139 (2) of the Criminal Code is an indictable offence with a maximum sentence of imprisonment for 10 years.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.



Elements of a Defamation Lawsuit

Defamation law changes as you cross state borders, but there are some accepted standards that make laws similar no matter where you are. Generally, in order to win your lawsuit, you must show that:

Someone made a statement;

The statement was published;

The statement caused you injury;

The statement was false; and

The statement did not fall into a privileged category.

1. The Statement - A "statement" needs to be spoken (slander), written (libel), or otherwise expressed in some manner. Because the spoken word often fades more quickly from memory, slander is often considered less harmful than libel.

2. Publication - For a statement to be published, a third party (someone other than the person making the statement or the subject of the statement) must have seen, heard or read the defamatory statement. Unlike the traditional meaning of the word "published," a defamatory statement does not need to be printed. Rather, a statement heard over the television or seen scrawled on someone's door is considered to be published.

3. Injury - To succeed in a defamation lawsuit, the statement must be shown to have caused injury to the subject of the statement. This means that the statement must have hurt the reputation of the subject of the statement. For example, a statement has caused injury if the subject of the statement lost work as a result of the statement.

4. Falsity - Defamation law will only consider statements defamatory if they are, in fact, false. A true statement is not considered defamation. Additionally, because of their nature, statements of opinion are not considered false because they are subjective to the speaker.

5. Unprivileged - Lastly, in order for a statement to be defamatory, it must be unprivileged. You cannot sue for defamation in certain instances when a statement is considered privileged. For example, when a witness testifies at trial and makes a statement that is both false and injurious, the witness will be immune to a lawsuit for defamation because the act of testifying at trial is privileged.


"[A]buse of process (is) the intentional use of legal process for an improper purpose incompatible with the lawful function of the process by one with an ulterior motive in doing so, and with resulting damages."

"In its broadest sense, abuse of process may be defined as misuse or perversion of regularly issued legal process for a purpose not justified by the nature of the process."

Abuse of power, in the form of "malfeasance in office" or "official misconduct," is the commission of an unlawful act, done in an official capacity, which affects the performance of official duties. ... Abuse of power can also mean a person using the power they have for their own personal gain.

The act of using one's position of power in an abusive way. This can take many forms, such as taking advantage of someone, gaining access to information that shouldn't be accessible to the public, or just manipulating someone with the ability to punish them if they don't comply.

Covert and overt abuse of power: Covert: covert means that something is hidden, in the case of power, it would mean that someone is concealing their abuse of power from the public/other service users/other care workers. Covert abuse of power can happen in any setting.

Representing FCSLLG in the class action is Fasken who was present at Miss Denham's college hearing and present at the criminal proceedings making suggestions a'plenty.

Fasken formerly Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, is an international business law firm with approximately 700 lawyers and offices in Vancouver, Surrey, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec City, Beijing, London and Johannesburg. On 29 November 2017, the firm announced that it is changing its name to Fasken.

(I bet Fasken lawyers don't come cheap)


Please draw your attention to Note 3 in the 2019 FCSLLG financial statements, which indicates that the Society's operating fund expenses exceeded revenues by $1,114,539 during the year ended March 31, 2019 and, as of that date, the Society's current liabilities exceeded its current assets by $3,827,221.

As stated in Note 3, these events or conditions, along with other matters as set forth in Note 3, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the Society's ability to continue as a going concern.

Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter.


At March 31, 2019 the Society had a negative working capital of $3,827,221 and the operating fund expenses exceeded revenues by $1,114,539, which when added to the operating fund excess of expenses over revenues incurred in the last 3 years, resulted in an accumulated operating fund deficit

of $3,364,522.

The Society requested a temporary increase of $120,000 to its line of credit near year end to meets its obligations and its balanced budget fund was fully depleted during the year ended March 31, 2018.


2019 2018

Due from other societies $ 51,581 $ 82,698

Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services 11,063 621,644

Interfund 597,352 613,539

General 426,869 307,519

$ 1,086,865 $ 1,625,400



Goal: To ensure an ethical, professional and accountable BPS supply chain. Personal Integrity and Professionalism.

(after refusing to register with the College of Social Work and refusing to just willing cooperate with the Ombudsman or the former Child Advocate - is this compliance how the society justify calling themselves professionals?)

Individuals involved with Supply Chain Activities must act, and be seen to act, with integrity and professionalism. Honesty, care and due diligence must be integral to all Supply Chain Activities within and between BPS organizations, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Respect must be demonstrated for each other and for the environment. Confidential information must be safeguarded. Participants must not engage in any activity that may create, or appear to create, a conflict of interest, such as accepting gifts or favours, providing preferential treatment, or publicly endorsing suppliers or products.

Accountability and Transparency

Supply Chain Activities must be open and accountable. In particular, contracting and purchasing activities must be fair, transparent and conducted with a view to obtaining the best value for public money. All participants must ensure that public sector resources are used in a responsible, efficient and effective manner.

SCMA™ Code of Ethics for Professionals in the field of Supply Chain Management.

Affecting and Accepting Responsibility



Mandatory registration and regulation by the College is not in the best interest of child protection workers and ultimately, not in the best interest of vulnerable children, youth and families.



Merton coined the term “self-fulfilling prophecy,” defining it as:

“A false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true” (Merton, 1968, p. 477).

In other words, Merton noticed that sometimes a belief brings about consequences that cause reality to match the belief. Generally, those at the center of a self-fulfilling prophecy don’t understand that their beliefs caused the consequences they expected or feared—it’s often unintentional,  unlike self-motivation or self-confidence.



"Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 proclaimed in force."


The new regulation was updated to only require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College.


The majority of local directors, supervisors, child protection workers and adoption workers have social work or social service work education, yet fewer than 10% are registered with the OCSWSSW.

Unfortunately, many CASs have been circumventing professional regulation of their staff by requiring that staff have social work education yet discouraging those same staff from registering with the OCSWSSW.

Ontarians have a right to assume that, when they receive services that are provided by someone who is required to have a social work degree (or a social service work diploma) — whether those services are direct (such as those provided by a child protection worker or adoption worker) or indirect (such as those provided by a local director or supervisor) — that person is registered with, and accountable to, the OCSWSSW.

As a key stakeholder with respect to numerous issues covered in the CYFSA and the regulations, we were dismayed to learn just prior to the posting of the regulations that we had been left out of the consultation process. We have reached out on more than one occasion to request information about regulations to be made under the CYFSA regarding staff qualifications.

A commitment to public protection, especially when dealing with vulnerable populations such as the children, youth and families served by CASs, is of paramount importance. In short, it is irresponsible for government to propose regulations that would allow CAS staff to operate outside of the very system of public protection and oversight it has established through professional regulation.

Regulations under the CYFSA:

The College has worked with government to address its concerns about regulations under the new CYFSA which set out the qualifications of Children’s Aid Society (CAS) staff. Upon learning in late November that the proposed regulations would continue to allow CAS workers to avoid registration with the College, the College immediately engaged with MCYS and outlined its strong concerns in a letter to the Minister of Children and Youth Services and a submission to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services during the consultation period.

The new regulation was updated to require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College.

We are pleased to note that, while the new regulation does not currently require CAS supervisors to be registered, we have received a "commitment" FROM THE OUTGOING WYNNE GOVERNMENT to work with the College and the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies toward a goal of requiring registration of CAS supervisors beginning January 2019.

Key concerns:

The absence of a requirement for CAS child protection workers to be registered with the College: ignores the public protection mandate of the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 (SWSSWA); avoids the fact that social workers and social service workers are regulated professions in Ontario and ignores the College’s important role in protecting the Ontario public from harm caused by incompetent, unqualified or unfit practitioners; allows CAS staff to operate outside the system of public protection and oversight that the Government has established through professional regulation; and fails to provide the assurance to all Ontarians that they are receiving services from CAS staff who are registered with, and accountable to, the College.

Since it began operations in 2000, the OCSWSSW has worked steadily and completely unseen to silently address the issue of child protection workers.

Unfortunately, many CASs have been circumventing professional regulation of their staff by requiring that staff have social work education yet discouraging those same staff from registering with the OCSWSSW.

The new regulation was updated to only require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College.

The majority of local directors, supervisors, child protection workers and adoption workers have social work or social service work education, yet fewer than 10% are registered with the OCSWSSW.

The existing regulations made under the CFSA predated the regulation of social work and social service work in Ontario and therefore their focus on the credential was understandable.

However, today a credential focus is neither reasonable nor defensible. Social work and social service work are regulated professions in Ontario.

Updating the regulations under the new CYFSA provides an important opportunity for the Government to protect the Ontario public from incompetent, unqualified and unfit professionals and to prevent a serious risk of harm to children and youth, as well as their families. 

As Minister Coteau said in second reading debate of Bill 89, "protecting and supporting children and youth is not just an obligation, it is our moral imperative, our duty and our privilege—each and every one of us in this Legislature, our privilege—in shaping the future of this province."

A "social worker" or a "social service worker" is by law someone who is registered with the OCSWSSW. Furthermore, as noted previously, the Ontario public has a right to assume that when they receive services that are provided by someone who is required to have a social work degree (or a social service work diploma), that person is registered with the OCSWSSW.

The OCSWSSW also has processes for equivalency, permitting those with a combination of academic qualifications and experience performing the role of a social worker or social service worker to register with the College. 

These processes address, among other things, the risk posed by "fake degrees" and other misrepresentations of qualifications, ensuring Ontarians know that a registered social worker or social service worker has the education and/or experience to do their job.

The review of academic credentials and knowledge regarding academic programs is an area of expertise of a professional regulatory body. An individual employer will not have the depth of experience with assessing the validity of academic credentials nor the knowledge of academic institutions to be able to uncover false credentials or misrepresentations of qualifications on a reliable basis.

Setting, maintaining and holding members accountable to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. These minimum standards apply to all OCSWSSW members, regardless of the areas   or context in which they practise. Especially relevant in the child welfare context are principles that address confidentiality and privacy, competence and integrity, record-keeping, and sexual misconduct.

Maintaining fair and rigorous complaints and discipline processes. These processes differ from government oversight systems and process-oriented mechanisms within child welfare, as well as those put in place by individual employers like a CAS. They focus on the conduct of individual professionals.

Furthermore, transparency regarding referrals of allegations of misconduct and discipline findings and sanctions ensures that a person cannot move from employer to employer when there is an allegation referred to a hearing or a finding after a discipline hearing that their practice does not meet minimum standards.

Submission-re-Proposed-Regulations-under-the-CYFSA-January-25-2018. OCSWSSW May 1, 2018


If you have any practice questions or concerns related to the new CYFSA, please contact the Professional Practice Department at 416-972-9882 or 1-877-828-9380 or email practice@ocswssw.org.


In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person's choice to deny reality, as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth like child protection in Ontario is a rogue agency gone mad with power.

There are those who engage in denialist tactics because they are protecting some "overvalued idea" which is critical to their identity. Since legitimate dialogue is not a valid option for those who are interested in protecting bigoted or unreasonable ideas from facts, their only recourse is to use these types of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument and legitimate debate, when there is none.


Regulation of child protection workers by Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers: CUPE responds. 

I am aware that OACAS, the organization that represents my employer, is planning to make it mandatory for me to register with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service

Workers in order for me to do my job.


One of the reasons given for introducing this requirement is that it will provide more oversight Children’s Aid Societies and child protection workers. Regulation through the College is entirely appropriate for social workers who are in private practice and whose work is not overseen by an employer. But I would like to remind [CAS] that my colleagues and I already answer to more than enough people, processes, and outside bodies in the course of our work, as the following list shows:

• CAS in-house management structure, including supervisors, managers, lawyers, and case conferences; (not public)

• a society’s internal standards, policies, procedures and protocols, some of which are governed by the Children and Family Services Act; (not public)

• a society’s internal disciplinary and complaints procedures; (not public)

• Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, which has new powers to investigate CAS workers; (defunct)

• ministry audits in almost every area of service, including Crown Ward Reviews and Licensing; (see links below)

• Child and Family Services Review Board, which conducts reviews and hearings of complaints against a CAS worker; (by the ministry that funds them so there's no potential for conflicts of interests)

• family courts; (see links below)

• Ontario’s human rights tribunal; (see links below)

• the provincial auditor general; (see links below)

• child death reviews, including the Paediatric Death Review and internal reviews; (see links below)

• coroner’s inquests. (see links below)

How could anyone look at this list and possibly think that child protection workers need more oversight?

How about the long list of well publicized scandals ,tragedies, a one sided court system, fake experts, fake drug tests, sex cults and unexplained child deaths in care?


Asking for more ways to regulate and oversee the work of child protection workers is clearly unnecessary and leads me to think there is another agenda at work in this exercise.

I wanted to share some facts and figures that I have learned along the way; I think they point to significant problems for the sector and for [CAS] in particular:

Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by nearly all people. The first type of common sense, good sense, can be described as "the knack for seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done." 

• There are over 5,000 child protection workers in Ontario

• The College regulates about 17,000 social workers and social service workers

• In Ontario, only 7% of College-registered social workers are employed by a CAS

• Only 4% of members of the Ontario Association of Social Workers work for a CAS

• Between 30% and 50% of Ontario’s child welfare workers do NOT hold a BSW

• Only 63% of direct service staff in CASs have a BSW or MSW (in 2012, it was 57%)

• Only 78% of direct service supervisors have a BSW or MSW (in 2012, it was 75.5%)

• The 2013 OACAS Human Resources survey estimates that 70% of relevant CAS job classifications would qualify for registration with the College

• From 2002 to 2014, 41 child welfare employees who did not hold a BSW or MSW submitted equivalency applications to register as social workers; only 16 were successful and 25 were refused.

Multidisciplinary child protection teams are a strength. Working alongside child protection workers who have taken a couple of years of education in psychology, sociology or mental health enriches the services they provide to children, youth and families, as well as the working environment we all share. 

Similarly, those colleagues with backgrounds in such areas as children and youth justice offer insight and knowledge that would not normally form part of BSW or MSW. Sometimes a colleague has gained qualifications outside the country and brings unique cultural or community perspectives to our work.

What happens when those with backgrounds in youth justice start acting like they have BSW/MSW education in psychology, sociology or mental health?

Currently, workplace disciplines, complaints and other personnel matters at [CAS] are treated confidentially. But if child protection workers become subject to regulation by the College, previously confidential workplace matters will become matters of public record.

My membership in the College would mean that anyone can see information about my status or complaints made against me – and under the College’s rules, there is no time limit in which to make a complaint. Disciplinary hearings are open to the public and once a complaint is made, it is on file forever. 

There is no process for appeal.

Employers must also file a written report with the College if one of its registered members is terminated. This requirement conflicts with an employee’s right to grieve a termination under the collective agreement or appeal it through arbitration, where a termination may be overturned.

I also have concerns for my personal safety and that of my family, since college registration is open to public scrutiny and provides no protection from potentially violent clients.

None of the ways that the College deals with personal information, complaints, and discipline allow for a fair or safe process for "child protection workers." (ad hominem)

There are any number of measures that can be and ought to be taken to restore public confidence in child protection and keep at-risk children and youth safer. Regulation by the college is not one of them.

I am not a social worker; I don’t want to be a social worker. Had I wanted to be a social worker, I would have trained as one.

If regulation through the College of Social Work is introduced, what will happen to us child protection workers who don’t have degrees in social work (a BSW or MSW) or a social service worker diploma? After all, we make up to 50% of the child protection workforce. (50%)

None of the options currently available to us is appealing: we can try to upgrade to the qualifications that will allow up to keep our jobs. We can move to a different job class. We can accept termination or layoff. (considering the job market what else aren't they qualified to do)

What doesn’t seem to be an option is “grandfathering,” something that would allow child protection workers already in post to keep doing their current jobs. The College is quite specific that grandfathering is not on the table. (so employees with decades of experience are off the table)

These facts seem to present some insurmountable problems for the child protection sector and represent another compelling reason that regulation by the College is a bad move for the child protection sector and for child protection workers.

One of the reasons given for this change is that regulation will result in higher quality services and bring greater professionalism to the field and that this will improve the standard of child protection work in Ontario.

I would like to point out that a failure to meet standards of care in child protection work is very rarely the result of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity on the part of individual child protection workers.

The stated purpose of the College is to protect the public from unqualified, incompetent or unfit practitioners.

But children’s aid societies already set those standards and ensure their adherence: they determine the job qualifications. They deal with employees they deem to be unqualified or

incompetent. And CASs decide whether child protection work in their area can be performed by someone who holds a Bachelor’s degree and has child welfare experience.

I may not hold a BSW or MSW degree, enjoy membership in the College or be subject to its regulation. But I feel like professional practitioner in the child protection sector and, as such, I cannot countenance this move toward the regulation of the child protection workforce. I am resolved to fight it at every step of the way and instead campaign for the measures that will bring real benefits to at-risk youth, children and families.

• Regulation with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers is entirely inappropriate for workers subject to employer oversight

• CAS employees are already subject to adequate oversight at several levels

• Without degrees in social work (BSWs or MSWs), many CAS child protection workers aren’t eligible to join the College

• College requirements for members are unfriendly to workers who take breaks from the field, especially women workers

• College discipline procedures require mandatory reporting by employers of an employee’s termination, regardless of whether the termination will be the subject of a grievance or arbitration

• Workers’ safety and privacy is at risk, since a college registration is open to the public

• Regulation shifts responsibility for system failures to individual workers





Under suspicion: Concerns about child welfare.


"Passing the buck..."

CAS funded research indicates that many professionals overreport families based on stereotypes around racial identities. Both Indigenous and Africa-Canadian children and youth are overrepresented in child welfare due to systemic racism but for some reason a document called “Yes, You Can. Dispelling the Myths About Sharing Information with Children’s Aid Societies” was jointly released by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Advocate.

The document, targeted the same professionals who work with children that CAS research indicated already over-reported families, and was a critical reminder that a call to Children’s Aid is not a privacy violation when a professional claims it concerns the safety of a child.




You can hear former MPP Frank Klees say in a video linked below the very reason the social worker act was introduced and became law in 1998 was to regulate the "children's aid societies."





The union representing child protection social workers is firmly opposed to oversight from a professional college and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which regulates and funds child protection, is so far staying out of it.

The report Towards Regulation notes that the “clearest path forward” would be for the provincial government to again legislate the necessity of professional regulation, which would be an appallingly heavy-handed move according to OACAS/Cupe.

























Between 2008/2012 natural causes was listed as the least likely way for a child in Ontario's care to die at 7% of the total deaths reviewed (15 children) while "undetermined cause" was listed as the leading cause of death of children in Ontario's child protection system at "43%" of the total deaths reviewed (92 children).



2009: Why did 90 children in care die?









Discredited hair-testing program harmed vulnerable families across Ontario, report says.





2013: Nancy Simone, a president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local representing 275 workers at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, argued child protection workers already have levels of oversight that include unregistered unqualified workplace supervisors, family court judges, coroners’ inquests and annual case audits by the ministry and the union representing child protection workers is firmly opposed to ethical oversight from a professional college, and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which regulates and funds child protection, is so far staying out of the fight.. Nancy Simone says, “Our work is already regulated to death.”


A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can't understand others' feelings. They'll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause. People with ASPD may also use “mind games” to control friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers. They may also be perceived as charismatic or charming.


Head of Motherisk probe had ties to Sick Kids


Fri., Feb. 12, 2016

Questions are being raised about the retired judge chosen by the provincial government to head a two-year commission reviewing child protection cases that used flawed hair-test results from the Hospital for Sick Children’s Motherisk laboratory.

Justice Judith Beaman has prior legal connections to Sick Kids, the Star has learned. While working as a lawyer in private practice in the late 1980s and early 1990s, she advised the hospital’s Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect team.

Justice Judith Beaman, who will lead the second Motherisk commission.

The SCAN team would later come under fire for its actions during that period, after a public inquiry looked into cases by disgraced pathologist Charles Smith, who worked closely with SCAN members and whose findings led in some instances to wrongful convictions.

“The government has complete confidence that Justice Beaman’s career and experience as a judge and a lawyer will not place her in a conflict with respect to her responsibilities as commissioner,” said Christine Burke, a spokeswoman for Ontario Attorney-General Madeleine Meilleur.

Burke confirmed that Beaman, considered a family law expert, provided advice to the SCAN team “to support preparations for court appearances,” adding that it was over 25 years ago and has no connection with the matters being dealt with at the Motherisk commission.

The commission, which began its work last month, did not make Beaman available for an interview.

A spokesman said Beaman never advised — nor even recalls meeting — Smith, and that aside from discussing court presentations with the SCAN team, she also flagged case law she thought would be relevant to their work during a period of about two years.

The issue of Beaman heading the commission has led to concern from the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and has been raised in a letter to Meilleur from a lawyer representing a woman affected by Motherisk.

“Fairness and impartiality are cornerstones of our justice system. As a result, judges must be and appear to be unbiased,” said criminal defence lawyer Daniel Brown, a Toronto director of the CLA.

“There is no concern about the integrity or impartiality of Justice Beaman, but because this is a public review, our organization is very concerned that her decision might appear to be coloured by her prior associations with Sick Kids Hospital.”

Christine Rupert, whose two daughters were removed at birth and later adopted out, wants answers from the government about Beaman.

Her daughters remained in foster care because, at least in part, of Motherisk hair tests that showed Rupert was a heavy cocaine user — a finding she has always fiercely denied and has gone to great lengths to disprove.

“I simply want to be assured that Justice Beaman was not involved in any way whatsoever with the previous problems at the Hospital for Sick Children,” she told the Star, referring to the Smith scandal and the pathologist’s association with the SCAN team.

Her lawyer, Julie Kirkpatrick, raised Rupert’s concern in a Jan. 17 letter to Meilleur, but has yet to hear back.

“I have a duty to my client to ask questions on her behalf,” she told the Star. “I do look forward to hearing back from the government so that I can reassure my client. This is very important to her.”

It is not unusual for judges to have represented many different interests and parties before their call to the bench, said the head of the Family Lawyers Association.

“Generally, the family law bar was positive about (Beaman’s) appointment as she is seen as someone experienced and knowledgeable about child protection law,” said Katharina Janczaruk.

Beaman’s name came up in 2008 at the Goudge Inquiry, which was looking into errors made by Smith in child death cases.

Dr. Katy Driver, a member of the SCAN team, told inquiry counsel Linda Rothstein that “Judy Beeman” would come in about once a month and “we would discuss some of the concerns that we would have had over different cases, different court appearances of anyone of us,” according to a transcript.

Driver is out of the country and could not be reached for comment by the Star.

Rothstein’s questions to Driver followed a discussion at the inquiry about a meeting of the SCAN team in which they shrugged off a 1991 ruling by a judge who had acquitted a babysitter of killing a baby. The verdict came after a number of forensic experts disputed the evidence put forward by Smith and the SCAN team.

The judge, Patrick Dunn, was described in minutes from that meeting as a “family court judge at the bottom of the heap,” and that his ruling had “no presidential value re: medical evidence,” the inquiry heard.

Known as the “Amber case,” it was the first case that seriously called into question Smith’s work and a key moment in what would become a national scandal. The outright dismissal of the judge’s ruling by the SCAN team was described as a missed opportunity at the public inquiry.

It was not clear in the inquiry transcript if Beaman attended that meeting of the SCAN team or helped them in preparing for the trial.

The Motherisk commission spokesman told the Star that Beaman “has no recollection of speaking to the team about any particular court decisions,” but that her advice would never have been to disregard a ruling.

From a legal ethics perspective, Beaman’s appointment as head of the commission seems to have the appearance of a conflict, said Osgoode Hall law professor Allan Hutchinson, who is not involved with the commission or Motherisk.

“Somebody will easily be able to paint her report — however unjustified — by saying: ‘Look, she used to work for (Sick Kids),’ ” he said.



The Slippery Slope: A slippery slope argument (SSA), in logic, critical thinking, political rhetoric, and caselaw, is a logical fallacy in which a party asserts that a relatively small first step leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant (usually negative) effect.

Distinction without a Difference: A distinction without a difference is a type of logical fallacy where an author or speaker attempts to describe a distinction between two things where no discernible difference exists. It is particularly used when a word or phrase has connotations associated with it that one party to an argument prefers to avoid. 

Either/Or Fallacy (also called "the Black-and-White Fallacy," "Excluded Middle," "False Dilemma," or "False Dichotomy"): This fallacy occurs when a writer builds an argument upon the assumption that there are only two choices or possible outcomes when actually there are several.

Red Herring: Attempting to redirect the argument to another issue to which the person doing the redirecting can better respond. While it is similar to the avoiding the issue fallacy, the red herring is a deliberate diversion of attention with the intention of trying to abandon the original argument.

False Dilemma Examples: False Dilemma is a fallacy based on an "either-or" type of argument. Two choices are presented, when more might exist, and the claim is made that one is false and one is true-or one is acceptable and the other is not. Often, there are other alternatives, or both choices might be false or true.

Circular Argument: In informal logic, circular reasoning is an argument that commits the logical fallacy of assuming what it is attempting to prove. ... "The fallacy of the petitio principii," says Madsen Pirie, "lies in its dependence on the unestablished conclusion.

What is a Logical Fallacy?

A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning common enough to warrant a fancy name. Knowing how to spot and identify fallacies is a priceless skill. It can save you time, money, and personal dignity. There are two major categories of logical fallacies, which in turn break down into a wide range of types of fallacies, each with their own unique ways of trying to trick you into agreement.

A Formal Fallacy is a breakdown in how you say something. The ideas are somehow sequenced incorrectly. Their form is wrong, rendering the argument as noise and nonsense.

An Informal Fallacy denotes an error in what you are saying, that is, the content of your argument. The ideas might be arranged correctly, but something you said isn’t quite right. The content is wrong or off-kilter.

For the purposes of this article, when we say logical fallacies, we refer to informal fallacies. Following is a list of the 15 types of logical fallacies you are most likely to encounter in discussion and debate.

Appeal to Ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam)

Any time ignorance is used as a major premise in support of an argument, it’s liable to be a fallacious appeal to ignorance. Naturally, we are all ignorant of many things, but it is cheap and manipulative to allow this unfortunate aspect of the human condition to do most of our heavy lifting in an argument.

An appeal to ignorance isn’t proof of anything except that you don’t know something.

Interestingly, appeal to ignorance is often used to bolster multiple contradictory conclusions at once. Consider the following two claims:

“No one has ever been able to prove definitively that extra-terrestrials exist, so they must not be real.”

“No one has ever been able to prove definitively that extra-terrestrials do not exist, so they must be real.”

If the same argument strategy can support mutually exclusive claims, then it’s not a good argument strategy.

An appeal to ignorance isn’t proof of anything except that you don’t know something. If no one has proven the non-existence of ghosts or flying saucers, that’s hardly proof that those things either exist or don’t exist. If we don’t know whether they exist, then we don’t know that they do exist or that they don’t exist. Appeal to ignorance doesn’t prove any claim to knowledge.

Ad Hominem Fallacy

When people think of “arguments,” often their first thought is of shouting matches riddled with personal attacks. Ironically, personal attacks run contrary to rational arguments. In logic and rhetoric, a personal attack is called an ad hominem. Ad hominem is Latin for “against the man.” Instead of advancing good sound reasoning, an ad hominem replaces logical argumentation with attack-language unrelated to the truth of the matter.

More specifically, the ad hominem is a fallacy of relevance where someone rejects or criticizes another person’s view on the basis of personal characteristics, background, physical appearance, or other features irrelevant to the argument at issue.

An ad hominem is more than just an insult. It’s an insult used as if it were an argument or evidence in support of a conclusion.

Verbally attacking people proves nothing about the truth or falsity of their claims. Use of an ad hominem is commonly known in politics as “mudslinging.” Instead of addressing the candidate’s stance on the issues, or addressing his or her effectiveness as a statesman or stateswoman, an ad hominem focuses on personality issues, speech patterns, wardrobe, style, and other things that affect popularity but have no bearing on their competence. In this way, an ad hominem can be unethical, seeking to manipulate voters by appealing to irrelevant foibles and name-calling instead of addressing core issues. In this last election cycle, personal attacks were volleyed freely from all sides of the political aisle, with both Clinton and Trump facing their fair share of ad hominem fallacies.

Ad hominem is an insult used as if it were an argument or evidence in support of a conclusion.

A thread on Quora lists the following doozies against Hillary Clinton: “Killary Clinton,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Hilla the Hun,” “Shillary,” “Hitlery,” “Klinton,” “Hildebeest,” “Defender of Child rapists,” “Corporate Whore,” “Mr. President,” “Heil Hillary,” “Wicked Witch of the West Wing,” “Robberty Hillham Clinton,” “Mrs. Carpetbagger”, and the decidedly unsubtle, “The Devil.”

The NY Daily News offers an amusing list of insults against Donald Trump: “Short fingered Vulgarian,” “Angry Creamsicle,” “Fascist Carnival Barker,” “F*ckface von Clownstick,” “Decomposing Jack-O-Lantern,” “Chairman of the Saddam Hussein Fanclub,” “Racist Clementine,” “Sentient Caps Lock Button,” “Cheeto Jesus,” “Tangerine Tornado,” and perhaps the most creative/literary reference, “Rome Burning in Man Form.”

The use of ad hominem often signals the point at which a civil disagreement has descended into a “fight.” Whether it’s siblings, friends, or lovers, most everyone has had a verbal disagreement crumble into a disjointed shouting match of angry insults and accusations aimed at discrediting the other person. When these insults crowd out a substantial argument, they become ad hominems.

Strawman Argument

It’s much easier to defeat your opponent’s argument when it’s made of straw. The Strawman argument is aptly named after a harmless, lifeless, scarecrow. In the strawman argument, someone attacks a position the opponent doesn’t really hold. Instead of contending with the actual argument, he or she attacks the equivalent of a lifeless bundle of straw, an easily defeated effigy, which the opponent never intended upon defending anyway.

The strawman argument is a cheap and easy way to make one’s position look stronger than it is. Using this fallacy, opposing views are characterized as “non-starters,” lifeless, truthless, and wholly unreliable. By comparison, one’s own position will look better for it. You can imagine how strawman arguments and ad hominem fallacies can occur together, demonizing opponents and discrediting their views.

With the strawman argument, someone attacks a position the opponent doesn’t really hold.

This fallacy can be unethical if it’s done on purpose, deliberately mischaracterizing the opponent’s position for the sake of deceiving others. But often the strawman argument is accidental, because the offender doesn’t realize the are oversimplifying a nuanced position, or misrepresenting a narrow, cautious claim as if it were broad and foolhardy.

Read more:



A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can't understand others' feelings. They'll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause. People with ASPD may also use “mind games” to control friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers. They may also be perceived as charismatic or charming.



Industry self-regulation is the process whereby members of an industry, trade or sector of the economy monitor their own adherence to legal, ethical, or safety standards, rather than have an outside, independent agency such as a third party entity or governmental regulator monitor and enforce those standards.[1] 

Self-regulation may ease compliance and ownership of standards, but it can also give rise to conflicts of interest.


Youth homelessness linked to foster care system in new study

The study, to be released Wednesday, found nearly three out of every five homeless youth were part of the child welfare system at some point in their lives, a rate almost 200 times greater than that of the general population.



If any organization, such as a corporation or government bureaucracy, is asked to eliminate unethical behavior within their own group, it may be in their interest in the short run to eliminate the appearance of unethical behavior, rather than the behavior itself, by keeping any ethical breaches hidden, instead of exposing and correcting them.

An exception occurs when the ethical breach is already known by the public. In that case, it could be in the group's interest to end the ethical problem to which the public has knowledge, but keep remaining breaches hidden.

Another exception would occur in industry sectors with varied membership, such as international brands together with small and medium size companies where the brand owners would have an interest to protect the joint sector reputation by issuing together self-regulation so as to avoid smaller companies with less resources causing damage out of ignorance.

Similarly, the reliability of a professional group such as lawyers and journalists could make ethical rules work satisfactorily as a self-regulation if they were a pre-condition for adherence of new members.




An organization can maintain control over the standards to which they are held by successfully self-regulating. If they can keep the public from becoming aware of their internal problems, this also serves in place of a public relations campaign to repair such damage.

SEE: “I Am Your Children’s Aid” campaign is a provincial campaign designed to educate/deceive Ontarians about the role of CASs in their community and ways they can get involved in protecting children and building stronger families. It is also to be used as a tool to recruit foster, adoptive parents and volunteers. This campaign brings to life stories of the young men and women.



The cost of setting up an external enforcement mechanism is avoided. If the self-regulation can avoid reputational damage and related risks to all actors in the industry, this would be a powerful incentive for a pro-active self-regulation [without the necessity to assume it is to hide something].

Self-regulating attempts may well fail, due to the inherent conflict of interest in asking any organization to police itself.

If the public becomes aware of this failure, an external, independent organization is often given the duty of policing them, sometimes with highly punitive measures taken against the organization.

The results can be disastrous, such as a child welfare society with no external, independent oversight, which may commit human rights violations against the public. Not all government funded private businesses will voluntarily meet best practice standards, leaving some or most families exposed.

Governments may prefer to allow an industry to regulate itself but maintain a watching brief over the effectiveness of self-regulation and be willing to introduce external regulation if necessary. For example, in the UK, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in 2015 investigated the role of large accountancy firms in relation to tax avoidance and argued that "Government needs to take a more active role in regulating the tax industry, as it evidently cannot be trusted to regulate itself".



About The Author

Advocates for family preservation against unwarranted intervention by government funded non profit agencies and is a growing union for families and other advocates speaking out against the children's aid society's... More