Becoming a Parent

Adoption outside Québec: Access to Family and Medical Antecedents, Identity Disclosure and Reunions

Anyone adopted in Québec while domiciled elsewhere in Canada or in another country can take steps to learn where he or she comes from as well as the identity of and information about his or her biological parents, making contact with them possible. The same holds true for anyone adopted elsewhere in Canada, or in another country, while domiciled in Québec.

Conversely, biological parents also have the right to learn more about a child they gave up for adoption.
Steps toward a possible reunion can also be undertaken by either of the above two parties (the adopted person or the biological parents).
 
Family and Medical Antecedents
An adopted person’s family and medical antecedents can provide information about his or her biological and family history, origins and any possible medical problems in the family.
 
Some of this information is confidential and cannot be disclosed. It is, however, possible to ask for a summary of family and medical antecedents, which contains only the information that, by law, may be divulged (provided said information is in the adoption file). The summary may include:
  • the child’s usual given name before the adoption
  • the date, time and place of birth
  • medical information concerning the child and his or her biological parents
  • a profile of the biological parents (e.g.: their age, civil status, language, religion, ethnic origin, education, occupation)
  • the circumstances surrounding the adoption
  • the placement date, the year of legal adoption and a follow-up of the child’s integration into the adoptive family
The summary of family and medical antecedents does not provide the adoptee with the identity of his or her biological parents.
 
Identity Disclosure and Making Contact (or reunions)
The identity of anyone adopted before June 16, 2018 is protected by operation of law, which means that the biological parents of the adoptee cannot obtain any information about him or her unless the latter has consented to the disclosure of such information. The adoptee will nonetheless be informed of the first request for information about him or her and can then decide to consent to the disclosure of his or her identity.
 
Adoptees may access the following information:
  • Until June 16, 2019, an adoptee has access to:
      • his or her original given name and surname, if this information is available and if it does not reveal the identity of the biological parents
      • the given name and surname of his or her biological mother or father, if either of them gave their consent to reveal the names
      • information allowing him or her to contact the biological parents, if the information is available and if the parents of origin have consented that it be divulged
  • As of June 16, 2019, an adoptee will have access to:
      • his or her original given name and surname, if this information is available and if it does not reveal the identity of a biological parent who has already registered an identity disclosure veto
      • the given name and surname of his or her biological mother or father, except if they have registered an identity disclosure veto
      • information allowing him or her to contact the biological parents, if the information is available and if there is no identity disclosure veto preventing access to said information
 
In the case of a person who was adopted while domiciled outside Québec, the disclosure of any information regarding the identity of one of the parties or allowing for contact between the parties depends on the consent of the person sought, unless the law of the country of origin provides for other rules.
 
Note that a person who is sought but cannot be found is considered to have refused contact by operation of law. In this case, only the person’s identity will be disclosed to the party looking for him or her.
 
Identity Disclosure Veto and Contact Veto
A biological parent can register an identity disclosure veto or a contact veto to keep his or her identity and personal information confidential. Either veto can be withdrawn at anytime, should the parent have a change of heart. Otherwise, the veto expires 1 year after the biological parent’s death.
 
Effective June 16, 2019, if an adult adoptee (who has reached the age of majority) or a biological parent should die without having registered an identity disclosure veto or contact veto, his or her identity will promptly be revealed to the party looking for him or her.
 

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