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Reference Works

The process of adopting a child domiciled outside Québec, commonly called "international adoption", is governed by law. Therefore, adoption of a child domiciled in another country or another Canadian province or territory must be in compliance with the instruments and laws established at the following 3 levels:

International

Convention on the Rights of the Child

This agreement was adopted by the United Nations (UN) on November 20, 1989. It aims to recognize and protect the specific rights of children.

For more information, consult the Convention on the Rights of the ChildLien externe, une nouvelle page s'ouvrira..

Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, concluded on May 29, 1993

Also referred to as the Hague Convention of May 29, 1993, this agreement protects children and their families from the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared foreign adoptions by establishing a legal framework for adoption. It thus reinforces the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 21).

The Hague Convention of May 29, 1993 aims to guarantee that international adoptions are in the best interests of the child. It ensures that the child's fundamental rights are respected and prevents the abduction of, sale of, or traffic in children.

The Convention is applied through the intermediary of a network of national central authorities that establish relations between countries.

The Convention came into force in Québec on February 1, 2006.

For more information, consult the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry AdoptionLien externe, une nouvelle page s'ouvrira..

Provincial

Adoption is under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. In Québec, it is governed by six legal texts.

  1. Act to implement the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (chapter M-35.1.3)

    This Act states that the Hague Convention of May 29, 1993 has force of law in Québec.

    It designates the Minister of Health and Social Services as the Central Authority for the application of the Convention. The Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale carries out the mandate of Central Authority on behalf of the Minister of Health and Social Services.

    The Act also aims to integrate the Convention into Québec law and to specify the terms and conditions for its application by proposing amendments to the Civil Code of Québec, the Code of Civil Procedure of Québec and the Youth Protection Act.

    For more information, consult the Act to implement the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry AdoptionLien externe, une nouvelle page s'ouvrira..

  2. Civil Code of Québec

    The Civil Code of Québec sets out the conditions for a person domiciled in Québec to adopt a child domiciled outside Québec:

    1. be of full age (art. 546);
    2. be 18 years older than the child to be adopted (art. 547).

    In addition, the Civil Code of Québec states that:

    • adoption arrangements must be made by a certified body (art. 564);
    • the prospective adopter must undergo a psychosocial assessment (art. 563);
    • any adoption that takes effect in Québec dissolves the pre-existing bond of filiation and creates a new bond of filiation that replaces the former (art. 577), and that consent to adoption must be given for the purposes of such an adoption (art. 574 to 581). These adoptions are full, meaning that the child ceases to belong to his or her original family (art. 577 to 581);
    • the adoption of a child domiciled outside Québec must be granted abroad or granted by judicial decision in Québec. A judgment granted in Québec is preceded by an order of placement. A decision granted abroad must be recognized by the Québec courts, unless the competent authority of the country of origin attests that it is in compliance with the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (art. 565 to 576);
    • judicial and administrative files concerning the adoption of a child are confidential and no information contained in them may be revealed, except as required by law (art. 582 and 584);
    • an adopted person is entitled to obtain information on his or her antecedents, or to take steps to find his or her biological family (art. 583).

    For more information, consult the Civil Code of Québec Lien externe, une nouvelle page s'ouvrira..

  3. Code of Civil Procedure (C-25.01)

    Under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, it is the Youth Division of the Court of Québec that has jurisdiction to decide adoption matters.

    The procedure followed is in the Code of Civil ProcedureLien externe, une nouvelle page s'ouvrira..

  4. Youth Protection Act (P-34.1)

    Under the provisions of the Youth Protection Act, the Minister of Health and Social Services intervenes in all adoptions of children domiciled outside Québec. The Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale acts on behalf of the Minister.

    When a child is proposed to a potential adopter, the adoption cannot proceed unless the Minister issues a written attestation to the effect that the Minister has no grounds for objection (section 71.8).

    The Act provides for sanctions where an offence is committed against the law in the course of an adoption (sections 135 to 135.2).

    Family and medical antecedents and reunions

    The Minister of Health and Social Services is responsible for retaining adoption files and for granting requests for research into family and medical antecedents and requests for reunions (section 71.4).

    An adopted child, an adoptive parent or a biological parent may submit a request for a summary of antecedents or for a reunion under the conditions provided for by the Civil Code of Québec (art. 583 and 584) and the Youth Protection Act (sections 71.13 to 71.15).

    Psychosocial assessment of the adopter

    The psychosocial assessment is done by the Director of Youth Protection or a person designated by the Director, in accordance with the Act.

    Where the child is domiciled in a country that is not a party to the Hague Convention of May 29, 1993, and provided the country issues an adoption decision, the psychosocial assessment may also be performed in private practice by a member of the Ordre des psychologues du Québec or the Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec (sections 71.16 to 72.4).

    For more information, consult the Youth Protection Act Lien externe, une nouvelle page s'ouvrira..

  5. Regulation respecting the certification of intercountry adoption bodies (P-34.1, r. 3)

    This document states the conditions for the certification of international adoption bodies.

    For more information, consult the Regulation respecting the certification of intercountry adoption bodies Lien externe, une nouvelle page s'ouvrira..

  6. Regulation respecting the adoption without a certified body of a child domiciled outside Québec by a person domiciled in Québec (P-34.1, r. 2)

    This document provides for the conditions under which an adoption plan may receive advance authorization in the case of an adoption without a certified body. It details the terms and conditions in such a situation.

    For more information, consult the Regulation respecting the adoption without a certified body of a child domiciled outside Québec by a person domiciled in Québec Lien externe, une nouvelle page s'ouvrira..

Country of origin

It is the child's country of origin that establishes the rules governing consents and the adoptability of the child, meaning whether or not the child may be adopted. Certain foreign legal systems prohibit adoption.

If the competent authorities of the country of origin have established criteria for adopters, those requirements are in addition to the provisions of the Civil Code of Québec.