The Children’s Aid Societies of Ontario formally complained to Ryerson University regarding the documentary film, Powerful As God, and the ongoing research on the documentary website, blakout.ca. The Agency’s “minimum” demand asked Ryerson to insert a disclaimer into the work that read something like, “The opinions expressed in this documentary do not reflect the opinions of Ryerson University.” During an academic meeting, the Deans at Ryerson University voted against accomodating CAS’ demands.
Working protocol guidelines for the film and the documentary website were approved and received oversight by the Research Ethics Board at Ryerson University (2010-2011). This project currently holds a valid Ethics Review Certificate (2012) for its ongoing research work on the blakout.ca website.
The Ontario Children’s Aid Societies were invited to contribute to the research, and participate in the filming of the work. Executive Directors, CAS legal counsel (internal and external), social workers, managers, supervisors and the OACAS were invited to participate. All declined. Furthermore, bureaucrats from affiliate agencies, such as the Executive Directors from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, researchers and directors from the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, and the Child Advocate from the Ontario Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth were also invited. They too declined.
(To read more about attempts to collaborate with bureacrats from affiliated agencies, see the thesis paper, Chapter 6, “Challenges Constructing the Work”.)
The Children’s Aid Society’s intent to complain is documented in an internal email sent to CAS staff by a Director from the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) – the PR arm of the Children’s Aid Societies. The email was provided as a research document to blakout.ca by an affiliate of the Children’s Aid, who received the email from an employee of the agency who was on the original email distribution list.