Alberta Open Records Issue: Adoptive Parents Filing Vetoes

Despite records being opened in Alberta, there are still issues outstanding that may prevent persons from obtaining accurate birth records. Alberta has opened records for adopted persons and natural parents, providing each with the identifying information of their lost family members. However, access is conditional, and Alberta legislation contains a clause that enables adoptive parents to continue to keep the fact of an adoptee’s heritage from them.

Vetoes can be placed:

  • by the natural parent on the adult adoptee’s file denying access by the adult adoptee.
  • by the adult adoptee denying access by the natural parent,
  • and also by adoptive parents when they have neglected to inform the adult adoptee that they are adopted and want to continue to cover it up!

From Amendment 1: April 29/2003:
“(9) … if the Minister is satisfied, based on information provided to the Minister by the adoptive parents, that
(a) the adopted person who is 18 years of age or older is not aware of the adoption, and
(b) the release of the personal information would be extremely detrimental to the adopted person,
the Minister may deem that a veto has been registered under subsection (4) by that adopted person, …”


ANY adoptive parent could theoretically write to the Minister and claim that an adoptee is unaware of being adopted and that release of identifying information would be detrimental, without having to provide ANY proof! This treats all adult adoptees as children.

  • Why are OTHERS being given the right to block the information another adult has a right to as a basic human right?
  • Why are adoptive parents being permitted to permanently withhold from an adoptee the fact that they are adopted?
  • The Minister mentioned incidents of rape and incest. Adults are old enough to handle such information and many successful reunions take place even in these circumstances.
  • Considering that “non-identifying information” in adoption agency files has on occasion been found to have been fabricated by social workers, how will adopters prove that the information is true?
  • In Queensland, a group of adoptive parents advised other adoptive parents on how to file vetos on behalf of adoptees. What is to prevent this from happening here in Canada?


ANY Alberta citizen who has not be told they are adopted may be an adoptee. Thus, ALL Alberta citizens who do not yet have confirmation that they are adoptees should apply immediately for their potential adoption records, inquiring if a veto has been placed in their name.