A History of Adoption Law in Ontario, 1921-2015

By Lori Chambers, Professor of History and Women’s Studies, Lakehead University, published by the University of Toronto Press.

Professor Chambers’ book traces the history of adoption law in Ontario from 1921, when the first Adoption Act was passed, to the present. She details the origins and passage of that legislation and then examines a series of legal changes and accompanying controversies, from debates about the meaning of consent by birth mothers to same-sex adoption. Many of these controversies – adoption of aboriginal children, international adoption, secrecy in adoption records – have emerged in the last few decades, and this is therefore very much a ‘modern’ history of adoption law. In analyzing the development of the law Chambers skilfully weaves together statutes and cases with extra-legal debates over the meaning of parental and childrens’ rights.