Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services

Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (Ontario)


Type of service
Services for Children

Services offered
The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (“Advocate's Office”) is an independent voice for Ontario's children and youth who are either “in care” or on the margins of government care. Reporting directly to the Legislature, the Provincial Advocate partners with children and youth to elevate their voices and promote action on their issues.

The children and youth who fall within the mandate of the Advocate's Office include those who are seeking or receiving services from the children's services sector in areas such as child welfare, youth justice, children's mental health, developmental services and children’s treatment services. The jurisdiction of the Office also includes students of the provincial and demonstration schools, youth in court holding cells or being transported to and from court holding cells, First Nations children and youth, and children and youth with special needs.

The Provincial Advocate derives authority from the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007. In response to a request, a complaint, or on its own initiative, the Provincial Advocate acts on behalf of concerns of individuals or groups of children or youth and can undertake reviews, make recommendations, and provide advice to governments, facilities, systems, agencies, or service providers.

Guided by the principles of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the right to be heard, the Provincial Advocate strives to be a model of meaningful child and youth participation in every aspect of its work.

As outlined in its Act, the role of the Advocate’s Office is:

  • To provide an independent voice for children and youth, including First Nations children and youth and children with special needs, by partnering with them to bring issues forward
  • To encourage communication and understanding between children and families and those who provide them with services under the province’s care systems;
  • To educate children, youth and their caregivers regarding the rights of children and youth; and
  • Investigate (individual and systemic) complaints concerning a child or group of children under the care of the CAS or a residential licensee whereby the CAS is the placing agency.

The Office of the Provincial Advocate is not a service provider, rather it provides both individual and systemic advocacy. The Advocate’s Office is responsible to ensure that children/youth in care know and understand their rights and that the laws protecting children from abuse or harsh treatment are enforced. The Provincial Advocate also provides advice and recommendations to entities including governments, ministers, agencies and service providers responsible for services for these children and youth.

Pilot or ongoing service
Ongoing service

Department responsible
Legislative Assembly of Ontario

How to access this service
Telephone 416-325-5669. There is a toll-free number (1-800-263-2841). as well as TTY number (416-325-2648) We accept collect calls. Messages left after hours are picked up the next working day and responded to as soon as possible. Emails can also be sent to

[ Service(s) offered ]
The Advocate’s Office has two office locations – one in Toronto and one in Thunder Bay. Child and Youth Advocates travel provincially as part of the work of the office.
[ Service(s) offered ]

English, American Sign Language and French. Interpreter and translation services can be made available where needed or requested.

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No charge

Governing legislation/legislative authority
Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act 2007. Available at:

Contact person(s)
Irwin Elman
Provincial Advocate
Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
401 Bay Street, Suite 2200 Toronto, Ontario M7A 0A6
416-325-5669 (general inquiry)
416-325-2648 (TTY)
1-800-263-2841 (toll free)
416-325-5681 (fax)
(general email)

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