Disclosure Vetoes and No-Contact Declarations
While changes to the Adoption Act in 1996 introduced more openness in adoptions in British Columbia, they also gave individuals involved in adoption the option to protect their privacy by filing a disclosure veto or no-contact declaration free of charge.
A disclosure veto prevents the Vital Statistics Agency from releasing any information on the birth registration or adoption order that identifies the person who filed the veto. The veto remains in effect until the person who filed it lifts it or until two years after his or her death.
Birth parents or adopted persons involved in adoptions completed before 1996 can file disclosure vetoes. Adoptees must be 18 years of age before the birth parents or the adopted person can file a disclosure veto.
A no-contact declaration allows information to be released, but prohibits any contact with the person who has placed the no-contact declaration. If there is a no-contact declaration filed on the adoption records you are searching, Vital Statistics advised you of this and provides you with a Statutory Declaration and Undertaking Pertaining to a No-Contact Declaration.
The form includes a statutory declaration in which you promise that you will not contact the other person as long as the no-contact declaration is in effect. If you break your promise, you face a maximum penalty, on conviction, of six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
You have 90 days from the date that Vital Statistics notifies you of the no-contact declaration to submit the statutory declaration. If you don’t reply within that time, Vital Statistics cancels the application and applies the $50 fee to the cost of searching for the record.
Birth parents or adopted persons involved in adoptions in B.C. can file no-contact declarations regardless of what year the adoption was completed. Adoptees must be 18 years of age before the birth parents or the adopted person can file a no-contact declaration.
How to File a Disclosure Veto or No-Contact Declaration
Whether you are an adopted individual or the birth parent of an adopted individual, follow these steps to file a disclosure veto or a no-contact declaration.
- Print and complete the appropriate form.
- Attach a photocopy of your birth certificate to your form as proof of your identification.
- Mail your application to:
Vital Statistics Agency
PO BOX 9657 Stn Prov Govt
Or, take your application in person to any Service BC counter.
Any person filing a disclosure veto or no-contact declaration can include a written statement. A statement might include social, medical and health information, or might explain why the person does not want to be contacted. If the adoption records you are searching contain a written statement, Vital Statistics provides you with a copy.
Vetoes Filed with the Adoption Reunion Registry
If you have already filed a disclosure veto with the Adoption Reunion Registry, you do not have to file another with the Vital Statistics Agency. A veto filed with the Adoption Reunion Registry has the same legal effect as a disclosure veto filed under the Adoption Act.
Cancellation of Disclosure Vetoes and No-Contact Declarations
Under the Adoption Act, adoptees or birth parents who have filed disclosure vetoes or no-contact declarations can cancel these at any time, free of charge, by submitting the following form to the Vital Statistics Agency:
If a person who files a disclosure veto or no-contact declaration never cancels it, it remains in effect until two years after his or her death.