Search for adoption records

How to request information about an adoption you were involved in. It’s free.

Births registered in Ontario

Ontario’s adoption records are open.

If you were adopted in Ontario — or if your child was placed for adoption — you can get information from your birth and adoption records, if the birth or adoption was registered in the province.

If you adopted a child, or are related to someone who was adopted, you can also apply for certain information related to the adoption. 

The process depends on:

  • how you were involved in the adoption
  • what type of information you want
  • the agency that handled the adoption

How do I know if my adoption was registered in Ontario?

What if I was born outside Ontario?

What if a Children’s Aid Society handled the adoption?

Age minimums

If you are a birth parent: the child you placed for adoption must be at least 19 years old before you can start the process.

If you were adopted: you must be at least 18 years old to start the process.

If you were adopted but are under 18: you will need your adoptive parent’s consent to start the process.

What you can get

Adoption records can contain a wide variety of information. Some of the information identifies the birth parents and adopted individual, but some of it does not.

In general, there are 2 main types of information: identifying and non-identifying.

You have always been able to access non-identifying information from adoption records — only the birth registrations and adoption orders were sealed.

Identifying information

Identifying information reveals the identities of those involved in an adoption. It could include the:

  • adopted person's birth name and adoptive name
  • names of the birth parents
  • names of the adoptive parents
  • hospital where the baby was born

This is called post-adoption birth information.

Where you find it:

  • on a birth registration (the official record of a child’s birth)
  • in an adoption order (the papers filed with a court when an adoption is finalized)

Who can request:

  • adopted persons
  • birth parents

More about birth registration

More about adoption orders

Non-identifying information

Non-identifying information does not reveal the identities of those involved in an adoption. It could include the:

  • date of the adoption
  • name of the agency that handled the adoption
  • care the adoptee received prior to being placed with an adoptive family
  • the birth family’s social or medical history

Where you find it:

  • in documents, a case or social worker filed, when a child was placed for adoption
  • on an adoption order
  • in other court papers filed when the adoption was finalized

Who can request:

  • families who adopt
  • birth parents and relatives
  • adopted persons

Full list: who can request adoption information

Medical information

A severe medical search helps you locate and contact a birth family member to share medical information that can help diagnose or treat a severe mental or physical illness.

You will need a doctor or other regulated health professional to verify that getting this information would significantly boost the likelihood the condition could be diagnosed and/or treated.

An illness must be life-threatening or will lead to permanent or irreversible damage, impacting daily life.

Who can request:

  • an adopted individual
  • the son, daughter or grandchild of an adopted person (a descendant)
  • a birth family member
  • an adoptive parent on behalf of a child who has been adopted
  • a person who is legally authorized to act on behalf of an adopted person
  • certain relatives of an adopted person who is now deceased

When you request:

You can choose how you want to share information.  Either:

  • agree to release your name and contact information
  • only agree to share medical information and not have contacted you apply, you can agree to release your name and contact information

Contact Notices

Disclosure veto
This document prevents your identity from being released. Birth parents and adopted adults can apply for a disclosure veto if the adoption was registered before September 1, 2008.

If you apply for a disclosure veto, you can:

  • state why you do not want to be contacted
  • provide information about your family and medical history

However, this is optional and completely voluntary. 

No contact notice

This notice lets us release your identity, but tells the other party you don’t want to be contacted. If the other party violates the notice by trying to contact you, he or she could be fined up to $50,000.

Notice of contact preference

This notice lets us release your identifying information and tells the other party how you want to be contacted (e.g., by email, telephone or a third party).

Notices of contact preference are not binding. This means that the adopted person or birth parent is not legally required to contact you the way you requested.

How to apply

Step 1: gather any information you have about your adoption or the adopted person.

Step 2: download the relevant application:

Post-adoption information

Application for Post Adoption Birth Information Under Section 48.1 or 48.2 of the Vital Statistics Act (PDF)

Non-identifying information (general)

Application to Request Non-Identifying Information Relating to an Adoption (PDF)

A copy of an adoption order

Application for a Copy of an Adoption Order (PDF)

A severe medical search

Adopted Person’s and Descendant of Adopted Person’s Application to Request a Severe Medical Search (PDF)

No contact notice

Adoption Information Disclosure Application to Register or Withdraw a No Contact Notice (PDF)

Notice of contact preference

Adoption Information Disclosure Application to Register or Withdraw a Notice of Contact Preference (PDF)

Disclosure Veto

Adoption Information Disclosure Application to Register or Withdraw a Disclosure Veto (PDF)

Step 3: read the help guide that goes with the application.

Step 4: complete the application form, print, sign and date it.

Step 5: mail the completed form – and any other required information to:

  • Post-adoption information, contact notices and disclosure vetoes:
    ServiceOntario
    Office of the Registrar General
    PO Box 9000
    Thunder Bay, ON P7B 0A5
     
  • Non-identifying information, adoption orders and medical searches:
    Custodian of Adoption Information
    PO Box 654
    77 Wellesley Street West
    Toronto, ON M7A 1N3

You cannot fax, email or hand-deliver an application.

Fee
No fee is charged to access adoption records.

Processing time
Processing times vary, depending on the type of information you want and the details you provide on the application form. 

Contact us
If you have questions, please call:

Toll-free:  1-800-461-2156
In Toronto: 416-325-8305
TTY: 416-325-3408

Adoption Disclosure Registry

You can exchange information with birth parents, birth grandparents and birth siblings by adding your name to the Adoption Disclosure Register. This could help you get in touch with your birth family.

Who can register

  • adopted individuals (aged 18 and older)
  • birth parents
  • birth relatives (can apply any time before an adoptee is 19 years old, but the reunion process can’t start until after the adoptee is 19)

How long does it take

It depends on if there is a matching registration.  It could take months or even years.  It’s possible that the person you want to contact will not apply.

Add a name

If you applied before April 24, 2006: your name is automatically on the register. You do not need to reapply.

To add your name, you need to:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • download the Adoption Disclosure Register application (PDF)
  • print, complete, sign and date the application
  • send in the application by mail only:

    Custodian of Adoption Information
    PO Box 654
    77 Wellesley Street West
    Toronto, ON M7A 1N3

You cannot fax, email or hand-deliver an application.

When you apply, you agree to release your name and contact information. 

Update or remove a name

To make a change or take your name off the register, you need to send in an application.

Application: update or remove your name (PDF)

Updated: March 3, 2014