Sol Mamakwa MPP, Kiiwetinoong

Government of Ontario

New Democrats call for emergency investigation into deaths of children in care

Published on July 23, 2020

Ford government failed children who died

QUEEN’S PARK – Monique Taylor, NDP critic for Children and Youth Services, and Sol Mamakwa, NDP critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, issued the following statement following an APTN report that revealed the number of children who have died while connected to the province’s child welfare system since the pandemic began on March 11.

“We mourn the lives of each child who died in this province when they most needed our help. No child should die in Ontario for lack of care and support. These children should have been protected, and cared for.

We need answers from the Ford government on how it failed to protect these children.

The treatment of Indigenous children, who make up a disproportionate number of children in care, and in child welfare agencies, is inexcusable. Many years ago, colonialism in Canada set out to kill the Indian in the child. Today systemic racism is killing the child. What is happening here represents the destructive impact of colonialism and systemic racism on generations of Indigenous children.

As Ontarians, we are accountable for every child and youth who is vulnerable, who needs our help and is dependent on our provincial institutions to provide safety and care.

Doug Ford’s recent actions have made life more dangerous for children dependent on government oversight. He removed the provincial child advocate, who provided a voice for Ontario’s children, and loosened oversight of foster homes. Now we can see the disastrous results.

New Democrats call on the Ombudsman to conduct an emergency investigation into each of these deaths, and the child welfare system during the state of emergency. We also call on the government to re-instate the independent advocate for children and youth. Not one more child should die due to provincial neglect.

The Ombudsman must conduct in-person investigations and act immediately, with the full unimpeded cooperation of the ministry, and using the precautionary principle, if they have any doubt that children in care are not protected.

The coroner must expedite inquests for each of these deaths.

During this time of crisis, children in care need more support and resources. Doug Ford must act now to provide it.”