The rally will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the provincial government building at 159 Cedar St. It was organized by the Ontario Coalition for Accountability, a group fighting for the Ontario Ombudsman to oversee several types of provincial organizations, including children's aid societies.
The baby was born prematurely, weighing just one pound, according to Neil Haskett, a volunteer with the Ontario Coalition for Accountability (OCA).
His parents are from Wikwemikong, and have four other young children. They recently moved to Greater Sudbury and are staying in a hotel while they find more permanent housing, according to Haskett.
Because of their situation, they were approached by the Children's Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin (CAS) to place the baby in foster care when he was ready to be released from hospital, the OCA said (CAS could neither confirm nor deny this claim as it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the child's death). The family reluctantly agreed.
The baby was released from hospital into the care of foster parents on July 2, Haskett said. However, on July 4, the baby was brought to Health Sciences North, where he was pronounced dead.
His death is now under investigation by Greater Sudbury Police and the coroner's office.
Haskett said his group is holding the rally partly in support of the baby's family members, but he also wants the facts surrounding this case to be revealed.
“Even if the child died of natural causes, the death of a child is of concern to us,” he said. “We feel sorry for the family, and my condolences to them.
“Our group wants to make sure that if this wasn't an accident, or if something could have been done differently, that there will be policy in the future to ensure it never happens again.
“Likewise, we want to make sure that if the foster family didn't do anything wrong, that it's known they didn't do anything wrong.”
Dr. Craig Muir, the regional supervising coroner for the north region in Sudbury, said he couldn't release very many details about the death, as it's still under investigation. He said he expects he'll release his findings in four to six months.
“You never want to be premature with facts and conclusions,” Muir said. “You can imagine the number of facts that need to be explored and validated. That's part of the reason it takes as long as it takes.”
Colette Prevost, executive director of the Children's Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin, also said she couldn't say much about the case, as it's being actively investigated by Greater Sudbury Police and the coroner's office.
“We are just in the midst of gathering information and making sure we have all the details,” she said. “Essentially, in any active investigations, we wouldn't be in the position to provide comment.”
Northern Life also contacted the baby's parents. The baby's father said he doesn't want to discuss his son's death publicly at this time.
He did say the family is currently seeking a lawyer, and they have a lot of questions about the baby's death that still need to be answered.
The father also added that he's unhappy about Muir's statements to other local media outlets that the baby was not dead on arrival at the hospital. The family was told by doctors at the hospital that he was dead on arrival.
When speaking to Northern Life, Muir clarified his comments, saying that when someone is classified as being “dead on arrival,” the hospital didn't make any efforts to resuscitate them.
In the baby's case, the hospital tried to revive him.
“If any person arrives at a hospital and they're not breathing and they don't have a pulse, sometimes with resuscitation you can restore breathing or a pulse,” he said. “Efforts were made in that regard, but they were unsuccessful.”
Posted by Arron Pickard