MPP France Gélinas on Coroner’s Investigations of Child Deaths in Remote First Nations Communities

“New Democrats support Nishnawbe Aski Grand Chief Fiddler’s call to have the Coroner’s Office investigate and, importantly, attend every scene when there is the death of a child in a First Nation community – regardless of where that First Nations community is.

The fact of the matter is that this isn’t even a new issue, but an ongoing problem. The 2008 Inquiry into pediatric forensic pathology investigations by Justice Goudge called the province’s commitment to investigate children’s deaths in First Nations communities “very unacceptable” than – and that was seven years ago! 

If there are barriers in place, or a lack of resources for Coroners to attend when there is a tragedy in a remote First Nations community, then the Minister who has responsibility for the Coroner’s Office needs to act immediately to change this situation. We need to know how a healthy child can die from preventable illness in 2015, and the way we do that in Ontario is by having a Coroner attend and investigate. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the law.”