Lise Vaugeois MPP, Thunder Bay–Superior North

Government of Ontario

NDP: Ford government continues to fail First Nations children in Ontario

Published on April 18, 2023

QUEEN’S PARK - Today during Question Period, the Leader of the Official Opposition Marit Stiles and Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), Critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations pressed Premier Ford on his lack of action in response to a recent report released by the Ombudsman's office. The report, released on Thursday, shows how three child welfare agencies in the province systemically failed to ensure the safety of Misty, a First Nations girl who repeatedly went missing while under their care.

"Last week, the Ombudsman released a report on the failure of three care agencies to ensure the safety of a First Nations girl who repeatedly went missing when she was supposed to be receiving supervised services," said Mamakwa. "It is unimaginable that this young woman was harmed while under their care. The provincial 'child protection system' is caught in a perpetual cycle of crisis response rather than addressing the systemic root causes that lead to these crises. For far too long, the child welfare system in Ontario has fallen short of its responsibilities. Enough is enough.”

"Misty went missing seven times while in Johnson Children's Services' care,” said Stiles. “At one point, the staff waited to report Misty missing to the police for more than 4 hours, resulting in her disappearance for 19 days. This was an unbelievably concerning trend. I want everyone to imagine a loved one going missing for 19 days. What's worse, Johnson was being paid to provide her with 1-on-1 support. Johnson Children's Services failed Misty."

Stiles and the NDP urge Premier Ford and his government to take swift and meaningful action on private providers like Johnson Children's Services with documented negligence to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable children in care. "Prioritizing the protection of Indigenous children from exploitation and harm should be a top concern for the government," said Stiles. "We need a concrete plan for Northern communities to provide culturally appropriate services so children like Misty can receive the support and protection they need."