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Larcade Dismissed Again
November 24, 2006 permalink
Here is another development in the on-again off-again lawsuit that seeks to allow parents of disabled children to keep custody, and force the Ontario government to provide more funding for Children's Aid. We previously mentioned this case in June 2003 and August 2005.
Ont. court overturns lawsuit for disabled children
TORONTO — An Ontario woman forced to temporarily surrender custody of her disabled son so he could receive specialized care vowed Friday to take her case to the Supreme Court after losing in the provincial Court of Appeal.
Anne Larcade had launched a class-action lawsuit against the Ontario government alleging it failed to meet its legal obligations toward severely disabled children.
The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Friday that the class action cannot go forward, prompting Larcade to immediately say she would take the case to Canada's highest court.
"I am devastated,'' Larcade said in a statement.
The Huntsville, Ont., mother gave up her mentally disabled son Alexandre six years ago after being told it was the only way to get the province to pay for his treatment.
The boy was returned to his mother's care after one year, but Larcade said the province's treatment policies still affect thousands of Ontario families.
"This decision is not only bad for myself and Alexandre, but for the thousands of other families with vulnerable, severely disabled children living in Ontario,'' she said.
"According to this decision, the government of Ontario can force good parents to surrender custody of their children to the province and you can't do anything about it.''
Alexandre Larcade was forced into the care of Children's Aid in 1999, two years after the former Conservative government cancelled the a program that would have covered his treatment costs.
Without the program, known as Special Needs Agreements, disabled children in Ontario could only get help if they were classified as "in need of protection'' -- a designation which meant the children were taken from their parents and placed under the control of child welfare authorities.
The Liberal government was still reviewing the Court of Appeal's decision Friday afternoon, but NDP critic Peter Kormos said the province should stop using taxpayers' money to fight the class-action suit.
"We have a huge community of children and their families that have a common concern, that have suffered a common hurt, and the government should be conceding, quite frankly, that their cases be heard as a class action,'' he said.
"Government's responsibility is to help the weakest in society and to live up to the responsibilities that it has.''
The lawsuit, which was certified last year, alleged that as a result of the government's negligence, families were forced to personally fund services for their severely disabled children, and in some cases, relinquish custody to the government in order to obtain life-saving procedures.