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August 5, 2011 permalink
Group rallies for Ombudsman to oversee CAS
Currently in the province of Ontario, the Ombudsman doesn't have the power to investigate complaints into several organizations, including hospitals, long-term care facilities and Children's Aid Societies (CAS).
About 10 people held a rally Aug. 5 outside the CAS building on Lasalle Boulevard to raise awareness of the issue, in hopes of changing the situation.
Neil Haskett, one of the organizers of the rally, said Ontario is behind other provinces when it comes to accountability.
“Ontario is the only province in Canada that doesn't allow the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate Children's Aids Societies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes and school boards,” he said. “One of our priorities is the Children's Aid Society.”
Haskett said his group has “concerns” on how some of the CAS workers operate.
“We're not trying get rid of the Children's Aid, we're just trying to improve the service that's being provided,” he said. “We want the Ombudsman to investigate the Children's Aid Society.”
Tabitha Haskett, Neil's wife was also at the rally. She said her family has had “personal involvement” with CAS in the past, but are no longer involved.
“We just recognized many of the hardships that we went through and ... it was unnecessary,” she said. “We feel like there's got to be something done.”
She said if the Ombudsman had been in place for her situation, the process could have been different.
“He would have been able to investigate it,” she said. “He would have been able to make recommendations that would help prevent other families going through what we went through.”
Tabitha said rallies are happening around the province to make this an election issue.
Sudbury NDP candidate Paul Loewenberg stopped by the rally to speak to the participants and hear their stories. He said the NDP has worked on this issue in the past, and said they would continue to do so in the future.
“It's certainly part of our job as somebody who wants to represent the public to hear people's stories and try to help out where we can,” he said. “In this case, Andrea Horwath, our leader, has put forward a bill to power the Ombudsman office to be able to carry out investigations like this.”
Source: Sudbury Northern Life