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Ontario ombudsman investigating unlicensed daycare complaints after child’s death

Ontario ombudsman André Marin reviews his notes following a news conference in Toronto, Wednesday July 16, 2008.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin is launching an investigation into unlicensed daycares after a two-year-old child died in a facility in a Toronto suburb last week.

After the child's death, it emerged that the education ministry did not follow up on two previous complaints about the daycare in Vaughan, Ont. The New Democrats asked Mr. Marin to investigate.

In a statement Monday, he said he will send in his Special Ombudsman Response Team to probe how the ministry responds to complaints about unlicensed daycares.

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"In view of the high level of public interest in proceeding with this case, I have directed SORT to complete the fact-finding stage of this investigation within the next 90 days," he said.

Mr. Marin asked anyone with information on the matter to contact his office.

The Ombudsman's role is to investigate problems in the government, explain what happened and propose solutions so they do not happen again.

NDP Children and Youth Services Critic Monique Taylor said she was "pleased" Mr. Marin had decided to take the matter on.

"When leaving a child in another's care, parents should be confident that their child is safe. Oversight of the well-being of our children is paramount, because a child's daycare must not be a dangerous place," she said. "I look forward to the Ombudsman's conclusions and recommendations."

The name, gender and cause of death of the child in Vaughan have not been released.

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