Toronto police have confirmed they are investigating the death of an infant earlier this month at what is believed to be an unlicensed daycare.
A 4-month-old baby boy was found without vital signs at a home daycare at 20 Broadoaks Dr., in the Keele Street and Finch Avenue West area, on Feb. 14.
The boy was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Toronto Police Const. Victor Kwong said that, as with any death of a child under 5 years old, the investigation is proceeding in consultation with the homicide unit.
A preliminary investigation was launched after police informed Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals of the infant's death on Feb. 18.
"My heart goes out to the family and loved ones of the child at this devastating time," Sandals said in a written statement sent to CTV Toronto.
"My ministry has begun an investigation and will fully co-operate with any other authorities conducting investigations about this incident."
A preliminary review of ministry records indicates no previous complaints have been found regarding the unlicensed setting.
Fourth death in under a year
The death of the 4-month-old boy is believed to be the fourth death at an unlicensed GTA daycare in the last seven months.
"Another child, a baby boy, has died in an unlicensed daycare. We know almost nothing about him, except that he should be alive today," Ontario Children and Youth Services Critic Monique Taylor said at Queen's Park on Thursday.
"One death is too many. Four deaths in less than a year is a crisis for families in the province," she said.
Unlicensed caregivers are not regulated in Ontario, meaning they are not inspected by the government. They are not required to meet provincial standards.
The province introduced legislation in December in an effort to toughen existing rules for unlicensed daycares. The proposed changes encourage an increase in government supervision, and allow the province to immediately close a facility when children's safety is at risk.
Under the current laws, those who run unlicensed daycares may only look after a maximum of five children under 10, in addition to their own. The new legislation suggests a daycare operator's own children under the age of six be counted towards the five-child limit.
In addition, the Ministry of Education could impose fines of up to $100,000 per infraction, but Taylor said the bill will not be enough.
"The minister's bill will do nothing to insure that we have enough inspectors to keep kids safe," the MPP for Hamilton Mountain said.
With files from the Canadian Press