February 12, 2019 8:20 pm
Updated: February 12, 2019 8:47 pm

Calgary father petitions against parole of woman responsible for his daughter’s death

WATCH: A Calgary father has started a petition to try and get the dayhome operator responsible for his little girl's death back behind bars. Nancy Hixt reports.


A Calgary father has started a petition to get the dayhome operator responsible for his daughter’s death back behind bars.

Ryan McGrath said he was shocked when Global News told him Elmarie Simons had been granted day parole, and said he wasn’t even notified she had applied.

That spurred McGrath to push for change.

READ MORE: Calgary dayhome operator sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in death of toddler

“The petition is really around keeping child killers and other serious offenders behind bars for longer,” McGrath said.

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In a matter of days, the petition has garnered more than 1,000 signatures and is gaining momentum by the hour.

“In a best case scenario, I’d literally like to see this revoked, overturned perhaps, put on pause so we can attend,” McGrath said. “I feel we should have and others should have had the opportunity to attend and speak.”

Ceira McGrath was 18 months old when she died at an unlicensed dayhome run by Simons.

In May 2018, Simons pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death. Simons admitted she put Ceira in a car seat on Nov. 12, 2015 and left her in a closet for more than five hours while she went to Walmart and McDonald’s. Ceira died from asphyxiation caused by the car seat strap.

READ MORE: ‘Life is pretty much miserable now’: parents whose toddler died in care of Calgary dayhome operator

Simons was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, and was granted day parole eight months into that prison term.

The Parole Board of Canada said Simons was assessed as a low risk to reoffend, and officials are recommending full parole in six months.

“I want change,” McGrath said. “Nothing’s going to bring Ceira back… but going forward, I’d like to see change to both the justice system and the way victims are treated.”

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