May 16, 2019 12:21 pm
Updated: May 16, 2019 6:28 pm

Questions raised about foster care of black children after drowning death of 5-year-old Montreal boy

WATCH: The Nigerian community in Montreal is calling out the government for its inaction after the death of a five-year-old boy in foster care. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports.


A public coroner’s inquiry is needed to investigate the drowning death of a young boy in foster care, the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) said Thursday.

The five-year-old apparently fell into a backyard pool in Montreal’s west end Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough on April 22.

READ MORE: Five-year-old boy dies after falling into a West Island pool

Montreal police spokesperson Manuel Couture told Global News the boy was at a friend’s house when he fell into the in-ground pool.

WATCH (November 2018): Montreal parents to sue city, school board over teen drowning death

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His 10-year-old brother dove in to help but also had to be rescued and was taken to hospital with serious injuries. He was in a coma for over a week.

Neighbours performed CPR on the children, but the five-year-old was pronounced dead at the hospital.

READ MORE: Quebec teen drowned during school swim and nobody noticed for 38 minutes

CRARR says that members of the local Nigerian community contacted the organization about the incident, raising “important questions about youth protection and the situation of the family in particular and black families in foster care in general.”

WATCH (July 2018): Montreal raises age limit for unsupervised kids in public pools

Speaking on behalf of the family Nigerian community members were calling for answers.

“You took my child away from me and you brought him back dead, no explanation at all,” Edo People Association Vice President Puis Ehinoma said.

According to Osa Osifo, president of the Edo People Association, the siblings were under the supervision of Batshaw Youth and Family Centres “due to family problems.”

“Since the child’s death, the parents have not been fully informed of the steps of the inquiry into the tragedy,” CRARR notes, adding that Batshaw has offered to cover the expenses of his funeral.

“The family is still under youth protection and before the Youth Court.”

Batshaw said it cannot confirm if a file was opened in this case as the Youth Protection Act “provides very strict rules in terms of confidentiality.”

READ MORE: Pierrefonds swim meet is all about teaching kids safety

“We will not comment on the statements made about our organization by the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations,” representatives of Batshaw told Global News.

“We reiterate that this is a tragic and unfortunate accident that should never happen.”

WATCH (January 2015): Calgary woman saves Montreal couple from drowning

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