Watch: Ekaterina Evtropva, the mother of Eva Ravikovich, and lawyer Patrick Brown appear on The Morning Show.
TORONTO – The parents of a two-year-old girl who died at an unlicensed Vaughan, Ont. home daycare are suing the province and daycare operator for $3.5 million in punitive damages due to negligence.
“It’s devastating,” said Ekaterina Evtropva, the mother of Eva Ravikovich, during a press conference at the law offices of McLeish Orlando LLP Thursday morning. “Never in the world I would think that this would happen to my family.”
Eva was found dead at the daycare on July 8. The cause of death is still being investigated by the coroner’s office.
The family’s lawyer, Patrick Brown, said preliminary information obtained from the investigation suggests the child’s death was “100 per cent preventable.”
“You know Groundhog Day, where you wake up every morning and then you wake up to the same thing again, like, you don’t have her…I would not wish that to worst enemy of mine to go through what I’m going through right now,” Eva’s mother said.
A statement of claim filed on Wednesday alleges the daycare owners were negligent by failing to provide adequate care, supervision and the staff was not properly trained.
The lawsuit further alleges the Ontario Ministry of Education was negligent by failing to properly inspect, investigate and regulate the daycare.
A notice of an impending statement of claim was issued against the ministry, as 60 days’ notice must be given before suing the government.
Unlicensed daycare providers can legally care for no more than five children under the age of 10, in addition to their own children.
The civil suit states there were 27 children in the Vaughan home daycare at the time of Eva’s death.
“To me she was everything, she was a happy kid, smiling,” said Eva’s mother. “It’s like now I have a feeling I have nothing to live for. Something has been taken from me.”
In the past, the daycare was temporarily shut down for several health and safety infractions.
Education officials have admitted that they failed to follow up on two of three complaints lodged against the daycare.
Ontario’s ombudsman said last month he’ll investigate whether the government is doing enough to protect children in unlicensed daycares.
Meanwhile, a fundraising campaign has been set up for the family.
-With files from The Canadian Press