A couple from Sherbrooke, Que., arrested on Monday are facing multiple charges including forcible confinement, assault and failure to provide the necessaries of life to a child — in this case, food — after four children were removed from their care.

The couple, a 34-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman, were arrested Monday morning and are expected to appear in court tomorrow.

Sherbrooke police spokesman René Dubreuil said four children between the ages of four and 14 were taken away from the couple and placed in foster care outside the city.

Dubreuil said the five-year-old was so malnourished that police feared for his life. He said the other children were in better condition.

Sherbrooke police

Sherbrooke, Que., police removed four children between the ages of four and 14 from a couple's care. (Radio-Canada)

The man is also expected to face charges of sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching and sexual contact with a minor.

The 14-year-old did not live in the family home.

Dubreuil said the children were discovered after receiving a tip about possible abuse in the home.

Alain Trudel of Youth Protection Services in the Eastern Townships said the agency wasted no time when the situation was brought to their attention.

"When we receive a call about physical signs of abuse, we know the child is in danger and we have to act immediately," he said.