The Current

Unlicensed daycares need more oversight, lack of standards dangerous

Two-year-old Eva Ravikovich died in an unlicensed daycare in North Toronto, with dozens of children under the supervision of just one adult. Her death led to new scrutiny of the daycare system, and a new call for safe and affordable solutions for parents and children.
Ekaterina Evtropova, mother of a two-year-old girl, Eva Ravikovich, who died at an unlicensed daycare north of Toronto says now she has nothing to live for. (The Canadian Press/HO/McLeish Orlando LLP)
Eva Ravikovich, 2, was found dead at an unlicensed daycare in Vaughan, north of Toronto, on July 8, 2013.
"When I lost her, I lost everything. I lost the meaning of my life. I cannot accept the fact that my daughter died like this." - Ekaterina Evtropova, her daughter died in an unlicensed daycare

The daughter Ekaterina Evtropova lost was Eva Ravikovich, just two years old, after leaving her at a daycare in North Toronto two years ago.

And this week, an Ontario court ruled that the family's lawsuit against the provincial government could go ahead. The daycare where Eva died, was unlicensed. And it turns out it had been the subject of complaints in the past. But it was only after Eva's death that it was shut down.

An investigation found 29 children under the care of just one operator. The maximum number allowed in Ontario is five. They also found 14 dogs on site. And believe it or not the limit on the number of children to caregiver is generally the only restriction unlicensed daycares in Canada face.

The case has drawn attention to what many see as the under-regulation of unlicensed daycare facilities across the country.

Martha Friendly is the executive director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. She was in our Toronto studio.

Heidi Higgins opened her own home daycare in 2001. She's also the co-founder of Coalition of Independent Childcare Providers of Ontario.And she believes there's a place for unlicensed daycares in the childcare mix. Heidi Higgins was in Ottawa.

Liz Sandals is Ontario's Minister of Education. She joined us from Guelph, Ontario. 

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This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli, Pacinthe Mattar and Natalie Walters.