A Voice Unheard: Brandon’s Story (Report of the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman)

  • January 03, 2023
  • Laura Pettigrew

On December 19, 2022, the Ontario Ombudsman released a report entitled “A Voice Unheard: Brandon’s Story” concerning an investigation into the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Toronto’s response to child protection concerns relating to a young boy known by the pseudonym Brandon in the report. The report was the first issued by the Ombudsman relating to child protection. The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth initiated the investigation in October 2018. The Ombudsman continued the work after investigative authority in this area was legislatively transferred to his Office in May 2019. 

The investigation focused on the period between December 30, 2015 and October 26, 2018.  According to the report, on October 22, 2018, a newly assigned CAS worker, school principal, police officers and paramedics found the then 10-year-old Brandon at home in a distressed state laying on a urine-soiled futon on the living room floor of a filthy and bug-infested apartment littered with feces, urine soaked pull-ups, and cat litter. Brandon was taken by ambulance to hospital for assessment. Doctors who examined Brandon discovered that he was malnourished and almost anemic, with a low red blood cell count and low hemoglobin. He was 15 pounds underweight for his age and height, had an enlarged kidney and tests later revealed he was suffering from a kidney infection.