Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Government Says Review of How CFS System Handled Tina Fontaine Will Be Released

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Government Says Review of How CFS System Handled Tina Fontaine Will Be Released

Article excerpt

Government will release Tina Fontaine report

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WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government committed late Monday to releasing a report into how child welfare workers dealt with Tina Fontaine before the teenager disappeared, died and was dumped in the Red River.

A law that forbids the provincial children's advocate from publicly releasing special investigation reviews into child deaths will be changed very soon, Families Minister Scott Fielding's office said.

"The minister commits to releasing it and says proclamation (of a new law) is imminent," Fielding's press secretary, Andrea Slobodian, wrote in an email.

Tina Fontaine ran away from a Winnipeg hotel where she was being housed in August 2014. She was 15 years old.

The Indigenous girl's body was found nine days later in the water, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks. The man accused of killing her, Raymond Cormier, was found not guilty last week.

Daphne Penrose, the province's children's advocate, said her office has reviewed files and looked at what services were provided to Tina.

"The investigation is almost complete. We do have a little bit more work to do on it," Penrose said Monday.

But under current Manitoba law, Penrose cannot release her findings publicly. A bill passed in the legislature last year would allow her to do so, but the provincial government has yet to enact it.

Earlier Monday, the Progressive Conservative government would not commit to a time frame for enacting the law.

Cormier's second-degree murder trial heard details of the final weeks of Tina's life, but did not delve into the way social workers handled her case.

Tina was raised in a stable home with her great-aunt, Thelma Favel, on the Sagkeeng First Nation, 120 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. She left to visit her mother in Winnipeg at the end of June 2014 and became an exploited youth. …

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