Airdrie mother fights for SIDS parents whose benefits were blocked
An Airdrie mother is on a crusade to change the rules around maternity benefits after she was cut off when her baby suddenly died.
Sarah Cormier’s four-month-old daughter, Quinn, fell asleep in the family’s Airdrie home on December 28, 2014 and never woke up.
The little girl died of SIDS and for her parents the grief never goes away.
“There's always the, the what ifs. Who would she marry? What would she be?” said Cormier.
Cormier was on maternity leave and when her baby died, the benefits were cut off. “Disbelief and shock and hurt and more shock than anything and then thinking has this happened to other parents?”
Every year, about a thousand families in Canada and 25 in Alberta have their benefits cut off when an infant dies.
“I'd like to believe it's not mean spirited,” said Cormier. “It was an oversight, I honestly feel it was an oversight.”
Cormier wants to change that and contacted her MP for help.
A review of EI benefits is underway and this week Banff-Airdrie MP, Blake Richards, introduced a motion in parliament demanding that the committee hear from parents whose babies have died.
“Make it so that families are not suffering extra financial burden or, you can only imagine the emotional toll it must take on a family when they discover something like that on top of everything else they’re dealing with,” said Richards.
Richards thinks his motion will find broad support in parliament. “I’m quite confident we can fix this,” he said.
Cormier is now helping other families who are suffering the loss of a child by organizing a run in Quinn’s name.
“It's a way to honour Quinn and to honour the other children that are gone too soon,” she said.
Funds raised from the annual event are used to provide bursaries to parents who have also found themselves without benefits after their babies suddenly died.
(With files from Kevin Green)