Skip to main content

Calgary daycare E. coli outbreak families to receive compassionate care funds

Families affected by a massive E. coli outbreak in Calgary linked to several daycares will receive financial help from the Alberta government.

Premier Danielle Smith announced the compassionate care funding on Friday morning, saying families impacted by the outbreak will receive a one-time compassionate payment of $2,000 per child.

"Families are not alone in this or any other issue," Smith said.

"Our goal is to get the money to parents as quickly as we can and we will be sending information on how to apply for assistance shortly."

"Definitely a step in the right direction. I know for my family, having babysitters or nannies, that $2,000 is definitely helpful," said Danielle Redwood.

Her three-year-old son is one of the people who got E. coli.

Earlier this month, an E. coli outbreak was declared involving multiple Calgary childcare facilities that used a centralized kitchen operating as Fueling Minds Inc.

As of Friday, there have been 337 lab-confirmed cases of the illness, officials said, and 12 patients are in hospital.

Dr. Mark Joffe, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, calls the update "encouraging."

"It's a decrease of eight compared with two days ago," he said.

Ten patients have hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and six are undergoing dialysis, Joffe said.

There are 26 people who've become sick after they've been in contact with an affected person.

"The relatively small number of secondary transmissions highlights the fact that the quick response to this outbreak and communication with families has helped to limit the spread," Joffe said.


On Tuesday, health officials revealed that inspections found a number of critical violations in the kitchen, including improper food handling, inadequate sanitization and pest control problems.

All of the affected daycares have been allowed to reopen, Joffe said, but staff and children who decide to attend must provide a negative stool sample before they can do so.

As for the centralized kitchen, he said that will remain closed "indefinitely."

"I can assure you, there were no gaps or delays in inspections at this facility. Every food handling facility in the province is inspected at least once a year – that is the standard and requirement under legislation.

"In the case of this facility, it was inspected five times in 2023."

Joffe says those inspections took place because of "concerns about the facility," which led inspectors to increase the number of visits.

"The last inspection of the facility happened in late April 2023. Two infractions were found at that time, and they were corrected by the end of the day by the operator," Joffe said.

He says the critical violations found on Sept. 5 were different than the ones previously found there.


Joffe says experts are no closer to determining the source of the E. coli infection, despite collecting 45 samples of food from the affected facility.

"This is an extremely complex investigation," he said.

"Finding the exact source of how this unfolded is like trying to find a needle in a field of haystacks."

Health officials have received 19 results so far and none have tested positive for E. coli.

Joffe says officials are still interviewing patients about what they ate to determine histories and collect evidence.

"We all want answers and through a methodical, co-ordinated and systematic approach, we hope we will be able to provide them as soon as possible," he said.

The premier says the province will continue to work closely with the programs involved in the outbreak and conduct rigorous inspections at shared kitchens that serve other facilities.

"I know parents want answers, and so do I," Smith said.

"We will explore regulations and if changes need to be made, we will make them."

That’s promising news to parents, including Redwood.

“I feel like they’re taking it seriously,” she said.

Her son is doing much better now but Redwood hopes other families never have to go through a similar situation.

"Obviously, this can’t happen again and it needs to change," she said. Top Stories

Stay Connected