Change in Honour of Seth Maclean

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We are the family of Seth Maclean. Seth was found dead in a Toronto homeless shelter on July 12 following a fentanyl overdose. He was just 31 years of age. Seth had suffered severe mental health issues including paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar.  

Toronto police and the Ontario coroner’s office had the vital duty of locating us, Seth’s family and next of kin, to notify us of his death. This task should not have been difficult, even the most basic of inquiries would have led to us. But we weren’t notified. Instead, Seth was buried naked in an unmarked plot, 40km away in Pickering.

We spent months searching for Seth. We walked the streets, we contacted hospitals and jails. We learnt of Seth’s death on September 10 - what would have been his 32nd birthday - almost two months after he died.

The search for us should have been simple. The coroner’s office already has protocols in place which list the trustee’s office as one of the first places to look when trying to locate next of kin. Had anyone bothered to do that, they would have found us straight away.

Seth was a loving, caring, handsome and gentle soul and never wished harm to anyone. Because Toronto police and the coroner’s office didn’t do their job, my family never had the chance to see him one last time, to say a final goodbye, kiss him on his forehead or hold his gentle hand.

We’re starting this petition to ensure that no other family has to experience the same ordeal. Join us in demanding:

i) An external and public review of how the coroner’s office handled Seth’s death, to determine exactly where negligence occurred and hold those responsible accountable, then

ii) Updated protocols and training to ensure this never happens again. 

This is just one aspect of how the system failed Seth. We believe the shelter where Seth died, Dixon Hall, also needs to re-evaluate its approach so that they are focused on the safety of people in their care. Seth, suffering serious mental illness, should not have been able to go upstairs unsupervised and overdose without anyone realizing.

Please share this to your friends and family, in honour of Seth, the families of loved ones who have lost their battle to mental illness, and those still suffering.

Sincerely,

Maclean Family

Read more on Seth’s story: