Alberta Justice Minister Verlyn Olsen has ordered a fatality inquiry into the death of a mental health worker on the job in Camrose. According to a report from The Canadian Press, Valerie Wolski, 41,was killed in February while providing care to a man with limited mental capacity.
The man she was caring for, Terrence Wade Saddleback, 25, was charged with manslaughter but found mentally unfit to stand trial. A July 2009 risk assessment done on Saddleback after he attacked a female staff member in Wetaskiwin, Alta warned of the consequences to anyone caring for him. (WCxKit)
Saddleback is currently at Alberta Hospital and is subjected to regular mental health assessments. His case is now in the hands of the Alberta Review Board. The fatality inquiry will not be scheduled until the end of an Occupational Health and Safety investigation. The inquiry is not to lay blame but to examine all circumstances that will prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.
Graham Jones, Saddlebacks legal guardian, said he warned the Canadian Mental Health Association that they needed to be careful with him, but he says his concerns were dismissed. Edmonton NDP MLA Rachel Notley has said that given Saddleback's history of violence, his care should not have been put in the hands of the Canadian Mental Health Association. She says numerous evaluations show he was never ready to live independently at home. (WCxKit)
Notley said Saddleback's past violent incidents prevented care at another community agency. She urges the government to put those who pose a threat to themselves or to others into properly staffed public care. It took five RCMP officers and a male staff member to subdue Saddleback using handcuffs and pepper spray.
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