Two attendees comfort eachother at a candlelight vigil in Eli’s honour in Kelowna on July 7, 2019. (David Venn - Capital News)

Family of murdered Okanagan teen fought for funeral funding

Ministry wouldn’t pay for stab victim’s funeral until family went public, father says

The funeral held for Elijah-lain Beauregard, a 16-year-old living in Kelowna who was fatally stabbed in late June, was paid for by the Ministry of Children and Family Development; but not before a riff occurred with Eli’s family, according to his father.

“It took us as far as calling the BC Human Rights Tribunal,” Robyn Beauregard, Eli’s father, said.

When Eli died, his mother and father began the process to apply for the Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) through the Ministry of Children and Family Development, requesting funding for the teen’s funeral costs.

However, due to Eli being homeless at the time of his murder, the province was not obliged to fund his funeral costs.

“Eli didn’t qualify because he didn’t have an address and he wasn’t in his mother’s care or mine,” Beauregard said.

READ MORE: The life of Eli’s father: How a youth stab-victim ended up on the streets

The ministry, although they can‘t comment on individual circumstances, said, “The death of a child is an unthinkable tragedy and we extend our deepest condolences to the family,” but that they have specific guidelines around decision making for a child who is involved with them.

“For youth who had been in government care at the time of death, the ministry will cover payment of service for the deceased,” Shawn Larabee, government communications and public engagement officer, wrote in an email correspondence. “For youth who were not in care but had been receiving services from the ministry, the payment rests with the parents (legal guardians).”

READ MORE: Private viewing for Elijah-lain Beauregard to be held in Penticton

Larabee pointed out that family members of a victim can apply for a maximum grant of $5,000 through CVAP, which “helps victims, immediate family members of victims, and witnesses affected by violent crime” and “offset(s) financial loss and assist(s) in recovery from injuries,” according to the province.

Beauregard and Eli’s mother were so distraught with the process during their time of grief, Beauregard said one of the funeral home employees began dealing with the ministry on their behalf to try and access funding.

Instead, Eli’s family began a GoFundMe account that registered $700 before they shut it down within the same day when the ministry changed their position.

READ MORE: Eli to be remembered by bridging the gap between Kelowna’s communities

“Within six hours (of us going public) the ministry over ruled their own decision to help us,” Beauregard said.

“There is discretion for the ministry to assist on a case-by-case basis in recognition of a parent’s financial hardship,” Larabee said.

Beauregard said his child “fell through the cracks” of the system.

Eli was stabbed on June 27, at approximately 11:24 p.m., near Bernard Avenue and Water Street. Reports of his death surfaced on July 2.

Anyone with any additional information is urged to contact the SCU at 250-762-3300.



David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at david.venn@kelownacapnews.com
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