The British Columbia Ministry of Education has issued a ministerial order that makes it a requirement for every public school district to have an anaphylaxis policy to protect allergic children. While not technically legislation – such as Sabrina’s Law in Ontario – such an order must be followed.
In September, the ministry announced that policies must be consistent with the new B.C. Anaphylactic Child and Safety Framework, which was drawn up last summer with the input of allergists, health officials, educators, parents, Anaphylaxis Canada and the Allergy/ Asthma Information Association (AAIA).
Specifically, school boards must: develop a process for identifying students at risk of anaphylaxis; ensure school staff, food services staff and volunteers are trained at least once a year on allergy prevention, auto-injector use and emergency procedures; ensure that principals communicate allergy policies to their school communities; and institute practices to report and review any allergic reactions on school grounds.
Tracy Zeisberger, a spokesperson for the group Protect Allergic Children Today, expressed satisfaction with the government’s approach. Despite “really hoping for a law” similar to Sabrina’s Law, she recognizes that legislation could take a long time to pass, whereas with the ministerial order now in place, school boards are required to act quickly. Laurie Harada, executive director of Anaphylaxis Canada, says much of what is in the B.C. framework is consistent with Sabrina’s Law, and in some ways, is more specific. “Sabrina’s Law gives you the minimum standards,” she says. “This gets into a bit more detail.”
The key, now, is implementation ….