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School and Allergies, Asthma

Sabrina’s Law’s Future is Safe

 Photo of Sabrina Shannon

The Ministry of Education for the province of Ontario has informed Anaphylaxis Canada that Sabrina’s Law, the groundbreaking anaphylaxis legislation, is safe and will not be repealed as part of a broad review of the management of medical conditions in schools.

In May 2014, both Anaphylaxis Canada and an Allergic Living article expressed concern about the future of the law, which mandates several safety protocols for food-allergic students. The concern was sparked by an announcement a month earlier by the Minister of Education that a private association (called OPHEA) was to conduct a “needs assessment” of how four major medical conditions – food allergies/anaphylaxis, asthma, diabetes and epilepsy – are managed in the province’s schools.

The announcement made no mention of Sabrina’s Law, and Anaphylaxis Canada’s attempts to get clarification about its future were not definitively answered at the time. Following publicity of that uncertainty, many parents wrote to their provincial representatives to urge that they help to uphold Sabrina’s Law, which was passed in 2005, following a long campaign for better protection of food-allergic children in public schools.

Then Anaphylaxis Canada, the Ontario Lung Association, the Asthma Society of Canada, Epilepsy Ontario and the Canadian Diabetes Association organized a July 17 meeting with officials in the Ministry of Education. During this meeting, “Anaphylaxis Canada was very pleased with the Minister of Education’s staff clarifying the government’s position on the status of Sabrina’s Law: the law is safe,” said Laurie Harada, executive director of Anaphylaxis Canada. “This came as a huge relief to us,” she said.

“This is a call for celebration,” Sara Shannon told Allergic Living. “Thanks to all that have reached out for the protection of Sabrina’s Law, named after my beautiful daughter Sabrina.” (Sabrina, who had food allergies and asthma, died of anaphylaxis following an accidental exposure to dairy in a school cafeteria meal.)

“Sabrina’s Law saves lives and will continue to save lives as it will remain intact,” said Shannon. Recommendations from the OPHEA review are scheduled to be submitted to the Ontario ministry in January, 2015.

Read Anaphylaxis Canada’s announcement here.
Posted Aug. 2, 2014

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