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Sabrina’s Law Update

Many of you may already be aware of a statement made last month by the Honourable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, to the Ontario Legislature. The Minister announced the launch of a needs assessment to be conducted by Ophea (the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association), that will review how medical conditions of students – such as anaphylaxis, asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy – are being managed in publicly-funded schools in Ontario. You can read the statement in the Hansard transcripts and also Ophea’s press release about this initiative.

We are pleased to see that the government is looking at health conditions that affect children and how our children can be better supported in our schools. However, we are disappointed that there is no mention of Sabrina’s Law, and we are concerned about what this may mean for its future status.

The Private Members Bill, sponsored by Dave Levac, Bill 3: An act to protect anaphylactic pupils, was passed into Royal Assent in May 2005, after receiving all party support. Sabrina's Law went into effect January 2006 and is considered to be groundbreaking legislation that has served as a model for other jurisdictions internationally. Since this time, no child has died in an Ontario public school because of an allergic reaction. It only makes sense for Sabrina’s Law to serve as a model for protecting children with other health conditions in our schools.

We have heard from many of you, asking what this will mean for Sabrina’s Law, and whether the Law could be weakened if it is rolled into an overarching policy. We have also spoken with Sara Shannon and Mike Shannon – Sabrina’s parents – who have expressed their great concern about the uncertainty of the law, named after their daughter.

We wanted to let you know that we share these same concerns and have been actively reaching out to government officials, and others, to try to get some clarity.

Anaphylaxis Canada is in the process of seeking a commitment from all political parties in the provincial election to maintain Sabrina’s Law. We will share what we learn with you.

In the interim, we encourage you to speak to your local candidate for the Ontario Legislature about the important contribution Sabrina’s Law has made to the province and the need to preserve it. We encourage you to share any feedback you receive with us.

Thank you for your support. It is reassuring to know we can count on the community to rally behind Sabrina's Law as circumstances warrant. We will keep you informed of developments.

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