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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:36 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:35 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Vancouver
I came across this article in a local paper my husband brought home.
No official verdict on the outcome yet...will keep my eyes open though!

Allergy suit alleges nut discrimination
Mother takes beef against day-care centre to B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Joanna Habdank

A North Vancouver mother has filed a discrimination lawsuit against a local child-care centre for refusing to accept her six-year-old son because of his peanut allergy, but the owner of the day care claims his allergy has nothing to do with her decision.

Linda Williams said she filed the suit with B.C. Human Rights Tribunal this week, against the Top Drawer Daycare located in Brooksbank elementary in the City of North Vancouver.

She alleges that the centre is uncomfortable with her son's allergy and does not want to upset other parents by asking them to monitor food products they give their children by ensuring the absence of peanuts.

"What really bothers me is that there is this day care taking care of children and they are refusing because of his allergies," said Williams. This is the first time she was turned down, having registered her son in day cares and programs at the YWCA, North Shore Neighbourhood House and the North Vancouver Recreation Commission, she said.

"People are getting used to this, it's not a surprise (that kids have peanut allergies)."

But Jennifer Joyce, the owner of Top Drawer argued that there are three children with severe nut allergies attending the centre. "Top Drawer does not discriminate. We do have children with peanut and walnut allergies registered with us. Two of the children have Epipens (medication used to treat anaphylactic shock)," said Joyce.

While she refused to comment any further on the circumstances, Joyce said that there were other reasons why the family is not welcome at her day-care centre.

Williams said she initially visited Top Drawer on Aug. 7 to register her son Jason. When she mentioned his allergy, the day-to-day manager got "very nervous, very uncomfortable." She was told she had to wait until Joyce returned in two weeks for the final decision.

On Aug. 23, Williams said was informed that Jason would not be accepted because the centre was full and she was seen as being too aggressive.

She said she will find out in approximately three weeks if the lawsuit will go to a hearing. "I'm fairly sure that it will be accepted," said Williams, although she is not aware of other similar cases.

According to the North Shore's senior child-care licensing officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, child-care centres are private enterprises and have the right to refuse to register children. "As far as we are concerned, it's between the independent business and the contract that they go into," said Glenda Burrows. She stressed her job is to ensure that things like allergies are posted, and that the licensee has resources available to them to care for the children in the facility.

But Williams said she hopes that her lawsuit will be a step toward ensuring that day-care facilities will have to follow the same procedures that the school board has in place.

Numerous kids go undiagnosed until they have an incident. So what procedures do we, as a province, have in place to protect our children, asked Williams.

published on 09/03/2006

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