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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 11:24 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
Yvonne Rousseau, the co-ordinator of the BC/Yukon chapter of AAIA, sent me this link this morning, Yvonne lives in Kelowna and has been instrumental in securing the support of many of the groups that are supporting Bill M210:
School board pushes for anaphlyactic bill adoption
By Adrian NieoczymStaff reporter
May 25 2007

The Central Okanagan school board will send a letter to all provincial MLAs, urging them to support Bill M210, legislation which would require school districts across British Columbia to establish a policy for dealing with students who suffer a life-threatening allergic reaction.

However, because the Anaphylactic Student Protection Act is a private member’s bill, introduced by Saanich South MLA David Cubberley, the NDP’s education critic, its chances of becoming law face long odds.

The board voted to send the letter at Wednesday’s board meeting. It is supporting the legislation even though the district already has a policy similar to what the bill would require.

Under the proposed law, each school board would have to establish an anaphylactic policy and public schools would have to implement strategies to reduce exposure to allergy triggers.

School administrators and staff would also be required to know how to use an epinephrine auto-injector and recognize anaphylaxis symptoms.

Anaphylaxis is the most severe kind of allergic reaction. It can be caused by food allergies, insect stings, medication, latex and even exercise.

It can be life-threatening but the chances of survival are greatly enhanced if epinephrine is immediately injected.

School board chairwoman Moyra Baxter said a law would ensure that “we would have some consistent rules across districts. So if a student leaves here and goes somewhere else, they can have the same expectations” about how school staff would deal with an allergic reaction.

Baxter said if a student is used to having trained staff around but have an incident where staff are not trained, the results could be tragic.

Cubberley introduced the bill in late March. Kelowna-Mission MLA Sindy Hawkins said she was not sure if the bill would be brought forward for second reading in the legislature but because it is an Opposition bill, it was unlikely.

It is up to the government house leader to determine what bills come forward and “there’s still a lot of government bills to be dealt with,” she said.

Hawkins added that because the issue has now been raised, she expects the minister of education will be addressing it.

She says there is a need to make anaphylaxis policies consistent across all districts but “I’m not sure if legislation is the best way to handle that.”

Deb Butler, president of the Central Okanagan Parent Advisory Council, is happy to hear the board is sending a letter supporting the bill to all MLAs.

“Allergies and anaphylaxis reactions are getting more common,” she said.

“It’s especially important in rural schools that aren’t close to hospitals.”

COPAC has already sent letters calling on MLAs to pass the bill, as has the British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.

© Copyright 2007 Kelowna Capital News

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