Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bill 232 - The Public Schools Amendment Act (Anaphylaxis Policies) Receives Royal Assent

As many of you are aware, Ms. Erin Selby (MLA for Southdale) from the very beginning supported Bill 232.

In fact, it was Ms. Selby who first presented this Private Member's Bill on May 12, 2008 in the Manitoba Legislature. The second reading of Bill 232 occured on June 12, 2008 with the Bill proceeding to the Committee stage on September 18, 2008. We were honored to be present in the gallery of the Manitoba Legislature when Bill 232 was read by Ms. Selby for the third and final time and passed on October 6, 2008. Finally, we are pleased to report Bill 232 received Royal Assent on October 9, 2008.

We are thankful to all MAIN members who spoke so candidly with us about their difficult experiences working within the Manitoba public school system to ensure a safe environment for children with anaphylaxis.

We are thankful to our provincial government for really listening to us. In less than a year after our initial meeting with the government, we have legislation in Manitoba protecting our children with anaphylaxis while they are at public school. We are very lucky and truly grateful as citizens of this great province to have such a responsive provincial government!

We are thankful for Ms. Selby and her staff for supporting our advocacy group. Without Ms. Selby's efforts and sponsorship of Bill 232, these important legislative changes would not have been possible.

Finally, we are most thankful our children will be safer. Public schools are now accountable through legislation for helping us as parents to ensure our children are safe while they are at school!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bill 232

Greetings MAIN Members

I have great news from our Advocacy Committee for families dealing with life threatening allergies.

On Monday October 6, 2008 Bill 232 - The Public Schools Amendment Act (Anaphylaxis Policies) will be presented for a final vote during the Manitoba Legislative Assembly session.

Erin Selby, MLA for Southdale introduced Bill 232 in May of this year. It did not make it through all the steps prior to the end of the Legislative Assembly session in mid June.

Bill 232 was reintroduced in the fall session, has gone through the committee stage so is ready to go through the remaining steps. The majority of the MLAs have expressed support for this Bill throughout the legislative process so it is expected to pass.

MAIN members are welcome to attend the session in the Gallery on Monday Oct 6, 2008 between 3:00 and 5:00pm. If you are interested in attending, please let me know in advance as we need to provide a list of names for security.

If you have any questions call me.

Nancy Boni
Manitoba Anaphylaxis Information Network (MAIN)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bill 232 – The Public Schools Amendment Act (Anaphylaxis Policies) will be introduced in the Legislative Assembly on Monday, May 12th

Just today we received a call from Erin Selby, MLA for Southdale informing us she will be introducing a Private Member's Bill, called Bill 232 – The Public Schools Amendment Act (Anaphylaxis Policies) to the Legislative Assembly on Monday, May 12th just prior to Question Period at 1:30 PM.

After being introduced, Bill 232 will still have to go through an extensive legislative process including first reading, second reading, committee, concurrence and third reading and finally royal assent.

As members of MAIN you are invited to attend in the Gallery which is a seating area for the public at the Manitoba Legislative Building. MAIN will be introduced at this time by Ms. Selby and it would be great to have representation from our group to show our support for Bill 232.

If you are able to attend please let Nancy Boni know as soon as possible. We need to provide a list of names of people who wish to attend for security purposes.

As this is only the initial introduction of Bill 232 it will not take very long.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Legislation Introduced in Manitoba to Protect Anaphylactic Children in Daycares

April 29, 2008

- - -
Safety Plans, Codes of Conduct Would be Mandated: Mackintosh

Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh today introduced legislation that would require comprehensive safety plans and codes of conduct for Manitoba's 1,113 licensed child-care programs.

"While we have made good advances to better protect the safety of school children through the Safe Schools Charter, children in child care deserve no less," said Mackintosh. "Child-care environments are generally safe but we must always be vigilant to reduce the risk of harm."

The charter would build on a history of regulations that have tended to focus on fire safety and would require each program to establish a safety policy plan to include:

- visitor access control;

- procedures to safety check both indoor and outdoor

- emergency practice drills;

- respective roles in the event of an emergency;

- emergency procedures to deal with bomb threats, fires,
chemical spills, weather- and

health-related emergencies, threatening behaviour, evacuation, parent contact and communications especially with a school or another organization in the same building; and

- policies to meet the needs of children who have
diagnosed anaphylaxis.

As well, the charter would require each program to develop a code of conduct to include:

- what constitutes unacceptable behaviour, consistent
with the developmental capabilities of children enrolled including bullying, abuse, discrimination and other harmful conduct;

- use of e-mail, electronic devices and the Internet;

- application to not only children but also staff and
parents; and

- consequences for unacceptable behaviour.

Each safety plan and code of conduct would have to be approved by the director of child-care services and be reviewed annually by the facility.

Concurrently, work is underway to develop a protocol with police agencies to help ensure facilities are notified when a dangerous situation develops in the vicinity.

New resources, including departmental staff and model codes and safety plans, would assist programs to comply with the charter. Facilities would be given 18 months from royal assent to conclude their codes and plans.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Article from the "Allergy and Asthma News" 2007

Discrimination in Daycare Due to Allergies
By Krista Wiebe, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Our son is allergic to milk and peanuts. He is three years old. In September of 2006 he was excluded (read: kicked out!) from a daycare facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba because of his allergies. We were devastated and disappointed by this blatant discrimination. We asked how a daycare provider could discriminate against our son because of his medical condition.

Our son was scheduled to move from the daycare’s “infant” room to the “toddler” room. This meant a higher child to staff ratio (4:1 in the infant room and 8:1 in the toddler room). As a result of this change and our son’s allergies, the daycare asked us to observe mealtime in the toddler room. They also asked us to make recommendations on how mealtime could be made safer for our son. This sounded great and we were more than happy to work with the daycare to ensure the safety of our son.

When we observed mealtime, we were alarmed at the disregard for the daycare’s existing anaphylaxis policy. One of the most concerning observations we made was the failure by staff to have children wash their hands and faces after mealtime. We observed one child leave the table with milk on his hands and face. His shirt was also soaked with milk. As a result of our observations, we made several recommendations to the daycare.

After we submitted our recommendations, we asked the daycare to respond. We never received a response. We also asked the Board of Directors of the daycare to respond. They never responded to our recommendations either.

A few months later, after our son was moved into the toddler room, we received an unsigned, registered letter from the daycare. This letter was delivered to our home unexpectedly on a day our son was attending the daycare facility. The letter advised us we were required to find alternate care for our son within three weeks because of his allergies. The Board of Directors had advised us they were going to have a Board meeting to discuss our son and we specifically asked to be in attendance at any meeting that was convened to discuss our son! However, they had a “special Board meeting”, to which we were not invited, and determined that it was too stressful for staff and inconvenient for other children in the daycare to have our son attend the facility.

If you have ever tried to find a quality daycare space for your child in Manitoba (or other provinces with a child care crisis), you could understand how problematic this situation was. Quality daycare spaces are difficult to find. In Manitoba, prospective parents have been told to “get their ovaries on a daycare waiting list.”

To complicate things further, not only did we need to find a quality daycare spot for our son, our daughter was scheduled to attend the same daycare facility starting in January 2007. We were not comfortable putting her in a facility that discriminated against her brother because of his allergies. We were concerned she would develop allergies too (we have a strong family history) and also be kicked out!

We put our children on several waiting lists throughout Winnipeg. Frustrated with the inability to secure quality daycare spaces for our children, we chose to hire a nanny through the federal government’s live in caregiver program. This is more costly than daycare, however, was the only suitable alternative for our family.

What about the daycare you ask? We have since filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. The complaint is now in the process of being investigated by the Commission.

It is against the Manitoba Human Rights Code to discriminate against anyone, including children, due to a medical condition, like allergies and anaphylaxis. If you think your child has been discriminated by a school, daycare, community club, or essentially by any service provider, due to his or her allergies, you should file a complaint on your child’s behalf with your provincial and/or federal Human Rights Commission.

We are our children’s advocates. It is of particular importance that we strongly advocate for our children who have allergies and anaphylaxis. These children must not be treated in a discriminatory manner because they have a “hidden” medical condition that is no fault of their own. If your child is a victim of discrimination I urge you to make a complaint. When complaints are filed and Human Rights decisions are made it helps protect all children with allergies and anaphylaxis.

When we receive a decision from the Manitoba Human Rights Commission regarding our complaint, we will share it with you all in the future.

February 2008 Status Update

Our meeting with the Minister of Health in January was unfortunately cancelled and resecheduled for February 13, 2008.

We are optimistic we will be successful obtaining the government's support of legislation to protect children in schools and daycares with anaphylaxis.

For information on how law is made in Manitoba click here:

Monday, December 3, 2007


We already have over 100 signatures on our petition! Way to go! The more support we have on this issue the better!