VICTORIA—CUPE BC is endorsing a piece of Opposition legislation that could save up to 13,000 student lives in B.C. but which the Campbell government has so far shown no signs of supporting. And the union is calling on members to attend a rally on Monday (May 7) at the Legislature to support its passage.
Bill M210, The Anaphylactic Student Protection Act, was introduced by NDP Education Critic David Cubberley (Saanich South) on March 28. It would require every school board in the province “to establish and maintain an anaphylactic policy setting out risk reduction strategies, a communications plan and a mandatory regular training program….” It would also require every school principal “to maintain a file and individual plan for each anaphylactic student” and allow school board employees “to administer or supervise student administration of medication in response to an anaphylactic reaction.” (See http://www.leg.bc.ca/38th3rd/1st_read/m210-1.htm for the complete legislation.)
The Bill is modeled after “Sabrina’s Law”, which was adopted in Ontario after 13-year-old Sabrina Shannon died at school from inadvertently consuming fries that were likely contaminated with a dairy protein, to which she was highly allergic.
It is conservatively estimated that 13,000 B.C. school children are at risk for life threatening allergic reactions. Right now in British Columbia, there are no consistent guidelines to deal with this health issue. Some districts have excellent policies and some districts have none. (For a link to see all of the policies, go to http://www.bcsta.org/main/districtpolicies.php and type in “anaphylaxis”.)
“This is a province-wide health issue that requires standard care and education,” says CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill. “In spite of this, the Campbell government apparently is playing politics with student’s lives and is ready to kill Bill M210 when it goes to second reading later this month.”
CUPE BC is urging members throughout the province to support the Bill. “Everyone wins with this Bill: parents, students, school staff and health care professionals,” says O’Neill. “We do not believe that B.C. should wait until a student dies from anaphylactic shock before it passes legislation.”
Monday’s rally will take place at 10 am near the rose garden at the Legislature. (In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved to a location to be announced.) At the rally, Cubberley will introduce Mike and Sara Shannon, the parents of Sabrina, who will later be introduced in the Legislature during the afternoon session.
The B.C. division’s support of Bill M210 echoes a campaign by CUPE school board workers, who are calling on other CUPE members, school boards, parents, teachers, health care professionals and the public to take action to support the Bill. The campaign was initiated by school board worker Pamela Lee, a member of CUPE 15 working for the Vancouver School Board and a member of PACT (Protect Allergic Children Today, www.m210.org).
CUPE members can demonstrate their support by asking their local school boards to pass a motion in support of this Bill, and by contacting their MLAs (see http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm); Premier Gordon Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org; the Honorable Shirley Bond, Minister of Education at email@example.com; and Education Critic MLA David Cubberley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact:
Joe Badali, CUPE Staff Representative and Education Sector Coordinator 604.291.1940
Pamela Lee, CUPE Local 15 and PACT (Protect Allergic Children Today) email@example.com