Food allergies are on the rise in Canada. More than 2.5 million
Canadians report having at least one food intolerance, including
approximately 300,000 children under 18, according to Health Canada.
Peanuts, dairy, soy, and many other foods that can trigger
severe allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock, and even slight
exposure has led to deaths of Canadian schoolchildren.
More schools are increasingly enacting rules to improve
awareness and reduce the risks. Each province and territory now has its
own guidelines and requirements for schools, although most are similar.
Ontario was the first province to enact an “anaphylaxis action
plan.” Sabrina’s law, named for Sabrina Shannon, a teen who experienced a
fatal anaphylactic reaction from dairy protein in her high school’s
cafeteria, requires Ontario schools to establish policies for risk
reduction and emergency response.
Principals are also required to prepare action plans for individual schools.
Also in the act:
- Schools must develop plans to share information on allergic reaction between parents, educators and students.
- Schools must have epinephrine shots, or EpiPens, available, as well as plans on how to use them.
- School board members could be subject to a criminal investigation for failing or refusing to administer an EpiPen.
Other provinces and territories have followed suit with similar
legislation, calling for teacher training, risk reduction and
information sharing. While most provinces have mandatory rules, some
locales, including Alberta only have advisory policies with voluntary
About Sabrina’s Law in Ontario
Info on food allergies, prevention and more from Health Canada
Tips and information for students, parents and educators