For immediate release
TORONTO, ON – October 9, 2013 – More than 5,000 Ontario school boards, schools, and public health units have received educational resources to assist school staff in managing and responding to serious allergies. The resources provide important information for educators and other school staff on reducing the risk of an anaphylactic reaction, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a reaction, and how to respond in an emergency.
“The health and well-being of our students is a top priority for the Ontario government,” said Liz Sandals, Minister of Education. Together with our partners, we are committed to making our schools healthier places for students to learn and grow.”
“We are pleased to have collaborated with the Ontario Government on the 2013 Anaphylaxis Resource Kits and Update Packages,” said Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada. “As a mother of a son with multiple food allergies who has gone through the Ontario education system, I know how reassuring it is to have our schools have access to the best information on anaphylaxis.”
Food allergy is one of the leading causes of potentially life-threatening allergic reactions and a growing public health concern in Canada, especially among children. As there is no way of predicting how severe an allergic reaction may be and no known cure for food allergy, avoidance of allergenic foods is the only means of staying safe. Some children are also allergic to stinging insects or medication.
“On a board level, I can attest to how valuable these resources are for facilitating greater understanding of anaphylaxis and protecting students in elementary and secondary schools,” said Bob Soroko, Medical Conditions Resource Consultant at the Halton Catholic District School Board. “Anaphylaxis Canada and the Ontario government have done another wonderful job in preparing informative and accessible resources.”
The anaphylaxis resources are intended to help school boards comply with mandated requirements which are outlined in the landmark 2005 legislation Sabrina’s Law. The law is named for Sabrina Shannon, a young teen who died in 2003 in an Ontario school after accidentally eating food which
“These resources are a continuation of Sabrina’s legacy,” said Sara Shannon, Sabrina’s mother. “Sabrina was a creative, energetic advocate who raised awareness about anaphylaxis and I am so proud her dedication lives on through this legislation.”
The full Anaphylaxis Resource Kit has been distributed to new schools and all public health units while all other schools and school boards have received an Update Package to support kits they received in 2011.
The bilingual Anaphylaxis Resource Kits and Update Packages include such resources as:
- Epinephrine auto-injector training devices (EpiPen® , Allerject™)
- Awareness and instructional posters (e.g. Anaphylaxis Canada’s “Think F.A.S.T.” poster)
- A memory stick with instructional videos (EpiPen®, Allerject™), an Anaphylaxis 101 presentation for school personnel, MedicAlert® information, and other related materials
- Excerpts from Anaphylaxis in Schools & Other Settings consensus document
- Informational charts/pamphlets (e.g. Ophea’s “The Basics of Asthma, Allergies and Anaphylaxis”)
“Anaphylaxis Canada wishes to thank the Ministry of Education for its ongoing dedication to anaphylaxis-related initiatives which help to keep children safe in our schools,” said Harada. “We also want to thank Pfizer Canada, Sanofi Canada, the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Ophea, and the Canadian MedicAlert® Foundation, the organizations whose materials are included in these resources.”
About Anaphylaxis Canada
Anaphylaxis Canada is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping those at risk for anaphylaxis and those who care for them. The organization is committed to creating a safer world for people with life-threatening allergies through education, advocacy, and research. The organization’s approach to reducing the risk of anaphylactic reactions in both children and adults is focused on selfmanagement, community engagement, understanding, and respect. For more information, visit www.anaphylaxis.ca.
For more information please contact:
Empower Consulting, for Anaphylaxis Canada