In Montreal, parents of children with food allergies are pushing for a law that would require all schools to implement staff training programs and emergency protocols to deal with a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

The call for legislation was prompted by the death of Megann Ayotte Lefort in September 2010. The first-grader experienced an allergic reaction at her elementary school after eating just a bite of a store-bought sandwich. 25 minutes later, staff gave her two puffs of an asthma inhaler, though she was exhibiting signs of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Megann’s dad, Sylvain Lefort, says “The school was well aware of Megann’s allergies and her asthma. – Everything about that night was wrong. Everything.” Marie-Josée Bettez, a lawyer and mother of a teen with several food allergies, explains that the problem is that food allergy management in schools is not centralized. “Each school board and each school has its own protocol, which means the protection afforded to each student varies from one school to another” she told theMontreal Gazette.

In 2005, Ontario created a similar law. Sabrina’s Law is named after Sabrina Shannon, a teenager who died of an allergic reaction at school in 2003. Ontario’s legislation requires teachers and school staff to undergo allergy training, and every child with known allergies has a treatment plan in place. This week, the Quebec Association of Food Allergies launched a campaign aimed at getting a similar law passed.

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