Epi-pen Fact Sheet and Sabrina’s Law
With increasing numbers students with severe allergies attending our schools, ETFO members are concerned about the possibility of administering emergency procedures such as epinephrine auto injectors, commonly known as Epi-pens.
Administering the Epi-pen could save a life. Failure to do so could result in serious illness or death. Members must know their rights and responsibilities with regard to administering Epi-pens.
Sabrina’s Law - Effective January 1, 2006
Sabrina’s Law, an Act to Protect Anaphylactic Pupils, was named after a young girl who died of anaphylactic shock following exposure in her school.
This law came into effect in January, 2006. It protects students with life threatening allergies. It requires all school boards to establish and maintain an anaphylactic policy, which must include strategies to reduce risk of exposure to anaphylactic causative agents in classrooms and common school areas.
The school board must develop a communication plan to share information on life threatening allergies with parents, pupils, and employees. This plan should include information on the symptoms of anaphylactic shock.
The school board must provide training on dealing with life threatening allergies for all employees in regular contact with students.
The school board must ensure there is a storage plan for Epi-pens, and that there is a plan for using them in emergency situations.
Individual Plans (IPs)
Principals are required to develop individual plans (IPs) for students with anaphylactic allergies. The IP must inform employees in direct contact with the student of the type of allergy, monitoring, avoidance strategies, and appropriate treatment.
The IP must also include readily accessible emergency procedures and storage for Epi-pens.
What Members Should Know About Epi-pens
Members should be informed of:
Members should also know that:
Members’ Legal Obligations with Regard to Administering Epi-pens
Members have a common law duty of care to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of students. Failure to do so could result in a charge of negligence.
A member might be the subject of a criminal investigation if the failure or refusal to administer an Epi-pen was considered criminally negligent or a failure to provide the necessities of life.
Section 20(g) (Duties of Teachers) of Regulation 298 under the Education Act requires teachers to ensure that all reasonable safety procedures are carried out in courses and activities for which the teacher is responsible. These include positive steps that a reasonable parent would take to safeguard the health and safety of students.
Collective agreements may have provisions limiting a member’s responsibility for performing medical procedures of any sort, but in an emergency situation the member may have to administer the Epi-pen because of the life threatening nature of anaphylaxis.
Human Rights Code
If the student is identified as having a disability under the Human Rights Code, the school board must accommodate a student’s susceptibility to anaphylaxis. Not to do so would be considered discriminatory.
Members are advised to consult Professional Relations staff in Protective Services at 416-962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836 for additional advice.