Mac Saini was just 16 months old when he died in an unlicensed B.C. daycare. (Submitted)

Health authority denies wrongdoing in B.C. toddler’s death at daycare

The 16-month-old, also known as Baby Mac, died in January 2017 at Olive Branch Daycare in Vancouver

The regional health authority in charge of overseeing the operations of daycares in Vancouver says it was not responsible for the death of a B.C. toddler at an unlicensed daycare.

The mother of Macallan Wayne Saini, Shelly Sheppard, filed the lawsuit in September.

The 16-month-old, also known as Baby Mac, died in January 2017 at Olive Branch Daycare in Vancouver. According to court documents that name Vancouver Coastal Health, Sheppard said she “understands that Mac Saini has been left unattended and had choked on an electrical causing his death.”

The civil suit has listed the health authority, the Ministry of Child and Family Development, daycare operator Yasmine Saad and building owners Karen Pearl Kruse and Peter Andrew Scott as defendants.

Sheppard argued the health authority and MCFD, which both oversee the standards for daycare facilities in the region, were aware of and had investigated multiple complaints of the daycare operating without a licence, dating as far back as 2010.

Baby Mac’s death sparked provincewide debate on regulating childcare. Sheppard and the child’s father, Chris Saini, called on the B.C. government to create a registry for daycare operators and more affordable childcare options to increase safety.

READ MORE: Parents mourning death of toddler call on province for $10-a-day childcare

Sheppard’s lawsuit also claims she has suffered fatigue, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder since her son’s death.

She is seeking payment for a number of damages, including loss of earnings, as well as a declaration by officials that Baby Mac was deprived of his right to life and security contrary to his human rights.

According to court documents, the health authority had identified daycare operator Saad as a “moderate risk to health and safety,” but had never fined her.

In a response to her claim, filed Dec. 5, Vancouver Coastal Health denied any negligence, claiming it had no knowledge Saad was running an unlicensed facility.

It also said while it had received four complaints about Saad, they each involved different addresses and all related to caring for too many kids, not about being unlicensed. The health authority said each complaint was dealt with.

The health authority is asking the court to dismiss the claim, with costs.

No other respondents have filed a statement of defence. None of the allegations has been proven in court.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Glory for Fernie Ghostriders in four-point weekend

Riders back at home on January 25-26 for games against the Kimberley Dynamiters and Nelson Leafs

Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek help locating missing man

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Spike in Jaffray bear calls cause for concern

In 2018 there were 38 calls about bears spotted in the Jaffray area, compared to one call in 2017.

Snow on the way for Elk Valley

Winter weather advisory issued for East Kootenay with up to 15cm of snow expected over the next week

Snow removal still an issue for mobility challenged in Fernie

Disability advocate sees little improvement in sidewalk clearing; City promises to review policy

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

Fernie film festival tickets selling fast

Local links to films, shorts featured in 11th annual Reel Canadian Film Festival lineup

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

Most Read