Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Coastal Health Denies Allegations Made after Toddler's Death at Daycare

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Coastal Health Denies Allegations Made after Toddler's Death at Daycare

Article excerpt

Health authority responds to daycare death lawsuit

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Vancouver Coastal Health says it did nothing to contribute to the death of a 16-month-old boy at an unlicensed daycare, calling what happened a "tragic incident" in its response to a civil lawsuit launched by the boy's parents.

The health authority filed its response to the statement of claim in B.C. Supreme Court in early December.

Macallan (Mac) Saini, was found dead in the Olive Branch Daycare in east Vancouver on Jan. 18, 2017.

The lawsuit filed by the toddler's mother, Shelley Sheppard, alleges he choked on an electrical cord and died because he was left alone.

Documents filed with the court also allege the daycare was "overcrowded" and that the health authority and Ministry of Children and Family Development did not warn parents or close the facility, despite "multiple complaints" of overcrowding or operating without a licence.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

The ministry, daycare operator Yasmine Saad and the landlords of the home where the daycare operated are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, but none has submitted a response with the court to the statement of claim.

In its response, Vancouver Coastal Health says it had no knowledge that Saad was running an unlicensed daycare and no complaint had been received about it from any parents.

The health authority's response "denies that it owed any ... duty of care to the plaintiff and her deceased son, Mac Saini," and it also seeks dismissal of the claims against it, with costs.

Sheppard's suit says complaints against Saad were investigated in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, and in 2016, and the lawsuit asserts the health authority identified her as a "moderate risk to health and safety." It says Saad was never fined and no steps were taken to prevent the daycare from continuing operations. …

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