QUEEN’S PARK – Today, Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek held a press conference to discuss his private members’ bill, Bill 135: Ryan’s Law (Ensuring Asthma Friendly Schools). Representatives of the Ontario Lung Association along with Sandra Gibbons – whose son is the student the bill is named after – were also in attendance.
Ms. Gibbons’ son Ryan passed away last year after suffering an asthma attack while at school. Following his passing, his mother undertook efforts to ensure children with asthma were adequately protected. As part of these efforts, she started a petition asking the government to require school boards to adopt standardized asthma management plans. The petition garnered over 1,500 signatures.
“Sandra faced every parent’s worst nightmare last year,” said Yurek. “But I admire her courage for bringing her story to the public’s attention. Hopefully today, we can take an important step toward ensuring a tragedy like this never happens again.”
Yurek’s bill mandates that every school board develop a comprehensive asthma policy for its schools. The policy is to include strategies to help mitigate exposure to asthma triggers, regular training and education for staff, and a communication plan for dissemination of information on asthma to parents, pupils, and employees.
The bill further requires that every school develop an individual plan for each student with asthma. This plan will include all relevant treatment information and emergency procedures. It also requires schools to permit a student – with their physician’s approval – to carry their reliever inhaler with them at all times.
“We’ve found that most school boards have some type of asthma policy; however they vary considerably in terms of scale and scope,” stated Yurek. “It is our hope that this bill will create a standard that will ensure every child with asthma is protected no matter where they go to school.”
“I think that Ryan’s Law means a number of things: protection, education, and prevention when it comes to asthma. I want to make sure that all children are protected when they’re at school. Ryan was an energetic kid who loved hanging with his friends and tinkering with anything electronic. I hope that this bill, in his name, will help avoid more preventable deaths.” – Sandra Gibbons, Ryan’s Mom, Aylmer resident
“While many school boards may have procedures in place to address asthma management, Bill 135 will ensure that all schools in Ontario are safe for all our children; especially the one in five with asthma. Ontario Lung Association has resources and tools to support the implementation of this important legislation.” – Andrea Stevens Lavigne, Vice President, Provincial Programs, Ontario Lung Association
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