Supporting "Safe at school" for Canada

October 22: BC Government Announcement for improvements in diabetes school supports

October 8: "Diabetes in the school care setting 2013": report by Child Health BC, long overdue step in improving diabetes care. 
March 25: Global TV Top Story: 5-year old Port Moody girl must administer her insulin, but too risky for a trained school aide.
BC Advocacy: Patient Care Quality Office complaints on diabetes  care.
June 10: See us at the 2012 Telus Walk to Cure diabetes, Vancouver, Abbotsford

April 2012 - Unfair Pharmacare in BC: complaint to proceed against Ministry of Health Services

January 2012 - Canadian Diabetes Association letter of support

October 2011: Join us in advocating for change in BC: Advocacy Group and media information.

Nov 2, 2011: BC Parents lobby for in-school diabetes care: CBC TV News. 
Nov 2, 2011: CBC Radio podcast.

Aug 16, 2011: Diabetes Discrimination: Sun TV News 

This doesn't have to happen. Children in Canada with disabilities, chronic health conditions and special needs have the right to a safe, free and appropriate public education.

Children and youth with diabetes, can only be safe at school by adhering to the Safe at School Statement of principles. Canadian diabetes advocacy and physician's groups, such as the Canadian Diabetes Association, and Canadian Paediatrics Society need to support children by endorsing the Safe at School principles.

Canada has no federal equivalent to the USA's Individual's with Disabilities Education Act or the UK's Disability and Equality Act. While federal and provincial human rights codes talk about human rights, the reality is that human rights are only won after lengthy and expensive legal battles. Despite what our politicians tell voters and the rest of the world, systemic discrimination is an everyday reality in Canada for most of us living with a disability. (Source http://

Until laws and policies change, be an advocate for your child's human rights

November is diabetes month

In 1922, Canadian scientists discovered insulin and forever changed the lives of millions of diabetics around the world. Yet over 80 years later, it is Canadian school children with diabetes who are going without insulin and effective diabetes management. With a growing epidemic of insulin dependent (Type 1)  diabetes, Canadian children are at greater risk of developing diabetes, and at a younger and more vulnerable age. Diabetes is a disease in which the body loses the ability to process carbohydrates, the complex sugars that make up much of a normal diet.

With overlapping Provincial and Federal jurisdictions, Canada lacks the laws and standards to protect school children with diabetes and other disabilities from discrimination and ensure appropriate care during school hours. School children with diabetes lack national guarantees for equal standards of care, which according to American and International Diabetes organizations, includes insulin injections, and in rare emergency situations, injection of glucagon, a drug similar to the adrenalin injected to treat life threatening allergic reactions.

In the United States, children are guaranteed freedom from discrimination and access to medically necessary support while in school by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA). Backed by the strength of Federal laws, the American Diabetes Association published the "Safe at School" statement of principles, which has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other associations including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. To date, no other Canadian diabetes organizations have endorsed the principles of "Safe at School", although the Canadian Diabetes Association continues to lobby at the Provincial and Territorial levels for legislative change.

We believe the principles of "Safe at School" are universally important and that it is Canadian laws and advocacy that need to rise to world standards. Until then, Canadian children with diabetes and other medical disabilities must be presumed to be Unsafe at School. Unsafe at School has been formed by concerned parents to advance the rights of school children with disabilities, with a focus on diabetes.

While many children with diabetes are capable of self managing their care, which includes injecting insulin - very young school children can not, and should not be expected to bear the burden of their care. Without support from schools, parents have to juggle busy work schedules to coordinate care themselves, or leave children untreated during school hours, exposing them to the risks of hyperglycemia, which studies show cause reductions in verbal IQ  and cognitive function[1], among other health consequences.

According to researchers, by 2020, the incidence of Type 1 diabetes is expected to double in children under five years old. Canada has the 4th highest incidence of Type 1 diabetes[2], ranking ahead of Norway, the United Kingdom and the USA. Based on 2007 figures, Type 1 diabetes affects at least 440,000 children under the age of 14 and millions of adults, with 70,000 children newly diagnosed each year. Between 1992 and 2002, the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in Ontario increased by 48%[3]. While Type 1 diabetes is thought to have environmental triggers ranging from viruses to vitamin D deficiency, diet and exercise are some of the main factors in Type 2 diabetes, typically viewed as a disease of adulthood, is rising alarmingly in Canadian children, youth.



American Diabetes Association - Safe at School

UK Diabetes - Diabetes Care in Schools

International Diabetes Federation - The Rights of the Child with Diabetes in the School

The Type 1 Diabetes Epidemic

Impact on IQ and Cognitive Function
[1] Effects of prior hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia on cognition in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus 
Cognitive Function Is Disrupted by Both Hypo- and Hyperglycemia in School-AgedChildren With Type 1 Diabetes: A Field Study

Canadian Diabetes Statistics
[2] Brook C, Clayton P, Brown R. DiaMond study. In: Brook's Clinical Pediatric Endocrinology, 5th Edition. Malden Massachusetts, Blackwell Publishing; 2005:441

Hux JE, Booth, GL, Slughter PM, et al.(eds.) Diabetes in Ontario: An Ices Practice Atlas: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. 2003.

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