The Canadian Lung Association applauds the Ontario Legislature for passing a new law that allows children with asthma to carry asthma inhalers at school and would require school boards to develop a comprehensive asthma policy.
In Ontario, about 570,000 children – or one in four – has asthma.
“The passing of Ryan’s Law is great news for parents of children with asthma. This means that children with asthma can keep their inhalers close at hand to use during an asthma attack,” says Debra Lynkowski, president and CEO of the Canadian Lung Association. “Asthma attacks are preventable. No child should have to die because he or she couldn’t get access to rescue medication.”
Bill 20, also known as “Ryan’s Law”, is named for Ryan Gibbons, a 12-year-old boy from Tillsonburg, Ontario who died from a severe asthma attack at school. During recess, Ryan began having a severe asthma attack. He did not have his inhaler with him; it was kept locked away as per school board policy. He lost consciousness before reaching his inhaler.
Ryan’s Law is the result of advocacy efforts by Ryan’s mother, Sandra Gibbons, the Ontario Lung Association and Jeff Yurek, the MPP who introduced Bill 20 to the Legislature. “Thanks to these incredible lung champions, schools in Ontario will be a safer place for children with asthma,” says Ms. Lynkowski.
In addition to allowing students to carry their own asthma rescue medication with permission from their health-care provider and parent or guardian, Ryan’s Law will require Ontario school boards to adhere to a provincial standard when designing asthma management policies. Strategies will be developed to reduce asthma triggers at schools, educate teachers and parents about asthma, provide regular training to teachers and staff, and maintain emergency protocols for students with asthma.
The legislation received all-party support in the Ontario Legislature and is due to take effect in time for the new school year in September.
About the Canadian Lung Association
Established in 1900, The Lung Association is one of Canada’s oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs and advocacy on lung heath issues. For more information, visit www.lung.ca .
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