British Columbia

Parents of children with Type 1 diabetes allege discrimination by B.C. government

Parents of two children with Type 1 diabetes have filed a human rights complaint, alleging a government policy for standardized care is putting their kids at risk.

In a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal complaint, parents allege standardized care plan is putting kids at risk

School diabetes policy deeply flawed, say parents

CBC News Vancouver Late Night

6 years ago
Families file human rights complaint against the government and Fraser Health over concerns. 2:24

The families of two children with Type 1 diabetes have filed a human rights complaint against the B.C. government and Fraser Health Authority, alleging a policy for standardized care is putting their kids at risk.

One of the parents, Guilly Milburn, said she has been fighting for months to get her seven-year-old daughter Scarlette the care she needs at school in New Westminster. 

In the complaint filed yesterday, she alleges the government policy amounts to discrimination, because Scarlette is not getting personalized diabetes care for her physical disability. 

In a human rights complaint filed on Monday, Guilly Milburn alleges Scarlette is not getting personalized diabetes care for her physical disability. (CBC News)

The grade one student has Type 1 Diabetes, which means her body makes little or no insulin that regulate her blood sugar levels. 

Scarlette's blood sugar can drop at any time, so Milburn said she was concerned her daughter's blood sugar was only being tested at certain, standardized times throughout the school day. 

Within two days of being on the standardized plan, their daughter had a serious hypoglycemic episode at her school. 

Children need personalized diabetes healthcare, mother says

When she asked that her daughter be tested outside those set times, Milburn said she was denied diabetes care in school outside of the standardized plan. 

As a result, Milburn said had to personally go to her daughter's school to provide for the child's diabetes care. 

"Every person is different," said Milburn. "Right now I'm getting her to be tested more often."

After some media attention, Milburn said she was finally able to get an individual plan for her daughter in January.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement that "[parents] cannot direct school staff on a day-to-day or hour-to-hour basis to deliver care differently from what is in the care plan, as the clinical evidence shows that this increases the risk for children in a school setting where the child may not be monitored as closely as they are at home."

But that's not good enough for Milburn, who wants the government to change its policy so that it's more flexible, and has filed the human rights complaint.

"Human Rights' law requires individual accommodation for people with disabilities ... a one-size-fits-all approach will rarely work for people," said Laura Johnston, an articling student at Community Legal Assistance Society that is representing Milburn and another Surrey family in their human rights complaint. 

"If the government doesn't take it seriously, if Fraser health and medical experts don't take it seriously, who's going to take it seriously?" Milburn said. 

With files from Jeff Harrington


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