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Vancouver Coastal Health denies responsibility for Baby Mac's daycare death
Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini lost their one-year-old son, Mac, in an incident at an East Vancouver daycare on Jan. 18, 2017.
In its response to a civil claim filed by his parents, a local health authority says it is not responsible for the death of Macallan Wayne Saini.
The young boy who became known following the tragedy as "Baby Mac" died at an unlicensed daycare in Vancouver two years ago.
His parents learned of his death when they arrived at Olive Branch Daycare to pick up the 16-month-old and found a fire truck parked outside. The circumstances of his death have not been made public by officials, but a lawsuit filed in September claims he "had been left unattended and had choked on an electrical cord."
In the suit, Baby Mac's parents allege negligence played a role in his death.
Documents show the operator of the unlicensed daycare, Yasmine Saad, had been investigated four times at four different addresses. Three of those investigations found she had broken the law by having too many children in her care.
The lawsuit names Saad, the owners of the home where Olive Branch was operating, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Vancouver Coastal Health. Plaintiff Shelley Sheppard said VCH, which is responsible for investigating daycare complaints in the city, failed to take appropriate action in response to Saad's repeated rule-breaking.
Baby Mac's mother alleges Saad was never so much as fined, and believes her son's death could have been prevented if the health authority or the province had "reasonable policies and procedures" to oversee daycares that have been subject to complaints.
None of the allegations in the claim have been proven in court.
VCH has since filed its response to the claim, denying responsibility for the baby boy's death.
In its response, VCH said it had no knowledge that Saad was operating an unlicensed child care facility at the East Vancouver home until alerted to Baby Mac's death.
VCH said there had been no complaints involving the address in question, and denied allegations its employees were negligent or in breach of duty. It said the previous complaints, which were reported between 2010 and 2015, were dealt with by responding officials at the time.
"The Health Authority says that nothing it or its employees, officers or agents did or failed to do caused or contributed in any way to the injuries, loss, damage or expense suffered by the plaintiff, as alleged, or at all," the response says.
The defendant says it is seeking a dismissal of Sheppard's claims against it and opposes granting relief sought from VCH.