CBC News: Unlicensed daycare operator sued in Baby Mac’s death denies allegations

As seen on CBC News by Rafferty Baker, 16th August 2019.

Suzy Ahmed Saad doesn’t admit to a single claim filed in the lawsuit 11 months ago

Macallan ‘Baby Mac’ Saini died at an unlicensed daycare in 2017. (Shelly Sheppard)

The operator of an unlicensed East Vancouver daycare where a 15-month old toddler died in Jan. 2017 has denied claims of negligence.

Suzy Ahmed Saad delivered her response Tuesday to a lawsuit filed by the mother of Macallan Wayne Saini, the toddler known as Baby Mac.

As the operator of the Olive Branch Daycare, Saad was named as a defendant in the suit filed by Baby Mac’s mother, Shelley Sheppard, along with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Vancouver Coastal Health.

In her response, Saad does not admit any of the allegations and specifically denies several of the claims, including the paragraph in the lawsuit that states she operated an unlicensed child-care facility at the address where Baby Mac was found dead.

Saad also denies the account in Sheppard’s notice of civil claim, outlining the circumstances of her arrival at the daycare only to discover her son had died:

“On January 18, 2017, the Plaintiff Shelley Sheppard arrived at the Daycare to pick up Mac Saini. A fire truck was parked in front of the Daycare. She followed a firefighter into the Daycare. She saw that the Daycare was overcrowded with children. She saw that the Defendant Saad had hidden one child behind a couch and other children were strapped to chairs. She followed the firefighter upstairs and witnessed her son, Mac Saini, lying on the floor. He had a “grey” pallor and it was evident to her that he was deceased.”

In her response to the civil claim, Saad claims she was not negligent and the death was not the result of negligence.

“If the Plaintiff suffered any injury, loss, damage, or expense as alleged or at all, which is not admitted but specifically denied, then any such injury, loss, damage, or expense was caused or contributed to by the other Defendants,” the statement reads.

Vancouver Coastal Health responded to the lawsuit in December, claiming it had no knowledge that Saad was operating an unlicensed child-care facility at the East Vancouver address.

None of the claims in the notice of civil claim, nor in the responses to the civil claim have been proven in court.


About the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society

‘In Their Name’ is the campaign of ‘The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’ – a BC registered non-profit organization comprised of volunteer families who have lost a loved one to wrongful death in BC and were denied access to justice. In response to the biggest human rights issue facing the province today, our goal is to modernize British Columbia’s antiquated wrongful death legislation, which predates confederation (1846). Under current legislation, the value of a human life is measured only by the deceased’s future lost income, so long as they had dependents.

As a result of the province’s antiquated law, access to justice has been denied to the families of the wrongfully killed who do not meet this discriminatory criteria. This has affected especially vulnerable groups, namely children, seniors, the disabled, and anyone without dependents when they are killed by the negligent or intentional acts of another.

BC is presently the last of all the provinces, yet to have undertaken this critical legislative modernization to allow for dignity, value, and protections for all its citizens under the law.

When it’s ‘free’ to kill in BC, wrongdoers are not held accountable. This lack of general deterrence holds the province back in terms of incentivizing innovation of safety measures and protocols to prevent wrongful deaths in the first place.

Here’s How You Can Get Involved…

The Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, is responsible for the modernization of BC’s wrongful death laws. Our Society provided David Eby with the drafted ‘Wrongful Death Accountability Act’ when he was acting as the Attorney General for British Columbia for 6 years between 2017-2022. The new Attorney General, Niki Sharma, also shares responsibility as she is the Minister responsible for the ‘Family Compensation Act’ – the current guiding piece of legislation that the civil courts must follow in cases of wrongful death. Minister Sharma receives feedback from the regional ‘Members of the Legislative Assembly’ (MLAs) and follows orders from the Premier, David Eby, who is ultimately responsible for modernization.

Reform is presently at a standstill, as the BC NDP government does not presently view access to justice for the surviving family members of the wrongfully killed as a priority in this province. This is despite the fact that the families behind our Society have been fighting for modernization for over two decades. And despite the fact that all other provinces, including the Yukon, have already modernized in most cases long ago.

The only way to move this forward is by creating massive public awareness and outcry for legislative modernization. Only under the scrutiny of the public and the media will our politicians be forced to take this necessary, and long overdue action.

How many more people will need to die from the same preventable wrongful actions before our politicians will do their job?

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