Food Allergies in Schools: A New Best Practices Guide

A Guide to the Best Practices for Managing Food Allergies in Montreal Elementary Schools is now available on Allergy Quebec’s website. Montreal’s Regional Public Health Department (Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal) is currently sharing this guide with its network of partners in both school and health care settings in Montreal and throughout Quebec.

In Canada, about 20% of food allergic reactions occur in schools. In order to deal with this problem, most provinces have passed legislation or have adopted guidelines requiring schools to establish emergency protocols for anaphylaxis. However, in the province of Quebec, there are no such guidelines in place, nor is there a provincial policy governing the management of food allergies in schools. For example, in Montreal, food allergy management practices vary from school to school.

Using Practical Tools to Prevent Allergic Reactions

Since 2018, Allergy Québec has been collaborating with several Montreal representatives from the public and private school boards and the health care system, all of whom were brought together by Montreal’s Regional Public Health Department.* This committee was formed to unify and improve practices in Montreal schools, leading to the creation of a best practices guide for all elementary schools. This guide is therefore the result of a joint effort between several key players in the field.

The guide lists the roles and responsibilities of all concerned parties, including children and their parents, in preventing allergic reactions. It includes many practical tools to facilitate the implementation of these recommendations, and it also presents the actions that should be taken in emergency situations.

The distribution of this guide was initially delayed due to the pandemic and, in no way, does it intend to put additional pressure on schools, which have been hard hit over the past year. The purpose of this publication is to share the valuable knowledge that has been gathered on food allergy management practices. The good news is that several of the recommendations included in the guide are similar to those that have already been put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

Additional Actions Being Taken

Over the past few years, Allergy Quebec has been working to raise awareness among elected officials about the need to standardize practices and to shape public policy to better address the concerns of both the parents of allergic children, as well as all those working in school environments.



* More specifically, Montreal’s Regional Public Health Department brought together people from a variety of settings and backgrounds to draft this guide. These include representatives from Montreal’s three French-language school boards and its two English-language school boards, the Quebec Federation of Private Schools (Fédération des établissements d’enseignement privés), the region’s five Health and Social Services Institutions (CIUSSS), the Pointe-Saint-Charles Community Clinic, various school childcare programs, Allergy Quebec, as well as school administrators, nutritionists, and allergists.

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