The operator of an unlicensed daycare in Vancouver has spoken out for the first time since 16-month-old Baby Mac died in her care back in 2017, denying any wrongdoing in his death.
Macallan Wayne Saini, also known as Baby Mac, died in January 2017 at Olive Branch Daycare in East Vancouver, after he choked on an electrical cord while unattended, according to court documents filed by his mother, Shelly Sheppard, in September 2018.
Daycare operator Yasmine Saad, one of five defendants listed, denied any negligence in the baby’s death, according to her response to Sheppard’s claim earlier this week, or that she breached the standard of care, in accordance with B.C.’s Community Care and Assisted Living Act.
“The death was a tragedy but not the result of any negligence,” her response reads.
Sheppard said she has suffered fatigue, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder since her son’s death. She is seeking damages, including for loss of earnings, as well as a declaration by officials that Baby Mac was deprived of his right to life and security.
Saad was “yelling and screaming and attempting to resuscitate Mac Saini in a perfunctory way,” Sheppard alleges.
The suit further alleges Saad allowed her unlicensed daycare to become overcrowded and did not keep it “safe and suitable” for children.
Vancouver Coastal Health, the Ministry of Child and Family Development, and building owners Karen Pearl Kruse and Peter Andrew Scott are also defendants.
All have denied the allegations.
Sheppard claims the health authority and children’s ministry were aware of and had investigated multiple complaints of the daycare operating without a licence, dating as far back as 2010.
Vancouver Coastal Health has denied it had any such knowledge.
The ministry has said it never received nor investigated any complaints about Saad, noting that it does not regulate daycares, but does oversee and register early childhood educators and assistants. Saad did not apply for, or hold, certification as either.
The two building owners have filed documents saying they were not aware that a daycare was operating in the unit rented by Saad, and deny that they have breached any duty of care or obligation.