The parents of a 16-month-old baby boy who died in an unlicensed East Vancouver daycare in 2017 are now suing Vancouver Coastal Health and the daycare’s owner Yasmine Saad.
B.C. Supreme Court documents show Shelley Sheppard arrived at the Olive Branch Daycare on January 18, 2017 to pick up her son Mac Saini, also known as Baby Mac.
As it said in the statement of facts, a fire truck was in front of the day care and she followed the firefighter inside.
“She saw that the day care was over crowded 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 up stairs and witness her son lying on the floor,” reads the statement.
Baby Mac was lifeless, grey in color and in the statement, Sheppard states she knew the worst was true, that he was dead.
The lawsuit said Baby Mac had been left unattended and had choked on an electrical cord causing his death.
Sheppard claims she saw Saad yelling and screaming and attempting to revive the toddler in a perfunctory way.
“Being present and witnessing the death and seeing his lifeless body was shocking and horrifying.”
The health authority which regulates day cares in the region documented five complaints against Saad from 2010 to 2016, four of those for having too many children.
The complaints were tied to daycares she ran at a number of different addresses with the operator using slightly different names.
Officers also received complaints that the daycare was being advertised by the owner as being licensed when it wasn’t.
“Despite their knowledge of the defendants’ multiple breaches, prior to Mac Saini’s death, Vancouver Coastal Health and the Ministry of Children and Family Development had never fined Saad for operating without a license, nor did they take any other steps to prevent the ongoing provision of unlicensed child care services by Saad despite her history of repeated breaches,” the documents read.
Following her son’s death, Sheppard said she suffers from several injuries including anxiety, depression, miscarriage and post-traumatic stress disorder, which has lead to loss of income.
The lawsuit claims in failing to take any action for prior breaches, both bodies contributed to a violation of Baby Mac’s rights to life and security.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.