Daycare operator denies wrongdoing in Vancouver toddler's 2017 death

VANCOUVER — The operator of a Vancouver daycare where a toddler was found dead more than two years ago is denying responsibility for the death.

In court documents filed with the British Columbia Supreme Court, lawyers for Suzy Saad say the death was a tragedy but not the result of negligence.

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They say Saad met the requisite standard of care and acted in accordance with provincial law.

Macallan (Mac) Saini was found dead at the Olive Branch Daycare in East Vancouver on Jan. 18, 2017.

A lawsuit filed by the toddler's mother, Shelley Sheppard, alleges he choked on an electrical cord and claims he died in the facility because he was left alone.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Documents filed with the court also accuse Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and the Ministry of Children and Family Development of failing to warn parents or close the facility despite multiple complaints of overcrowding or operating without a licence.

The health authority and ministry say they in no way contributed to the 16-month-old boy's death.

The ministry said in February that it never received or investigated complaints about Saad operating an unlicensed daycare with too many children in care.

The health authority says four complaints against Saad of too many children were investigated at different addresses over seven years, and each was "dealt with by the licensing officers in exercise of their discretionary powers."

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