An Ottawa father is angry after his two-year-old daughter was suspended from daycare for bringing a cheese sandwich to class.

The girl’s daycare says they had to suspend the girl because she had violated the daycare’s strict “no outside food” policy, meant to protect students with severe food allergies.

Randy Murray says on Monday morning, he gave his daughter Faith a cheese sandwich in a resealable bag as a snack for the car ride to her daycare, the Centre de l'enfant Aux 4 Vents.

He says he didn’t notice when she accidentally brought the sandwich into class. But a staff member noticed and informed Faith’s father that the girl was immediately suspended for three days.

“I thought they were kidding. I literally thought it was a joke. I smiled and laughed, but nobody else was smiling," he told CTV News on Thursday.

The daycare’s director, Deb Ducharme, says it doesn’t matter whether the incident was an accident. Parents are made fully aware of the rules and they have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to food, she says.

“Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of all children enrolled in our centres," she says.

Murray says the daycare’s rules are stricter than the rules he’s encountered at an airport. But Ducharme says food allergies need to be taken seriously.

“I don’t know if people are aware of how severe anaphylactic reactions, anaphylactic shock is. It can cause death,” she says.

The head of the Canadian Child Care Federation, Don Giesbrecht, says daycares do need to follow strict practices when it comes to food allergies.

“On the face of it, it would seem pretty severe to suspend," he says. “(But) it's a serious issue if there are life-threatening allergies in a school or a child care program in a workplace,” he says.

Faith's dad wishes the matter had been dealt with differently and that he had been given a warning first.

Ducharme says there are no plans to change the daycare’s rules and that Faith is welcome back after the suspension. But Murray says he’s now pulled Faith’s brother from the daycare as well and is looking for new child care options.

With a report from CTV News’ Katie Simpson