A year after 43 people were hospitalized after a carbon monoxide leak a Montreal elementary school, 20 per cent of Quebec’s schools still don’t have carbon monoxide detectors installed.
A spokesperson for Education Minister Jean-François Roberge confirmed that one in five schools across the province still do not have the protective equipment.
On Jan. 14, 2019, 35 children and eight adults were sent to hospital after becoming intoxicated by a carbon monoxide leak in des Découvreurs elementary school in Lasalle. The school was not equipped with detectors.
The incident did not cause any deaths.
Liberal MNA Marwah Rizqy said the government could be doing more to ensure compliance.
“Last year, Mr. Roberge sent a letter to all the school and all the school boards asking them to conform and he didn’t do the proper follow-up,” she said. “So now, today, we see that 20 per cent of schools don’t have the detectors”
School boards say they are doing the best they can to obey the directive.
“It’s not perfect,” said Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec spokesperson Alain Fortier.
English Montreal School Board (EMSB) spokesperson Mike Cohen said the school board took the directive very seriously. He said the moment the education minister sent out the new guidelines, the school board made sure all schools had the proper detectors.
The Lester B. Pearson School Board’s assistant director general, Carol Hefferman, said all its schools are well protected with the right detectors and alarms.
Rizqy, however, is calling on the government to do more to make sure that all schools across the province are protected, saying it would help if the Quebec Government contributed financially to the effort.
“I am asking the minister to do a very good follow up,” she said.
Rizgy hopes that in the coming weeks, every class in every school in the province will be properly equipped to avoid a similar disaster.
— With files from Global News’ Kwabena Oduro