Posts tagged ‘Health and safety in schools’

July 21, 2014

The case against asbestos: Accidental exposure, entirely preventable

By KAT SIENIUC | Published Jul. 20 2014 by The Globe and Mail


It’s still regularly found in older schools and universities across Canada, wrapped around pipes, above ceilings and behind walls.

Though asbestos is the biggest workplace killer in the country, Health Canada is committed to the position that it’s only an issue when fibres become airborne and “significant quantities” are inhaled or ingested. While the Canadian government maintains it has “consistently acted to protect Canadians from the health risks of asbestos,” dozens of countries – including Britain, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Germany and Denmark – have banned it outright in recognition of the fact that exposure to fibres can cause various diseases, including mesothelioma and other cancers.

The World Health Organization has declared all forms of asbestos carcinogenic and recommends its use be eliminated; the International Agency for Research on Cancer has said there is no safe form of asbestos, nor is there a threshold level of exposure that is risk-free.

In Canada, many cash-strapped schools and universities follow Health Canada’s position that asbestos is safe if contained – abatement is wrapped into other renovation and repair projects, and teachers and staff are taught how to prevent accidental exposure. But despite the best of intentions, accidental exposure happens.

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January 23, 2014

Decay, contamination force elementary school students to relocate

Published Jan 20, 2014 by CBC News

A decision to relocate 260 elementary school-aged students to a school 15 kilometres away while their aging school is decontaminated has Montreal’s French-language school board facing some angry parents.

Parents of students in grade three and up at the CSDM’s É​cole des Nations in Côte-des-Neiges say they only found out in December about their children’s impending transfer to École Champlain, located just northeast of the Jacques-Cartier bridge.

“The parents were never consulted about the decision,” Munzoor Qadar told CBC News. “We were just told, dictated that we were all going to go to Champlain on the other side of Montreal.”

École des Nations is one of 27 schools in the CSDM system deemed in an “excessive” state of decay, according to school board documents obtained through Access to Information by CBC/Radio-Canada. That means it would cost as much if not more to renovate them than it would to rebuild them.

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October 15, 2013

Safe schools would keep young families in Montreal: Bergeron

By Lynn Moore | Published October 14, 2013 by THE GAZETTE

The offer of safe neighbourhood schools would help keep young families in Montreal, says Richard Bergeron, who wants the city’s mayor to have direct contact with school boards and Quebec’s education minister.

While too many inner-city schools were being sold to condo developers, new schools were popping up in suburbia, the Projet Montréal mayoral candidate said Monday.

“There has been a lack of leadership from the mayor of Montreal” who seemed indifferent to the outward flow of families, Bergeron said.

He and Projet Montréal candidates in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area pointed to three schools along a kilometre-long stretch of Adam St. All three are infested with mould.

École Baril is soon to be demolished while “parents are being kept in the dark” about the fate of École Hochelaga and École Saint-Nom-de-Jésus.

Projet Montréal wants that stretch of Adam and surrounding streets to be reconfigured for the safety of students, pedestrians and cyclists.

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February 16, 2013

Coalition seeks $1B to rid CSDM schools of mould

Published 13, 2013 by The CBC

A coalition of parents, teachers and support workers from the Quebec’s largest school board is demanding the government act to eradicate mould from the province’s schools.

The group said the Commission Scolaire de Montréal (CSDM), a French-language school board on Montreal island, does not have enough money to rid schools of mould.

In a news release, the Coalition for Healthy Schools at the CSDM said it is seeking $100 million annually over ten years from the provincial government to renovate or rebuild schools with a mould problem.

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December 1, 2012

Poor air quality in Quebec schools threatens children’s health, report finds

By Janet Bagnall | Published November 29, 2012 by the Montreal Gazette

The air quality in a number of Quebec elementary schools is unsatisfactory and risks harming pupils’ health and their ability to concentrate, the province’s acting auditor, Michel Samson, said in his annual report Thursday.

Samson criticized the school boards for failing to carry out inspections, or even understand what it is they are supposed to do, as well as the Education Department for not requiring school boards to file regular reports on the quality of air in schools even in the case of major problems.

Children subjected to poor air quality suffer from headaches, fatigue and coughs and have difficulty concentrating. The symptoms of children with asthma or other respiratory ailments become aggravated. Teachers forced to breathe substandard air are less productive, the auditor said.

The auditor’s office investigated three school boards, one in Montreal, the Commission scolaire de Montréal, and two elsewhere in the province, inspecting two schools within each board. None of the three boards carried out visual inspections of the school buildings, thereby missing such problems as poor roof drainage, fissures in the brick veneer and foundation, high levels of humidity in crawl spaces and the presence of mould, the auditor found. The CSDM is responsible for the well-being of 51,000 pupils in its 87 elementary schools.