Montreal mom describes bug infestation 'hell'

A Montreal mom who was forced to flee from her bug-infested apartment has taken her case to the Quebec rental board.

Mother and her 3-year-old son forced to leave subsidizing apartment because of cockroaches, bed bugs

A Montreal mom says she lost everything after her subsidized apartment was infested by bedbugs and cockroaches. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

A Montreal mom who was forced to flee from her bug-infested apartment has taken her case to the Quebec rental board.

Anne-Marie Berthiaume shared her emotional ordeal with CBC's Montreal's Daybreak.

“Me and my son have been going through hell and I have the feeling that I lost everything that I own,” she told CBC's Mike Finnerty.

“It’s very difficult, when I look at the picture of my son with a lot of bites.”

Anne-Marie Berthiaume and her 3-year-old son were forced to evacuate their apartment because of a bug infestation. (CBC)

She and her 3-year-old son were evacuated from their subsidized apartment in the Côte-Saint-Paul borough last month because of a bedbug and cockroach infestation.

A few days later, after Berthiaume was re-located to a new building, she said the Montreal municipal housing office gave her the go-ahead to move some of her furniture into her new apartment.

“They told me there would be no problem, ‘100 per cent guaranteed there’s no more bugs, we treated the problem, you can start bringing stuff to the new place,’” Berthiaume said.

Berthiaume asked a friend with a car to help her move some basic essentials — her TV, her DVD player and her microwave.

But Berthiaume said a surprise was waiting inside the microwave.

“My friend plugged the microwave on the counter, as soon as he plugged the microwave, five cockroaches came out.”

Berthiaume blames Montreal’s municipal housing office for not carrying out a thorough enough extermination.

She said they gave her the go-ahead to move her furniture before the infestation was properly addressed.

Nicole Halpert, spokeswoman for the municipal housing office, said she can’t talk about the specifics of Berthiaume’s case because it is now before the rental board.

But she said she is confident in their approach to dealing with bug infestations.

“In the case of low-income housing, because there's been a history for years, we do preventive visits and we know we the history of certain buildings that have a problem,” she said.

Halpert said the latest numbers show that 80 per cent of the cockroaches have now been eliminated.


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