The Parti Québécois government is launching an offensive against mould in Quebec schools, making $401.2 million available to repair buildings across the province.
Education Minister Marie Malavoy said $46 million of that money will go to 19 schools in which mould problems have been clearly identified and $30 million towards detection and prevention of mould.
The balance will go into the existing Réno-École fund to help schools across the province maintain their buildings.
“It is essential to have an accurate picture of the situation for the whole Quebec school system to establish follow-ups on this priority issue," said Malavoy in a statement.
As announced last February, the mould-plagued École Baril — an elementary school in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve which is part of the French-language Montreal School Commission (CSDM) — will be demolished and rebuilt with the newly available money because experts have determine the building is beyond repair.
Catherine Renaud, who is president of the Montreal Teachers Association and a member of the committee that has been pressuring the government to address mouldy schools, said these investments are a good start, but her group is already asking for another round of investments.
“We cannot wait, because presently there are people who are sick in these schools. We have teachers, we have other personnel, we have students also who are sick, so we need to act quickly and to invest quickly also,” said Renaud.
Renaud said every school needs a different approach to keep mould in check.
She said the group will meet in November to discuss how to continue to pressure the government.
The government said money to repair the schools is available right away, however, buildings have to be further inspected and contracts have to be awarded before work can begin.