Quebec investing $67M into sprinklers for seniors' residences

Quebec is increasing funding by $67 million to its program to ensure seniors' residences have sprinkler systems, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette announced Wednesday.

Following deadly L'Isle-Verte fire, province passed law requiring sprinklers in certain seniors' residences

In 2014, an overnight fire destroyed the Résidence du Havre seniors' residence in L'Isle-Verte, Que., killing 32 people and sparking calls to ensure residences be equipped with sprinklers. (infodimanche.com)

Quebec is injecting another $67 million into its program to ensure seniors' residences have sprinkler systems, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette announced Wednesday.

"We were told there's a problem, there isn't enough money and the administrative process is too complex. Adjustments were made," Barrette said.

The program was put in place in 2015, after the L'Isle-Verte seniors' home fire that killed 32 people the night of Jan. 23, 2014.

Résidence du Havre housed just over 50 seniors, including many who used walkers and wheelchairs and found themselves trapped in the burning building, which was not equipped with automatic sprinklers.

The extra funding will allow residences with fewer than 30 units to be fully reimbursed for installing sprinklers. Before, only 60 per cent of the cost was reimbursed.

The reimbursement rate will jump from 40 per cent to 80 per cent for residences with 31 to 99 units and from 20 per cent to 60 per cent for those with 100 units or more.

However, in 2015 the provincial government passed legislation that made automatic sprinklers mandatory in most seniors' residences. They have until December 2020 to comply.

That same year, the Quebec Seniors Housing Association said about one-third of Quebec's seniors residences had no sprinkler system at all.  

With files from Radio-Canada