June 19th, 2024

Pasma Blasts Ford for Ignoring Overheated, Unsafe Schools

OTTAWA – With temperatures expected to reach 45 degrees with the humidex in Ottawa, NDP Education Critic Chandra Pasma is calling on the Conservative government to ensure that school children are properly protected from the heat. Many older schools lack air conditioning, leaving students sweltering in their classrooms.

"New Education Minister Todd Smith needs to get to work and ensure our kids are properly cool, hydrated and safe in their learning environments," said Pasma. "Students, teachers, and education workers are suffering in overheated classrooms, and it's unacceptable.

“Everyone’s focused on surviving and getting through the day instead of learning. I know it’s a particular challenge for workers who need to wear full-body protective gear and who can’t take breaks due to understaffing. It’s shameful that this government is leaving it up to administrators and staff to try to get kids safely through the day, instead of taking responsibility and ensuring that there is a provincial plan in place for extreme heat.

"We know that this government could address this problem today through dedicated funds to improve school infrastructure and investing in air quality and regulation. Our kids shouldn't be suffering heat stroke at school because of this government's neglect.

"Saying that this is the school boards’ responsibility, as Minister Smith has done, is insulting when the Ford government is massively underfunding school repairs, in-classroom supports, and mental health and special education. Does the Minister expect school boards to cut even more programming to try and provide temperature regulation?

We need the provincial government to address this before it's too late, especially as we’re seeing the number of very hot days increase due to climate change. This is a wakeup call."