Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario

NDP wants lead in school water fountains cleaned up fast

Published on November 28, 2017

Conservative's Brown guarantees $0 to addressing school repair backlog

QUEEN’S PARK—In question period on Tuesday, NDP Education critic Peggy Sattler demanded that Kathleen Wynne stop neglecting the danger of lead in drinking water at Ontario schools and child care centres, and finally fund repairs to fix the problem.  

In the past two years, drinking water at more than 640 schools and childcare centres has failed lead tests.

“There is no safe amount of lead in drinking water, especially for children, whose growing bodies absorb more lead than the average adult,” said Sattler. “As lead accumulates over time, it can affect children’s brain and nervous system development.  It is clear that flushing and testing is not a solution – recent lead tests show concentrations at some schools that are 100 to 300 times higher than the provincial standard. Western University engineering professor Clare Robinson says ‘for the lead issue, there's just really no quick fix’ and that all plumbing and fixtures containing lead should be replaced.”

“What is this Liberal government’s plan to replace the plumbing and fixtures at the 640 schools and childcare centres that have tested above the provincial standard?” asked Sattler.

Ontario schools face over $15 billion worth of required school maintenance and repairs. Kathleen Wynne’s failure to fix our schools let families down, and now families have been given reason to worry that things would only get worse with a Conservative premier. Patrick Brown's platform spends $0 to address the backlogged repairs needed in schools.

“Years of neglect under the Liberals and the Conservatives have resulted in a school repair backlog of over $15 billion, with serious consequences for the health and well-being of children,” said Sattler. “Under this Liberal government, school maintenance budgets are barely enough to keep schools from deteriorating further—there is no funding to proactively fix the backlog."

“We know that Patrick Brown and the PCs do not have a plan to bring Ontario schools up to the standards that our children deserve – their platform was silent on school maintenance and repairs.”