About half of Quebec’s retirement homes still do not have fire sprinklers. Their owners do not have the means despite the availability of subsidies, deplores the Future Coalition Quebec, which calls for flexibility in the program.
The CAQ asked for a count in October and discovered that 926 seniors’ residences can count on sprinklers while 902 do not have sprinklers. The Régie du bâtiment du Québec gives them until 2020 to equip themselves and the Department of Health and Social Services has provided financial assistance to help them, after the tragic fire at l’Isle-Verte which has made 32 victims.
But the money is poured out. Only $ 1,165,990 has been committed since the program was launched in 2015, out of a projected budget of $ 116 million.
“The modalities of application are problematic. Smallholders are asked to pay the full cost and then the subsidy comes too late when the work is completed. It is spread over five years at two installments per year, “summarizes François Paradis, spokesman for health and seniors for the CAQ.
The member for Lévis was made aware by seniors’ homeowners who do not have enough income to pay for work that costs an average of $ 50,000 to $ 200,000 and, for the same reasons, do not have access to loans from financial institutions.
Program “too severe”
Bertrand Chabot, owner of the Seniors’ Residence of Portneuf which counts about ten residents, adds that “many things are not included in the grant”, as the expenses of architects and engineers for example. In his case, the installation of sprinklers is estimated at $ 68,000 and he thinks recover less than a third of this amount, even if theoretically its expenses should be reimbursed at 60%.
“All the owners agree to the sprinklers. We find that the program is too harsh, that the right to the security of the elderly is being removed. We are talking about people’s lives, not powdered potatoes! “He exclaims.
To help both, the CAQ calls on the Liberal government to grant subsidies more quickly, in fact as soon as the owners have plans and specifications signed by an engineer and they accepted the submission of a quote. certified contractor. Checks could then be made to ensure that public money is well invested.
In an interview Sunday afternoon, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Gaétan Barrette, accused the CAQ of doing “political maneuvers” because the government is consulting since this fall to update the program, which will be announced in January.
Mr. Barrette could not give details of this update for the moment, but he assured that all stakeholders in the community had been consulted. “I would say that we respond very significantly to the requests we have made, we understand the problem,” he said. With The Canadian Press