PCs Refuse to Invest in Classroom Ventilation Throughout Pandemic

July 22, 2021

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB—With mere weeks until the start of a new school year, the Manitoba NDP stood with parents to call on the PC government to upgrade ventilation in schools across the province. Government documents appear to show the PCs made little to no investments in school ventilation systems in the 2020/21 school year.

“Manitoba families want their kids to be safe when they return to school this September” said Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “The PC have fought this pandemic on the cheap since the beginning and its cost Manitobans their lives and their livelihoods. Now is the time to be proactive with investments, our kids deserve the highest standard of ventilation in their classrooms.”

A government document listing the education capital projects for the 2020/21 school year does not include any mention of ventilation upgrades. Education Minister Cliff Cullen has refused to commit to upgrading systems in schools over the summer.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says proper indoor ventilation can reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. Schools can use stand-alone ventilation units in classrooms, upgrade filters, or upgrade to full mechanical ventilation systems to flow outside air into buildings.

“The PCs are focused on the wrong things when it comes to our schools,” said Manitoba NDP Education Critic, Nello Altomare. “Instead of working to make classrooms safe, the PCs are focusing all their attention on pushing through Bill 64 before it’s even reached the committee stage. It’s time for the PCs to abandon Bill 64 and get to work on upgrading ventilation in our schools so kids and educators can go back to school safely.”