NEWS

Sam Hamad announces new sprinkler requirements for seniors' residences

02/17/2015 09:33 EST | Updated 04/19/2015 05:59 EDT
The Quebec government is making automatic sprinklers mandatory in most seniors' residences following the coroner's report into the L'Isle-Verte tragedy.​

Labour Minister Sam Hamad made the announcement Tuesday in Quebec City.

"After L'Isle-Verte, we had the obligation to act to make sure such a tragedy never happens again," Hamad said.

Hamad said residences without sprinkler systems will have a transition period to install them, and the province will also provide them with funding to be announced in the next budget.

Smaller facilities could be excluded if they meet certain requirements, he said.

The coroner's report, released Feb. 12, looked into the factors that contributed to the deaths of 32 people after a fire swept through a seniors' residence in L'Isle-Verte, Que., last January.

The wing of the Résidence du Havre​ that burned to the ground was not equipped with automatic sprinklers.

Making them mandatory was one of Coroner Cyrille Delâge​'s key recommendations.

Delâge​ had strong words last week for some owners of seniors' residences and politicians whom he said might be angry his recommendations will cost money, as retrofitting older homes with sprinklers can be quite costly.

"Let them (be angry) up until the moment that another disaster like this one happens again," he said.

"They'll have to explain to their constituents why they did nothing."

On Monday, the Quebec Association of Fire Chiefs said it agrees with many of the recommendations outlined in the report and urged the province to take swift action.

MORE:cbcNews