Public schools | Drainville maintains existing mixed toilets, but prohibits new ones

(Quebec) Bernard Drainville officially prohibits school service centers from installing new mixed toilets and building them in new schools, but he will not touch the 301 buildings which to date only have mixed toilet blocks because he is “pragmatic”, he says.

Quebec published Wednesday in the Official Gazette a directive from the Minister of Education which rules on the question of mixed toilets in the school network, even if the government has mandated a committee of “wise men”, paid between $114,200 and $119,600 each, to submit a report in winter 2025 to guide it in its actions regarding issues concerning trans and non-binary people.

Concretely, Mr. Drainville prohibits the conversion of toilet blocks into mixed toilets in schools and their installation in the construction of new schools. On the other hand, educational establishments whose construction is more than 30% underway will be able to keep their mixed toilets in order to avoid changes to the plans and specifications, which would cause delays.

To date, said the minister, there are 1,453 mixed sanitary blocks in the network out of 12,667. There are also 196 mixed changing rooms out of 4,448. According to figures compiled by Quebec, 301 schools out of 3,104 only have mixed sanitary blocks, and the directive will not change anything for them.

“From now on, for future schools, there will be a boys’ toilet block, there will be a girls’ toilet block and there will be individual mixed and universal toilets. It’s an excellent compromise,” said Mr. Drainville, who said he was “proud” of his directive.

A diversion?

For Québec Solidaire (QS) MP Alexandre Leduc, the government’s directive is a diversion. While first-year students in a Montreal elementary school have seen around fifteen people pass through their class since September, Mr. Drainville is talking about toilets, he lamented.

“I cannot understand that it is a priority of the Minister of Education in Quebec at the moment to ban mixed toilets. It doesn’t fit in my head. Doesn’t he have anything more important than that to deal with? Is that what he wants to invest his time and energy on? “, he blurted out.

“It didn’t stop me from sleeping in mixed toilets. It seemed to me to be an excellent exercise in distracting the minister who is not capable of having teachers, who is not capable of having an education system on the meaning of the world,” he added. .

The PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, for his part, believes that the Minister of Education’s decision constitutes “grand cru ciquism”, since he appointed a committee of “wise men” to look into this question, but that he did not wait for her recommendations before acting.

“I think it’s an orientation that is reasonable, but it has not been studied and it has not been the subject of a recommendation from a committee of wise people, which serves what purpose, otherwise? “, he said.

For her part, Minister of Families Suzanne Roy, head of the committee of “wise men”, affirmed that the directive is “clear” and “benevolent”.

“What is important is to live and let live. Let there be a place for everyone. Trans children or children questioning gender are extremely rare. So the idea is that we can meet their specific needs. I think that the universal toilet block allows us to do that very, very well,” added the minister responsible for the fight against homophobia and transphobia, Martine Biron.

With Charles Lecavalier, The Press

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