Government of Canada makes Asticou Centre available for Mont Bleu students

News release

October 10, 2018
Gatineau, Quebec
Public Safety Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians in response to emergencies.

Today, Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer, on behalf of Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Steve MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, announced the government is opening up its training centre in Gatineau to students of École secondaire Mont-Bleu for the remainder of the school year after fire caused by lightning damaged the school during the violent storm of September 21.

In the aftermath of the tornadoes that rampaged through parts of the Ottawa region and West Quebec, the Quebec Minister of Education submitted a “Request for Assistance” to the Government of Canada for the use of its offices and training centre at Asticou Centre in Gatineau. The centre is located only 2.7 kilometres from the high school.

Space in the Asticou Centre will be made available in early December 2018.  An assessment of the building was conducted to ensure that students would have an adequate and safe learning environment, and that current occupants of Asticou could be relocated with minimal disruption.

The Government of Canada is coordinating the movement of resources within Asticou so that students can occupy a segregated area of the complex.  Public servants and military personnel who currently work at Asticou will be moved to another area of the building or relocated to alternate locations, as necessary. Learning for public servants who attend Asticou for courses will be relocated.

The government is working to limit the impact on federal employees during this transition.


“This is great news for the students of Mont-Bleu and De l’Île high schools who’ll get back to a regular schedule at the earliest possible moment. The Government of Canada, working with all levels of government, is making a real difference. A big thank-you to the affected public servants for once again contributing to the post-tornado recovery.”

- Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer, on behalf of The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“As soon as the “Request for Assistance” came in our government answered the call and left no stone unturned to elaborate and put in place the best action plan to help the community and allow the students of Mont-Bleu to continue their school year within one of our facilities.”

- Steve MacKinnon, Member of Parliament for Gatineau, and Parliamentary Secretary to The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada

“We are thrilled to welcome this news, which will help students and staff at the École secondaire Mont Bleu and the École secondaire de l’Île resume their regular activities in an optimal learning environment. We wish to thank both levels of government for their untiring support. The speed with which the community mobilized, clearly shows its commitment to the success of students.”

- Mario Crevier, Chairman, Commission scolaire des Portages-de-l’Outaouais

“It is with relief that I have learned today that our call has been heard. I sincerely thank the Government of Canada and all direct and indirect stakeholders who have helped resolve the impasse in which we have found ourselves since the tornado struck. We can now rejoice for the thousands of students, parents and staff members who will be able to continue their school year in a more suitable environment that will foster success for everyone.”

- Maryse Gaudreault, Member of the National Assembly for Hull

Quick facts

  • About 1,500 students were displaced after lighting struck the Mont-Bleu school, September 21.

  • École secondaire Mont-Bleu will be closed for repairs for the remainder of the school year.

  • Responsibility for responding to emergencies rests primarily with the local municipal authorities and it will escalate to the provincial authorities if required. However, if an emergency escalates beyond their response capabilities, provinces or territories can request assistance from the federal government.  This process ensures that municipal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions are respected, that emergency response is well-coordinated and that the provision of resources can be expedited quickly at the national level when needed.


Scott Bardsley
Senior Advisor for Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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