Ceilings in a number of Toronto public schools are showing signs of aging and are in need of repairs, according to a report obtained by CTV News.  

An investigation commissioned by the Toronto District School Board in March found that ceilings in 21 schools have been deemed a top priority for repairs.  A total of 24 rooms in those schools were placed in the “attention required” category of the report after investigators discovered problems ranging from cracks and minor water damage to gapping, overstressing and sagging.

“These deficiencies should be considered as a top priority for repairs,” the report stated.

The report was prompted by a 2010 incident at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute in which students were ushered out of the gymnasium minutes before a large section of ceiling collapsed onto the floor.  A subsequent investigation found that improper fasteners had led to the partial collapse.

In an effort to prevent similar incidents, the board assessed other schools with similar ceiling structures, but six months after the report was completed, the recommended repairs have not been made.  

Jimmy Hazel, president of the union representing workers who maintain the buildings said he’s worried what happened at Etobicoke CI could happen at another school if nothing is done.

While no deficiencies were identified as an immediate cause for concern, the report noted that the ceilings could be in danger of collapse “if left unresolved for a significant period of time.”

“It’s like not fixing the brakes on your car -- something is going to happen,” Hazel told CTV Toronto. 

But the union boss said he is not surprised the schools have not been fixed yet as the board faces a $3.5-billion backlog for repairs.

The TDSB said it has reviewed the report and determined the schools don’t pose safety concerns. The 21 schools have been added to a list of priority projects. The board said the repairs to the ceilings will be completed by June.

“We are always ensuring we have safe spaces and excellent programs and we would not compromise that,” said TDSB Chair Chris Bolton.

With a report from CTV Toronto’s Naomi Parness

Top priority schools:  

  • Bannockburn PS
  • Beverley Heights MS
  • Central Technical school
  • Danforth Collegiate
  • Dennis Avenue CS 
  • Earl Haig junior PS
  • Earl Haig SS
  • Eastern Commerce CI
  • Emery CI
  • Fairglen junior PS
  • FH Miller junior PS
  • Forest Valley Outdoor Education Centre
  • John A Leslie PS
  • John Wanless junior PS
  • Lawrence Park CI
  • Leaside HS
  • Malvern CI
  • Parkdale CI
  • Ryerson Community School junior and senior
  • Stephen Leacock CI
  • Woodbine junior HS