Three CPE near highways: worried doctors ask Legault to step back

Three CPE near highways: worried doctors ask Legault to move back


Quebec plans to install three of its prefabricated CPEs near a highway, including one some 140 m from the expressways, which raises the concern of health professionals about exposure to pollution and noise.

“It is extremely important to protect children against the harmful effects of air pollution,” insists Johanne Elsener, member of the Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment (AQME). 

< p>She and her organization are asking the government to back down on the construction of the early childhood center (CPE) located a stone's throw from Route 132, in Brossard. The land, paid for $2 million, must also be decontaminated before the establishment of the daycare.

The CPE Plaisir d’enfant plans to set up a prefabricated daycare center (in red) near Route 132 (in blue), in Brossard.

“Our organization recommends not constructing sensitive buildings within 300 meters of a highway. And it would be preferable and ideal to have a buffer zone of 500 meters”, adds Dr. Elsener, who specifies that asthma, autism and leukemia are associated with contaminants in the air in children. 

Noise pollution

Not to mention noise pollution, which can eventually lead to language delays. 

“Building a daycare some 150 m from a highway is certainly not optimal,” says Tony Leroux, full professor at the school of audiology and speech therapy at the University of Montreal. The noise of the highway added to that of the CPE can cause, in the long term, to affect the development of language because the words are lost in the noise.

With some exceptions, since 2003 the State of California has prohibited the construction of new schools within 150 meters of a freeway. A similar bill is currently before the New York State Senate. 

Three other CPEs near the freeway

The analysis carried out by our Investigation Office also revealed that two other prefabricated CPEs will be located within a radius of 500 meters from a highway, and another some 650 meters from an airport. 

In the latter case, the AQME also asks the government to review the project, under the “precautionary principle”. 

The CPE The magic of dreams plans to set up a prefabricated CPE (zone in red) near the runways of the Val-d'Or regional airport (in blue).


“We know that airports emit a lot of ultrafine particles and studies report harmful health effects linked to these particles”, explains Dr. Elsener.

At the Ministry of the Family (MFA), we assure that all CPEs built must comply with the rules in force, in particular environmental, safety, soundproofing and ventilation standards. a factor taken into account by the government. The MFA has also refused to comment on the proximity of these establishments to a highway or an airport. 

Not ideal

At the Association québécoise des CPE (AQCPE), responsible for the call for tenders for prefabricated daycares, it is recognized that some sites do not have the “ideal” location, but that it is a question of the “best” option available.

“There are many factors to consider when doing a field search: child welfare, location, accessibility, cost, safety, health, environment. We then make an informed decision”, assures Geneviève Blanchard, strategic advisor, public and governmental affairs at the AQCPE.

Prefabricated CPEs, in brief  

– Project of 43 prefabricated CPEs in the factory, which should allow the creation of more than 3,000 new subsidized places

– Construction costs estimated at $116 million, financed by Quebec, but managed by the Association québécoise des CPE

– First deliveries scheduled for summer 2024 in all regions of Quebec, except Laval, Montreal and Nord-du-Québec. 

Problematic CPE projects:  

CPE Plaisir d'enfant

The CPE Plaisir d'enfant plans to set up a prefabricated daycare center (in red) in near Route 132 (in blue), in Brossard.

Brossard, Montérégie

Estimated construction cost: $2.1 million

Number of spaces: 60 children, including 10 infants

Stake: Located some 140 meters from Route 132 

The Magic of Dreams CPE

The Magic of Dreams CPE plans to set up a prefabricated CPE (area in red) near the slopes of the Val-d'Or regional airport (in blue).

Val-d'Or, Abitibi-Témiscamingue 

Estimated construction cost: $3.8 M 

Number of spaces: 80 children, including 20 babies 

Stake: Land located 650 m from the Val-d'Or regional airport 

CPE Jardins d'Honorine


Saint-Hyacinthe, Montérégie 

Estimated construction cost: $2 M 

Number of places: 55 children, including 15 children 

Stake: Located about 250 m from the ramp to Highway 20 (or 400 m from the expressway). 

CPE L'enfant-do de Memphrémagog

Magog, Estrie

< p>Estimated construction cost: $2.8 million 

Number of places: 80 children, including 20 infants 

Issue: Located some 350 m from the highway 10