Childcare Testing

Radon In ChildCare Facilities

Alberta Bill 209 - Radon Awareness and Testing Act. What you need to know as the operator of a daycare/dayhome or as a parent or caregiver of a youth in these facilties:

East Calgary MLA Robyn Luff introduced Bill 209 on November 14, 2017 to address radon awareness and radon safety in child care facilities in the province of Alberta. On December 11, 2017 it passed third reading in the assembly and received Royal Assent on December 15, 2017. The bill has not yet come into force and will do so on proclamation. Although the date of proclamation is currently unknown, with the recent push by the Alberta Government for radon safety, proclamation is anticipated soon.

The bill covers two things, education materials ("radon awareness") and forced testing of child care programs ("testing act").
With regards to testing, the bill states the following:

3(1) Prior to a licence being issued or renewed for a child care program under section 4 of the Child Care Licensing Act, the director under that Act shall require an applicant to provide the director with the results of a radon test completed within one year immediately preceding the submission of the application within the premises where the child care program will be provided. (2) If the results of the radon test completed under subsection (1) exceed the acceptable radon level prescribed by the regulations, the director shall require the applicant to provide a plan to reduce the radon level in accordance with the prescribed standards.

In brief, child care facilities will need to perform radon testing in order to obtain or renew their licenses, and licensed facilities must meet a standard of safety, which likely will be in line with Health Canada's guidelines of 200Bq/m3.

If you are a child care facility operator, you should test your facility not only to be in compliance will the regulation, but also for your safety and the safety of the children in your care. Remember, lifetime exposure to even a relatively low level of radon of just over 200 Bq/m3 can represent more than a 2% chance of lung cancer. With just 50 children in the care of onee dayhome or childcare centre, one is statistically likely to develop lung cancer later in life - and that's just the risk for non smokers - with exposure to radon levels barely above current guidance.