MONTREAL -- In the wake of the withdrawal of masks that pose a health risk in the province's schools and daycare centres, the union representing workers in those settings (CSQ) is asking Quebec to close down establishments where the protective equipment is not compliant, starting Monday.

The masks SNN200642, from the supplier Metallifer (that imported the masks from China), were the subject of a Health Canada notice on Thursday, and the next day, the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services issued a news release indicating that in addition to ceasing distribution, it was asking the networks to store the boxes of masks in a safe and isolated place as early as possible.

The ministry said that masks from other suppliers are available to ensure continuity of services.

The CSQ called it "appaling" that "potentially dangerous" material has been distributed to staff on the eve of a third wave.

The union is also asking the government to verify who authorized the deployment of these masks.

The CSQ believes that this incident "confirms once again that the health and safety of education and early childhood staff are not taken seriously by the Quebec government."

Last December, the Ministry of Families requested the removal of non-compliant masks that had been in use for months in the province's daycare services.

At the time, it was the mask's filtration that was at issue, since it was not 100 per cent effective.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2021.