Workplace Health and Safety

Mesothelioma Awareness Day highlights the need for asbestos ban

September 26, 2016

September 26 is Mesothelioma Awareness Day in Canada. Asbestos – which causes mesothelioma – is the leading cause of work-related death in Canada, which is why Canadian unions are calling on the federal government to ban asbestos.

“As a mechanic, I was exposed for more than 20 years to asbestos contained in brake pads. To this day Canada imports similar products which contain asbestos, even though asbestos-free, Canadian-made alternatives exist. There is no excuse for putting Canadian families at risk,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff.

“More than 2,000 Canadians die every year from diseases like mesothelioma that are caused by asbestos exposure. This is about workers’ safety and it’s about public safety, which is why we are calling for the government to adopt a comprehensive ban on asbestos,” Yussuff added.

Canadian unions believe the legislation should ban the use, import and export of asbestos. This also includes:

  • Creating an expert panel to advise Parliament on implementation;
  • National registries of both contaminated buildings and cases of asbestos-related diseases;
  • A comprehensive health response to asbestos diseases;
  • Banning the use of asbestos-containing materials in federally-funded infrastructure projects;
  • Harmonizing regulatory standards for asbestos disposal;
  • Making sure Canada’s Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS 2015) requires that all asbestos-containing products are accompanied by lifesaving material Safety Data Sheets that warn workers of the presence of asbestos; and
  • Advocating for the addition of chrysotile asbestos to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) list of hazardous materials under the Rotterdam Convention.

 

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