OTTAWA — Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) is commending the federal government for closing out 2018 with a ban on the use of asbestos and products containing asbestos.
“The federal government’s announcement to ban asbestos reflects their commitment to the health and safety of the Canadian workforce and shows they have delivered on another one of their commitments since coming to office,” said Robert Blakely, chief operating officer of the CBTU, in a statement.
“The CBTU has been lobbying on this issue for years, because workplace exposure to asbestos is one of the leading causes of workplace-related death within our affiliated unions. We now need governments at municipal, provincial and territorial levels to work with the federal government to develop a comprehensive strategy to account for and remove — safely — this substance from our existing buildings to lessen the impact on future generations of workers going forward.”
Canada is joining 55 other countries that have banned the use of asbestos.
Mesothelioma, the cancer related to asbestos exposure, can take 20 to 40 years to develop and begin causing symptoms, states a release, adding about 60 per cent of those affected die within a year of diagnosis, and the five-year survival rate is less than seven per cent.
“While this announcement will reduce the chances for asbestos exposure in the next generation, we still have a lot of work to do around the legacy of asbestos which includes a public registry of buildings with asbestos, regulations around asbestos exposure, safe removal and disposal of asbestos from current buildings and compensation for victims,” added Blakely.