Workers Health & Safety Centre

Campaigns build across Canada for asbestos ban

Danger: Asbestos. Cancer and lung disease hazard. Authorized personnel only.
More private members bills and an open letter to the Prime Minster are among the latest actions to hold the federal government to its promised ban on asbestos. 
Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey’s private member’s Bill 88, Asbestos Use Prohibition Act, 2016 passed first reading in the Ontario Legislature December 8. The bill sets out to ban the use, sale, import and transport of asbestos in Ontario and require the government to establish a register of publicly owned, leased buildings containing asbestos. Sarnia-Lambton, also known as Chemical Valley, has the highest rate of mesothelioma in the province. This aggressive and fatal lung cancer is linked to asbestos exposure.
The day before in Ottawa, Winnipeg Centre MP Robert Falcon-Ouellette’s Private Member's Bill C‑329 urged his own government to add asbestos to the list of banned products under the Environmental Protection Act. Months before, a similar bill Bill C-321 was introduced by Saskatoon West MP Sheri Benson which calls for an end to the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of asbestos or asbestos containing products that cause significant danger to the environment or to human life or health. Benson also introduced Bill C-292 which would amend the Canada Labour Code and establish an occupational disease registry for Canada.
Further pressure came last week with an open letter to Prime Minster Justin Trudeau from 68 Canadian organizations calling for a ban on asbestos and creation of an expert panel to assess asbestos management action going forward.
In April the federal government established the National Asbestos Inventory. It currently lists 2,184 properties owned or leased by Public Services and Procurement Canada, 714 of which contain asbestos. More than half are located in Ontario. Each building is required to have an asbestos management plan.
Labour, health and community advocates have been lobbying for years to convince the Canadian government to join more than 50 countries who’ve implemented comprehensive bans including Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Asbestos is the leading cause of recognized work-related death in Canada. More than 150,000 Canadian workers continue to be exposed to asbestos in their workplaces—50,000 in Ontario. Equally troubling, imports of asbestos-containing products including cement pipes and brake pads, grew from $4.7 million in 2011 to $8.2 million in 2015.
More than 2,000 Canadians die every year from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases including workers but also family members exposed to the deadly fibre while laundering contaminated clothes or simply exchanging a hug.
Want to know more about the wider asbestos prevention campaigns?  
WHSC information and resources on asbestos  
To learn more: 
Call:    1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a WHSC training services representative, or