Canada’s unions celebrate federal asbestos ban, now urging provinces and territories to follow suit

By Joan Wark
Leave a comment

The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour (NSFL) applauds the decision by the federal government to move towards a comprehensive ban of the manufacture, import, export, and use of asbestos by 2018.

NSFL President Danny Cavanagh says the credit for this win must go to activists from the labour movement, their families, and many other health and safety advocates on this exciting and important achievement to ban asbestos, an achievement that will save lives.

“We know that asbestos is the leading cause of many work-related deaths and it is estimated that every year more than 150,000 Canadian workers are exposed to asbestos at their workplaces, and tragically more than 2,000 are diagnosed with fatal, asbestos-related cancers and other diseases,” says Cavanagh.

In Nova Scotia there were some 704 WCB claims, with 629 of those from a single exposure in 2011. That was followed with 94 claims in 2012, 112 in 2013, 60 in 2014, 101 in 2015 and just over 70 in 2016. He says that its likely that those numbers will surprise many people because it’s something that isn’t discussed much.

Cavanagh says that the Federation of Labour will continue to push for the province to do their part and ensure a registry of buildings containing asbestos gets completed and plans for proper removal get in place.

“Now that the federal government has made this decision, it is time that our provincial Liberal Government steps up to do their part to protect workers and the public from exposure to this deadly substance,” says Cavanagh.                                    

Leave a Reply