Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

November 21, 2016 12:31 ET

Private member's bill banning asbestos gets support in Saskatoon

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - Nov. 21, 2016) - Canada's unions are supporting a private member's bill that would legislate a comprehensive ban on asbestos and all products containing asbestos in Canada.

At a news conference today in Saskatoon, Sheri Benson, MP for Saskatoon West and NDP Labour Critic, Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), and Jesse Todd, Chair of the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and stepson of Howard Willem (Howard's Law) spoke about the impacts of asbestos-related illnesses and the importance of a comprehensive ban on asbestos in Canada.

Last week, Ms. Benson introduced a private member's bill called An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (prohibition of asbestos), which would prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of certain toxic substances that cause significant danger to the environment or to human life or health.

"This is a non-partisan issue and I am open to working with the government to end asbestos use in Canada," said Benson, "but any delay means more lives will be affected. The epidemic of asbestos-related deaths must stop. I hope that this bill will have the support of the government, and every Member of Parliament."

More than 2,000 Canadians die every year from diseases caused by asbestos exposure, like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Death from mesothelioma increased 60 percent between 2000 and 2012.

Internationally, the World Health Organization reports more than 100,000 asbestos-related deaths per year.

"This is about protecting workers and their families. We need immediate action on a national plan for a comprehensive ban everywhere in Canada, so everyone is protected," said Hubich.

"Asbestos doesn't discriminate. There are still far too many stories of asbestos exposure in Canada. There is no reason to delay legislation any longer," said Todd.

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