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Montreal, Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapters call on Trudeau to list asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention

The Council of Canadians Montreal and Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapters have endorsed an open letter to the Trudeau government that calls on it agree to list chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention.

In December 2016, The Globe and Mail reported, “Canada will ban asbestos use by 2018, in what many health advocates hail as a victory for public health, albeit one that is long overdue. …For years, both provincial and federal governments had staunchly supported the country’s asbestos-mining industry, despite mounting evidence of the health risks the mineral poses.”

However, the newspaper also noted, “On the global stage, the federal government plans to ‘review its position’ on the listing of asbestos as a hazardous material before next year’s meeting of parties to the Rotterdam Convention, which is an international treaty. For years, Canada had opposed such a listing. The government didn’t clarify whether it will now support a listing.”

The letter signed by the two chapters notes, “In the December 2016 announcement, your government committed to update Canada’s international position on asbestos. Canada’s effort to update its international position on asbestos should be undertaken immediately without delay. The Conference of the Parties (COP) under the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, where listing of chrysotile asbestos are expected to be discussed, is scheduled between April 24 and May 5, 2017in Geneva, Switzerland.”

The Toronto Star explains, “Listing asbestos on Annex III of the convention would force exporters such as Canada to warn recipient countries of any health hazards. Those countries could also then refuse asbestos imports if they didn’t think they could handle the product safely. Canada has twice before played a lead role in blocking the inclusion of asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention, which operates by consensus.”

To read the letter drafted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers, please click here.

For an overview of the Council of Canadians calling for an asbestos ban over the past seventeen years, click here.