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Stop the leading cause of workplace-related death in Canada #BanAsbestos

Today, On April 28, is the Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.  CBC reports for the first time organized labour has chosen to rally around one workplace health issue in particular: asbestos.

It’s estimated that asbestos-related diseases (like mesothelioma and lung cancer) kill more than 2,000 people ever year in Canada. Death from mesothelioma increased 60 percent between 2000 and 2012. Yet, just last year before losing power the Harper government actually made it easier to import products containing asbestos. CUPE National President Mark Hancock has stated,

“The Harper government showed a repeated disregard for the health and safety of Canadians. This Liberal government now has an opportunity to show that they do care—that the lives of countless workers across Canada matter to them,” and, “It’s time to catch up with the rest of the world. On April 28, we’re calling on the Trudeau government to ban the import, export and use of asbestos in Canada.”

“All forms of asbestos cause cancer,” says Gabriel Miller, director of policy and public issues at the Canadian Cancer Society. “There’s no known safe level of exposure to asbestos, so why are Canadians, particularly those who work in industries like construction and automotive repair, still being exposed?”

Asbestos is the leading cause of workplace-related death in Canada. It’s estimated that more than 2,000 people die every year from diseases caused by asbestos exposure. CAREX estimates that in Canada more than 150,000 Canadians are exposed to asbestos at work. Yet, asbestos imports into Canada are increasing: Canadian imports of asbestos grew from $4.7 million in 2011 to $8.2 million in 2015. It is a long established fact that asbestos kills and 56 other counties have banned asbestos. But a ban isn’t enough, there needs to be a national registry so Canadians know where they can be exposed and take precautions well we transition to an asbestos-free Canada.  The Canadian Labour Congress has outlines their key demands regarding this health epidemic.


The Council of Canadians fully endorses the demands regarding banning asbestos and implementing a national registry.

To sign the petition to ban asbestos in Canada: