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While speaking at Canada’s Building Trades Union Policy Conference in Ottawa on May 10th, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the federal government’s first commitment to move forward with a plan to ban asbestos.
Asbestos is the single largest on-the-job killer in Canada. About 2,000 Canadians die of asbestos-related diseases every year, according to the World Health Organization, many of which have been linked to asbestos exposure in the workplace. Many victims die of mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos, and asbestosis, a fibrosis of the lungs.
The Canadian Labor Congress also calls for legislation banning the use, import and export of anything containing asbestos, a national registry of all public buildings that contain asbestos, and a national registry of all workers diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases to be tracked by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.