NDP Welcomes Ban on Asbestos

NDP Labour Critic, Sheri Benson, issued the following statement today:

“Activists, labour groups and health and safety advocates have long called for a ban on asbestos, and the government’s announcement today is a welcome step in the right direction.  We hope that the changes announced today will mean that workers, as well as the public, will be better protected, and that Canada plays a leading role in eliminating asbestos in international trade.

The NDP has been calling for this ban for 20 years to successive Liberal and Conservative governments. We are now calling on the Liberal government to bring in legislation immediately so that these hard-fought gains will be respected by future governments.  I remain open to working with the government to ensure that a ban on this deadly substance is not only comprehensive, but that it is effective, and implemented without delay.

Canada also needs to have a searchable, user-friendly database of public buildings that contain asbestos to protect workers and members of the public from preventable exposure.

It’s also important that the government ensures just transition from workers in asbestos producing regions and industries.

New Democrats will continue to work on reversing Canada’s opposition to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, which will prevent the dumping of toxic substances such as asbestos on developing countries. If we are treating asbestos as a toxic substance, we shouldn’t wish it on anyone else.

Canada has been a world leader in the production, export and even the promotion of asbestos – we therefore have a moral obligation to be a world leader in diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related disease.”