KINGSTON, Ont. — The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU) supports the call on the federal government to create a national registry of asbestos in public buildings and for the ban on the use and import of asbestos endorsed by the European Union, Australia and other countries.
“Increasing rates of mesothelioma and other related cancers and respiratory diseases in Canada require dramatic measures to finally address the preventable public health tragedy of asbestos use,” says Sharon Richer, OCHU vice-president responsible for occupational health and safety.
There are well documented, serious public health risks of exposure due to the decades long deterioration in asbestos, which makes it friable and potentially air borne.
“CUPE has publicly demanded for decades that asbestos be banned and that its use be discontinued in order to prevent an occupational disease epidemic. Our members are potentially exposed in a host of occupational settings including public hospitals and in long-term care,” says Richer.
OCHU is calling on the federal government to require that public sector institutions report all of their facilities containing asbestos, to a national public registry. “The public and public employees have a right to know. We applaud the Vancouver Island Building and Construction Trades Council for raising this critically important issue,” says Richer.
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Vice-president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions