Election Issues

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Provincial Position: Reporting of asbestos in all public buildings needs to be a mandatory part of the online registry in Saskatchewan. We are asking for support in advocating for amendments to The Public Health Act which would require an electronic registry of all public buildings in Saskatchewan that contain asbestos and the detail of its encapsulation.

Thank you to our donors, supporters, volunteers, staff and all members of the Legislative Assembly for supporting bill 604. We are now waiting for it to be proclaimed so that more lives can be saved.

Saskatchewan is the first province in Canada to set up an on-line registry for reporting asbestos in public buildings; however there are no legal requirements for schools, health care facilities, and other public places to submit a list of their buildings to that registry.

With your support, Howards Law would change that.

The Canadian Cancer Society, the Lung Association of Saskatchewan, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization which includes members of Howard Willems’ family strongly believe that in order to be an effective comprehensive registry, it must be mandatory. The late Mr. Howard Willems brought this issue to the forefront as he struggled with his own cancer caused by exposure to asbestos as part of his work as an inspector.

  • All forms of asbestos cause cancer and creating a mandatory public registry is a crucial first step to make sure that Saskatchewan residents are not exposed to this harmful substance.

  • We commend the provincial government for taking the lead in Canada by developing a registry however that registry should be mandatory. The public has a right to know if the building they work in, the school or daycare their child attends or the nursing home their parent lives in contains asbestos.

  • Asbestos is the leading cause of industrial cancers and deaths in Canada. Howard Willems from Saskatoon recently died of an asbestos related cancer (mesethelioma) at the age of 59 because of exposure to asbestos on the job. He was an inspector with Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

  • Most of our schools and healthcare facilities are more than 30 years old which means we can assume they contain asbestos. All occupations that may be affiliated with working within these buildings have a right to know if those buildings contain asbestos as do the students, teachers or healthcare workers who are in those buildings while those renovations are being done. A parent has the right to know if whether the school has taken the proper steps to ensure the safety of everyone in that school while it’s under the renovation. 

  • A public opinion poll released in October by the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Medical Association found that the majority of Canadians – 82% – believe a public registry of buildings that contain asbestos is important. Here is the link to the poll.

  • The registry is a place to start to give people the information we have but obviously we would have to continue to make the list as complete as possible.  The list is one tool.  It doesn’t mean that if you’re not on it, you should assume the building is asbestos free.  The public should assume that any building more than 30 years old contains asbestos and necessary precautions should be taken if that asbestos is going to be disturbed in any way.


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LINKS OF INTEREST
HOWARD WILLEMS

A food plant inspector was exposed to asbestos while working in older buildings.

Howard Willems, 59, who lives in Saskatoon, contracted mesothelioma - a rare form of cancer - while inspecting a number of older food plants in Saskatchewan. The rare form of cancer linked to asbestos contained in the buildings.

Willems is demanding the federal government establish a national registry of buildings that contain the hazardous fibre.

Read the article on CBC...


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