Christina Gray, Minister of Labour, has issued the following statement in response to a federal asbestos ban:
“Protecting Alberta workers and preventing injuries and death is a top priority for our government. That’s why we are pleased with today’s announcement that the Government of Canada will fully ban the use of asbestos, a known carcinogenic mineral used in building materials, by 2018.
“The inhalation of airborne asbestos fibres can cause serious lung damage, including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Alberta has implemented strict requirements for employers working with asbestos-containing materials or in areas where asbestos is present. The routine use of asbestos in building projects in the past continues to cause deaths in Alberta today.
“We know that it generally takes about 20 to 40 years from the time of exposure for a worker to develop asbestos-related occupational diseases. Of the 125 occupational disease fatalities recorded by the Workers Compensation Board in 2015, 40 were directly related to asbestos exposure.
“A ban on new asbestos-containing products and the use of asbestos in new construction projects will help reduce worker exposure to this hazardous material. We support the Government of Canada’s decision to drastically reduce the risk of people coming into contact with asbestos on the job.
“I look forward to working with our federal counterparts on implementing this ban and making Albertans and all Canadians safer.”