Canadian Unions Call for National Ban on Asbestos.

This year’s National Day of Mourning event outside city hall included a call for a Canadian ban on asbestos.

Kevin Smith, president of the Grey Bruce Labour Council, said more than 2,000 people in Canada die each year from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.

“We have already made a difference by reducing hazards people face when working in confined spaces. We have promoted workplace protections for victims of domestic violence. Recognizing that not all injuries are physical, we are also taking on the stigma of mental illness and factoring it into what makes a workplace healthy and safe.

“This year, Canadian unions are calling for a national ban on asbestos. It’s time to end needless deaths and suffering that asbestos-related diseases cause,” Smith told a crowd of about 40 people who gathered for the event, which is organized by the local labour council and held each year on April 28 to honour and remember those who have been injured or killed on the job.

Asbestos in its raw form

MaryAnn Wilhelm of Owen Sound passed around a petition at the event that asks the federal Liberal government to ban the use and importation/exportation of asbestos in Canada.

Similar calls have been made by both the Canadian Labour Congress and Ontario Federation of Labour.

Grey Bruce Labour Council member Jeff Cronin, who served as emcee for the Owen Sound ceremony, appealed to the crowd to “make their views known about asbestos.”

Asbestos exposure is by far the leading source of workplace deaths in Canada, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada

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