Workers remove asbestos panels (© Can Stock Photo / LianeM)

Asbestos Ban Announcement A Victory For Local Activists

The federal government is committing to a complete ban on asbestos by 2018 — and it’s being called “a great Christmas present” by the Windsor and District Labour Council.

WDLC second vice-president Brian Hogan sees the decision as a victory for those who have suffered from the cancer-causing material and plans to celebrate the ban with them.

“Certainly reaching out to our citizens that have lost loved ones,” says Hogan. “Start making some phone calls and perhaps going out for a cup of coffee or something like that and raising a toast to the loved ones that they lost.”

The labour council was part of the Canada-wide movement pushing for a ban on asbestos which was able to get local support over the summer.

Hogan feels the push from campaign’s like the one carried out by the labour council helped pressure the government to bring the ban forward.

“The Liberals did say they were onside during the federal election and we pushed them in the summer, we pushed them again on Labour Day,” says Hogan. “Perhaps this extra push got them to say, ‘OK let’s move this thing to the top of the agenda.”

The ban, announced on Thursday, would cover asbestos and asbestos-containing products by 2018.

Hogan wouldn’t mind seeing it happen sooner though.

“We’ll keep nudging them and say, ‘Hey, nothing wrong with trying to pick up the pace,'” says Hogan.

Asbestos mining in Canada ended in 2011 with the closure of two mines in Quebec, but activists continued to push for years for a total ban. The substance is still used in Canada in products like brake pads, tubes and pipes.