Canadian Province Moves to Mandate Asbestos Reporting

by Sokolove Law

In a significant public health win, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan is set to require that all public buildings containing asbestos be placed on a government registry.

As reported in Design Build Source, the new mandate is part of the province’s Public Health Amendment Act which will become law shortly. The Act, also known as Howard’s Law (Bill 604), requires that public buildings with asbestos (including hospitals, schools and government offices) be included on the Saskatchewan Asbestos Register (SAR).

The registry was launched last November to honor the work of Howard Willems, an anti-asbestos advocate. Willems died last year of mesothelioma, the swift-moving and incurable asbestos-caused cancer. Willems believed he was exposed to the asbestos while working as a building inspector. As the co-founder of the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, he lobbied for a publically accessible asbestos registry right up until his death, according to Design Build Source.

However, the voluntary asbestos registry was largely ineffective because it did not include information to identify the asbestos’ location and its condition. Howard’s Law makes it mandatory to include all of the information necessary to protect construction workers and others at risk of a potential asbestos exposure.

According to Design Build Source, the Saskatchewan health officials believe that the new law will provide the community with easier access to information about where asbestos is located in public buildings, a crucial step in protecting the health of workers.

The United States does not currently have a national asbestos listing program. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did once have a registry in place called the National Asbestos Registry System. However, the current EPA Web site states, “The National Asbestos Registry System (NARS) Web page is no longer available. State and local agencies are no longer required to submit data uploads for inclusion in NARS.”

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation and to see if our mesothelioma lawyers can help you.

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