Ottawa, Ontario -- December 7, 2016 -- Canada's auto recyclers have another ally in the fight to ban asbestos imports. In fact, there are multiple allies from across the country. An open letter was submitted to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on December 7 that calls for a comprehensive asbestos ban.
The letter was signed by a total of 68 groups, including a number of large unions, the Canadian Teachers' Federation and the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario. More than 50 individuals, including many doctors and scientists, also signed the letter calling for the ban. The letter also says that Canada should follow Australia's lead in establishing a process for reviewing asbestos management.
Asbestos can cause extremely serious health and safety issues for recyclers who must work with parts containing the substance, typically aftermarket brake pads.
Asbestos brake pads are not currently in use by any OEMs, but aftermarket brake pads are still one of the largest categories of asbestos containing products imported into the country. In the last 10 years, Canada has imported more than $100 million in asbestos brake pads and linings.
More than 50 countries have completely banned asbestos, but Canada isn't one of them. We were one of the biggest producers of the substance until 2011 when the last mine closed, according to a report in the Globe & Mail.