Ruff: Canadian government bans asbestos – but not all Canadians will be protected equally

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By Kathleen Ruff, Ottawa Citizen, October 24, 2018

The Canadian government deserves praise for bringing in regulations to ban asbestos. That’s the good news. The bad news is that not all Canadians will be protected equally from asbestos harm.

After more than 100 years of mining asbestos, Canada has been left with a heritage of asbestos mining wastes that companies left behind. In Quebec, there are more than 800 million tons of asbestos wastes containing up to 40 per cent asbestos, often located near communities, close to schools and homes.

Projects are underway near the town of Asbestos, Que., to commercialize the asbestos wastes by extracting magnesium. The problem is that the asbestos industry left behind not only a polluted environment but also polluted public policy.