FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — April 28 marks B.C.’s Day of Mourning, to recognize workers who have lost their lives due to work-related accidents or occupational diseases.
This year, the BC Federation of Labour, along with the Canadian Labour Congress, Provincial Federations of Labour and unions across Canada, is calling for a comprehensive ban on asbestos.
According to the Federation, asbestos is the leading cause of work-related deaths in British Columbia and the rest of the country — with more than 145,000 workers are exposed to asbestos at their workplaces and over 2,000 diagnosed with fatal asbestos-related cancers and other diseases.
“We must eliminate workers’ exposure to asbestos and put an end to these preventable deaths,” a spokesperson for the Federation stated in a press release.
To that end, they’re putting pressure on the province to institute mandatory licensing of asbestos abatement contractors and provincially recognized certification of asbestos abatement workers.
They’re also asking cities to make it hazardous materials inspection reports mandatory, and require them to ask for confirmation that any abatement work was performed by a licenced contractor prior to issuing a permit for demolition, renovation or excavation.
In the Peace Region, workers will be remembered at noon today, with staff of the City walking from City Hall to the memorial site in Centennial Park. This event is co-sponsored by the City of Fort St. John and the BCGEU.
Across the Peace River, the City of Dawson Creek and CUPE Local 2403 are hosting a ceremony at the Workers Memorial, at 10105 12A Street from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.