Canadian Autoworkers Union Adopts Ban Asbestos Resolution 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



While pro-ban support from two Canadian trade unions might be dismissed by asbestos lobbyists as insignificant, action taken on December 13, 2003 by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Union1 indicates that pro-ban support is growing in the Canadian labor movement; delegates to the CAW Council unanimously adopted the following resolution:

WHEREAS: The International Labour Organization estimates that 100,000 workers die per year from cancer caused by asbestos and unknown tens of thousands of other workers are dying from asbestosis and other asbestos related diseases, and

WHEREAS: Canada is the world's second biggest exporter of chrysotile asbestos, and

WHEREAS: Canada exports to the developing world where there are poor, if any, safeguards for the use of asbestos, and

WHEREAS: The Canadian government promotes the sale of asbestos to these countries by financing the Asbestos Institute, a Canadian based organization which has been lobbying for increased asbestos use around the world since the mid-1980's.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:  That  the CAW call on the Canadian Government to ban the export of asbestos; withdraw its financial and political support from the Asbestos Institute; work with the unions and communities involved to ensure a just transition for workers in the asbestos mines and surrounding communities and lobby for a world wide ban on the use of asbestos, and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:  That the CAW works to ensure all asbestos in CAW workplaces be removed and replaced with safe substitutes.

January 17, 2004


1 The 260,000 members of the CAW make it the largest private sector union in Canada; website:



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