Over $10,000 raised! Thank you to all who participated and donated to Mission for Meso 2023!
News & Events
The Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation held a fundraising and awareness raising event with award-winning photographer and filmmaker, Louie Palu, at the Stephen Bulger Gallery, 1356 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario M6J 1Y2.
Louie provided a guided tour of his photos documenting the harm of exposure to asbestos. His beliefs have been shaped growing up as the son of an immigrant construction labourer in Toronto's Italian community.
Palu's work has been published worldwide, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic and the Globe and Mail. His work is in the collections in museums such as the National Gallery of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Smithsonian. The exhibition was followed by a ScotiaBank Contact Photo Festival Special Event with Rebecca Senf, Curator Center for Creative Photography Arizona discussing Louie's work.
Although asbestos is now banned in Canada, people continue to be exposed to asbestos because of its prevalence in our built environment. Asbestos-related diseases continue to be the number one cause of workplace deaths.
Funds raised go to support Meso patients and their families in many ways including support groups, information on diagnosis and treatments, advocacy to prevent further exposures, and we provide funds for research to improve diagnosis, treatments and help find a cure. But most of all we provide hope to those who receive this devastating diagnosis.
Many thanks to our sponsors:
On Friday, September 16th, CBC Vancouver reported that WorkSafeBC has issued a fine of $710,488.79 for asbestos violations at a work site in Kimberly, BC. The fine, which is the highest administrative penalty that WorkSafeBC has ever handed out, was levied against GFL Environmental because it failed to provide workers with personal protective equipment while they were conducting asbestos abatement work on a commercial building that had been damaged by fire and was believed to be cross contaminated with asbestos-containing materials. During a post-demolition inspection, WorkSafeBC inspectors witnessed "one of the firm's workers inside the containment area, loading debris into disposal bins with an excavator. The worker was not wearing personal protective equipment ... and exited the excavator, still within the containment area, without PPE." In a written statement, WorkSafeBC said "the firm failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety". All of the violations were high risk violations.
To read the CBC article: WorkSafeBC fines waste management company $710K for asbestos violations
“More than half of all work-related fatalities are from occupational diseases, of which the majority are from exposure to asbestos. We cannot, and will not, tolerate employers endangering the lives of workers. There are profound consequences for this kind of egregious disregard for worker health and safety."
– Al Johnson, Head of Prevention Services, WorkSafeBC
In November 2021, a contractor in B.C. was charged with offences under the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation for knowingly exposing between 13 and 15 workers to asbestos-containing material (some of whom worked for a third-party contractor). At a hearing in BC Provincial Court in March 2022, the contractor pleaded guilty and was fined $20K, plus a victim surcharge. In addition, he was prohibited from owning or operating a waste transfer facility or any other business that involves the management, handling, or disposal of asbestos-containing material for three years. Crown counsel submitted that the contractor had committed the offences in order to avoid the cost and responsibility of cleaning up an asbestos-contaminated worksite. Click here to read what WorkSafeBC says about this case.
Although banned in Canada in 2018, asbestos is still very much a part of the built environment and is found in more than 3,000 common building materials. As noted on WorkSafeBC's website, these include vinyl and linoleum flooring, stucco, loose-blown insulation, roof felt shingles, gypsum board filling compound, incandescent light fixture backings, and deck under-sheeting, among others. For that reason, it is really important that before renovating or demolishing a home or any structure built before 1990, all asbestos-containing materials be first identified by a qualified asbestos testing company or surveyor and then be safely removed by a qualified asbestos abatement contractor. WorkSafeBC's asbestos resources and information can be found here.
In March 2022, the BC Government amended Part 2 (Occupational Health and Safety) of the Workers Compensation Act to require that asbestos abatement contractors be licensed to operate in British Columbia, and that workers and employers who perform this work must complete mandatory safety training and certification.
Heidi Von Palleske, Canadian actor, writer, and poet urges you to help CMF.
Again this year, the Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation isn't able to hold its usual in-person event or conference. We rely on online fundraising to support mesothelioma patients and their families and to help find a cure. This year's online fundraiser, Mission for Meso, was a big success with more participants and more donors than ever! Thank you for your continuing support of the CMF!
Actor Heidi von Palleske kindly joined the CMF and promoted the campaign. Thank you Heidi! and thank you to all who took part and, most importantly, to all of our donors and supporters! Click here to see Heidi's video.
The CMF couldn't hold its main annual in-person fundraiser or hold a conference again this year because of the continued pandemic. A big heartfelt thank you to our sponsors without whom we couldn't provide the support for mesothelioma patients and their families, research on diagnosis, treatments, and a cure.
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793
Hotel & Restaurant Workers, Local 779 (Nfld & Labrador)
The CMF is very proud to announce that we now have a new Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation Professorship in Mesothelioma Research at University Health Network (UHN). This new professorship will help support mesothelioma research and may encourage medical students to pursue further medical training and research in this area.
To mark this momentous achievement, the UHN held a virtual celebration on April15, 2021 honouring the Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation and Dr. de Perrot in the new Professorship made possible with your donations and support.
You are invited to view the celebration at your convenience: Link to livestream: https://youtu.be/PH7UrBb93uU
"The company has faced thousands of lawsuits from cancer patients who claim that its talc was contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen, and that the company knew of the risks."
- By Tiffany Hsu and in the New York Times, May 19th, 2020
In a developing story, the New York Times is reporting that Johnson & Johnson announced today (May 19, 2020) that it is discontinuing North American sales of baby powder made with talc. According to the article, Johnson & Johnson "would wind down sales over the next few months, allowing existing bottles to be sold by retailers until they run out. Baby powder made with cornstarch will remain available, and talc-based baby powder will continue to be sold in other parts of the world."
To read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/19/business/johnson-baby-powder-sales-stopped.html
Johnson & Johnson's consumer announcement can be read in full here: https://www.jnj.com/our-company/johnson-johnson-consumer-health-announces-discontinuation-of-talc-based-johnsons-baby-powder-in-u-s-and-canada
The CMF will continue to monitor this story and will publish updates as they emerge.
Media Release CANADA COMPLETES LONG ROAD TO ASBESTOS BAN REGULATION: Pivotal to halt use in products, stop exposure October 18, 2018 Immediate Release Toronto – The use of asbestos and asbestos containing products will no longer be permitted in Canada as of December 30, 2018 under regulations passed today by the Canadian government. Canada now joins over 55 countries that have banned the use of asbestos. This regulation, supported very widely in Canada, is an essential step to stop asbestos exposure and protect health of workers and the public. “We commend the government of Canada for taking this critically important step to radically reduce future exposure of Canadians, especially workers, to the harms of asbestos,” states Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel, Canadian Environmental Law. “This ban marks a necessary shift in Canada’s history with asbestos use, manufacture, import and export.” The regulation prohibits the import, use, sale, manufacture and export of asbestos and products with asbestos, and outlines permitting and reporting regimes for a narrow range of allowable uses. “Eliminating the use of asbestos provides an opportunity for innovation to find safe alternatives to the use of asbestos, for example brake pads and asbestos cement pipes. This will create jobs in Canada.” states Alec Farquhar, Coordinator, Asbestos Free Canada “The regulation requires accountability and reporting to the public. That’s a good thing! Stockpiles of asbestos and products containing asbestos, for example, are not allowed once the regulation is in place.” There were approximately 530 new cases of mesothelioma in 2011 and 1900 lung cancer due to asbestos. “The number of new cancer due to asbestos continues to rise and we have to do everything possible to stop this.” said Paul Demers, Director, Occupational Cancer Research Centre. “The Victims of Chemical Valley for Asbestos & Occupational Diseases congratulate the Canadian Government for their first step in the banning of Asbestos. First steps are always important and look forward to seeing actions around the legacy issues and the creation of building a registry and medical registry. Moving towards keeping all Canadians safe from future exposure to asbestos.” States Sandra Kinart, Chair, Victims of Chemical Valley for Asbestos & Occupational Diseases. The regulations will result in substantial changes in asbestos use in key industry sectors such as construction and automotive, however, narrow exclusions remain for asbestos use including for a chlor- alkali plant until 2029, military equipment and nuclear facilities and reuse of mining residues and road materials. “The Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation commends the government for taking this important action in banning asbestos in Canada. This is a wonderful first step. Those of us who have been personally touched by mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, are extremely appreciative of this important development. We recognize the need to also deal with the legacy asbestos in our country, and look forward to working with the government and other stakeholders to move this forward.” said Eudice Goldberg, MD, FRCPC, Chair, Board of Directors, Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation. “The legacy of asbestos contaminated workplaces is one we will need to address with strong enforcement measures and coordination with all Federal-Provincial-Territorial Occupational Safety and Health authorities. Best practice health and safety management systems and ongoing joint prevention efforts by workers and employers are essential if we are to protect Canadian workers from further exposures.” said Larry Stoffman, Legislative and regulatory Affairs (OSH), United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518. “Eliminating high exposure limits (Quebec is 10 times higher than elsewhere) and phasing out continued use of asbestos mining residues will be essential steps we need to take.” "Our members have been determined to see a ban on asbestos use in Canada for a long time – that day is finally coming" said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “We will celebrate this announcement today, but we must never forget the people that have suffered in the past or continue to suffer today from the asbestos related disease. Our governments could have done so much more, so much earlier on.” Dias stated. “Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) are very proud of the role that they have played in convincing the Trudeau government to agree to ban asbestos. For the sake of our members, their families, loved-ones, and all workers in general, we’ve tried to move the yardstick on this file for years. We are sincerely appreciative that the Liberals took the bold and necessary steps to make this happen!” said Arlene Dunn, Deputy Director, Canada’s Building Trades Unions. “That’s a significantly historic achievement and they are to be commended for it! We still have lots of work to do around dealing with the legacy of asbestos, which includes things like registries and regulation of all asbestos exposure locations, funding and proper training for effective remediation and, compensation for the many victims. This time around, we feel confident that we have the right partner to get it done!” “The BC Federation of Labour applauds new federal government regulations to ban asbestos in Canada as of December 30, 2018. The legacy of asbestos-contaminated workplaces will need to addressed with strong enforcement measures and joint worker-employer prevention strategies that are coordinated with all federal, provincial and territorial occupational health and safety authorities.” said Nina Hansen, Acting Operations Manager, BC Federation of Labour. “Canada is turning off the tap on asbestos use in our country.” states Laura Lozanski, Canadian Association for University Teachers. “There are remaining complex challenges with the legacy asbestos across Canada.