Union and cancer groups call on government to have meaningful consultation

REGINA, SK – The Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (SADAO) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) call on the Saskatchewan Party to follow through with their verbal commitment to Bill 604, as pledged in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan on Thursday.

“We are glad that this government recognizes the importance of asbestos awareness and protection for all residents of Saskatchewan,” says Jesse Todd, SADAO Chair and stepson of Howard Willems. “We urge them to put these principles into practice and ensure this Bill sees it’s way through the committee process quickly and efficiently.”

Todd expects meaningful consultation with SADAO and other advocacy groups during the committee process and hopes the final Bill will include a strategy to ensure enforcement. SADAO and partners collected 1,100 signatures on the petition calling on the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan to adopt Bill 604––labeled “Howard’s Law” in honour of SADAO co-founder and former PSAC member Howard Willems.

“Howard was a long-time activist who dedicated his life to ensuring health and safety protection for workers. We will continue this fight in his name until this Bill is proclaimed as law,” says Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President for the PSAC Prairie Region.

Hladun says families and communities have the right to know if asbestos is present in schools, hospitals, daycares, and other public buildings. She hopes this bill will set an example for other provinces across Canada.

Representatives from PSAC and SADAO, along with their partners at the Canadian Cancer Society and Lung Association of Saskatchewan, have been working tirelessly to garner support for this private member’s bill and promote awareness for asbestos safety and were in attendance at the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan on Thursday for the vote on Bill 604.