Every year, on April 28, AIA Canada pays its respects to and remembers thousands of workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illnesses as a result of work related accidents. This year, the Association is also joining the voices who call for a ban on the import of automotive parts that contain asbestos, a known killer that causes diseases, suffering and death – all of it preventable.
“Nationwide, thousands of people die each year because of exposure to asbestos’ says Jean-Francois Champagne, AIA President. “Worker safety is a priority for AIA’s members and it is our position that the automotive industry should work towards an asbestos-free industry.”
More than 2,000 people die every year in Canada from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Asbestos exposure is the number one cause of occupational death in Canada, and since 1996, asbestos-related diseases have accounted for about a third of the workplace deaths recognized by workers’ compensation boards.
Recently, much attention has been placed on the harmful effects of asbestos. Although many brakes and clutches used in new and recent model vehicles do not contain asbestos, it has not been totally eliminated.
Mechanics and employees in the automotive repair shops as well as do-it-yourselfers may still be unaware that asbestos could be present in both old and replacement brakes and clutches and they could be exposed to toxic and potentially life threatening asbestos dust.
Brake and clutch dust can be seen when a brake disk, drum, clutch cover, or the wheel is removed from a car, truck, or other equipment. There are also many small dust particles that cannot be seen with the eye. If the brakes contain asbestos, the dust may contain asbestos fibers, which could be inhaled which could be harmful.
About the National Day of Mourning
The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress. The Day of Mourning has since spread to about 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade.
National Day of Mourning activities across the nation include the Canadian flag on Parliament Hill flying at half-mast; candlelight vigils; donning ribbons and black armbands; and, observing moments of silence. Businesses are asked to participate by declaring April 28 a Day of Mourning and to strive to prevent workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries.