The Tyee – The dangers of asbestos have been known for decades, but it remains the number one killer of workers in British Columbia (BC). Since 2002, BC has recorded nearly 1,200 work-related deaths linked to asbestos. For many people, asbestos is a thing of the past, but advocates say workers in BC are still regularly exposed to asbestos on the job. The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in BC says a mix of uninformed and unscrupulous construction contractors are routinely putting workers in close contact with asbestos, sometimes without knowing it. Next year, the BC government is set to become the first in Canada to require companies that work in asbestos removal to be licensed by the government, part of a bid to eliminate bad actors and keep workers safe.

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As a national organization, our work extends across borders into many Indigenous lands throughout Canada. We gratefully acknowledge that our host institution, the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus, is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.