Quebec asbestos victims organisation soon to be formed

Mon, Feb 4, 2013


Kathleen Ruff,

A Quebec environmental group, la Société pour vaincre la pollution (SVP), is hoping in the coming weeks to finalize the constitution of a Quebec asbestos victims organisation, which will assist victims obtain compensation. Three major articles in today’s Montreal La Presse newspaper recount the difficulties faced by asbestos victims in Quebec and how they are often denied compensation by the Quebec Occupational Health & Safety Commission (CSST).

Daniel Green, co-president of SVP, hopes that the Quebec government will set up a compensation fund, as the French government has done. It is particularly appropriate that the Quebec government should take the leadership in this, since the Quebec government has, in past decades, promoted a policy of “increased use of chrysotile asbestos”. The new Parti Québécois government of Quebec, elected in September 2012, is the first Quebec government to withdraw support from the asbestos industry.

“The system in France provides greater justice for victims,” notes Marc Hindry in the article, speaking for the National Association to defend Asbestos Victims in France. Since 2004, the Fund in France has provided compensation to 8,000 victims a year. In Quebec, in 2011, the CSST provided compensation for about 100 workers who died from asbestos-related diseases.

The creation of a fund, similar to the one in France, would finally allow a full measure of the health crisis caused by asbestos in Quebec, said Daniel Green. “Quebec is the world capital of asbestos. We are hardly beginning to scratch the surface of the human tragedy it has caused,” said Green.

Here are the three articles published today by La Presse:

* Vers un recours collectif de victimes de l’amiante (Towards collective action for asbestos victims)

* Un long parcours truffé d’embûches (A long journey full of pitfalls)

* Amiante: une Québécoise obtient gain de cause aux États-Unis (Asbestos: a Quebec woman wins her case in the United States)


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