March 25, 2013 6:39 am

Breaking the chrysotile habit: Track the decline of Canada’s asbestos industry

The federal government has set aside $50-million to help Thetford Mines and Asbestos adjust to life without the Asbestos industry.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

In last week’s budget, the federal government promised $50-million over seven years to help diversify the economies of two Quebec towns: Thetford Mines and Asbestos.

Both communities historically relied on asbestos mining as the biggest driver of their economies. And with the decline of the asbestos industry, the local economies have suffered.

But how far has the asbestos industry fallen? According to Industry Canada, the value of Canada’s raw asbestos exports has dropped 94 per cent between 1990 and 2011. Exports alone were worth $645-million in 1990 and fell to $41-million in 2011.

The government’s promised $50-million over seven years represents about 8 per cent of what asbestos exports were in 1990.

Track the fall with the graphic below.

Interactive graphic: Canada's asbestos industry »

Interactive graphic: Canada's asbestos industry

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