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Government public buildings containing asbestos in Saskatchewan made public

REGINA – A list of government buildings in Saskatchewan containing asbestos has been made public in what may be a first for a Canadian province. 

The news comes less than a week after advocate Howard Willems passed away from a rare form of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. 

Don Morgan, minister of labour relations and workplace safety made the announcement today. 

Besides the registry, the website at lrws.gov.sk.ca/asbestos also has guidelines, regulations and related information about asbestos. 

“We want to make sure that working people and their families learn about asbestos and how to keep themselves safe,” said Morgan. 

The province is encouraging school districts, universities, health regions and municipalities to post their information to the website. 

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Older buildings, especially those built before 1980, may contain asbestos and although typically bound in structural materials, asbestos may be disturbed due to repairs, maintenance or renovations. 

Last Thursday, Willems died after a long battle with mesothelioma. 

He worked as a building inspector for 31 years and shortly before his death said people should know if they are going into buildings containing asbestos. 

Willems was present at the legislature on Nov. 1 when the opposition NDP introduced a private member’s bill that would require all public buildings in the province with asbestos be made available to the public.