April 18, 2013 1:19 pm
Updated: April 18, 2013 3:33 pm

Howard’s Law for mandatory asbestos reporting in Saskatchewan near reality

Law making it mandatory to report asbestos in public buildings closer to being enacted after passing third reading in Saskatchewan legislature.

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REGINA – Howard’s Law is one step closer to being enacted.

The bill that would make it mandatory to report asbestos in public buildings passed third reading in the Saskatchewan legislature today.

The vote was unanimous.

Once enacted, information about asbestos found in buildings owned by the province, health regions and used or connected to schools will be placed in a public registry.

The registry would be available on-line and at public sites.

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The government says this is an important step to protect workers and their families.

“People want and deserve to have easier access to information about the presence of asbestos in public buildings,” said Health Minister Dustin Duncan.

“A public registry will help provide residents with relevant information about this important issue.”

The bill is named after Howard Willems, who advocated for the public reporting of buildings with asbestos.

Willems passed away last November at the age of 59 after battling a rare form of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibres.

Just prior to his death, opposition NDP MLA Cam Broten, who is now the party leader, introduced the private members bill last fall.

Originally known as the Asbestos Right to Know Amendment Act, the bill was renamed Howard’s Law by mutual agreement on Wednesday evening.

“I appreciate the government’s cooperation in passing Howard’s Law,” said Broten.

“I believe politicians should support good ideas, wherever they come from. The agreement on Howard’s Law shows that working together and putting common sense and people ahead of politics accomplishes more.”

The bill will become law once it received royal assent.

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