Health groups applaud Saskatchewan Government for supporting Howard's Law

15 March 2013

REGINA -

Health groups and the family of the late Howard Willems are calling today a great day for public health in Saskatchewan. Bill 604, the Asbestos Right to Know Act received unanimous support during second reading today at the Saskatchewan legislature. Bill 604 or Howard’s Law is a private members bill introduced last fall by Opposition leader Cam Broten. The bill will make it mandatory for all buildings that contain asbestos that are under the control of the government or its agencies, to be included on an electronic public registry. 

"It is incredibly gratifying that the work that my stepdad started has resulted in a victory for the health of Saskatchewan people," says Jesse Todd, chair of the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. "Today's win is not only the result of the brave fight that Howard started, but because of the hard work of our partners and the Saskatchewan people who signed our petition and contacted their MLAs.”

“Today is an example of politics at its best,” says Keith Karasin, Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society. “Protecting public health is a non-partisan issue and Minister Morgan today showed tremendous leadership by agreeing to support this important health bill.”

When this bill is passed later this spring, Saskatchewan will be the first province in the country to have a mandatory asbestos registry. Asbestos is the leading cause of industrial deaths in Canada. It often takes decades after exposure for an asbestos-related disease to develop. Howard’s law will reduce exposure and save lives. 

“It’s always nice to see our legislators come together for the common good and put health first,” says Brian Graham, President and CEO of The Lung Association of Saskatchewan.

The groups are now urging both parties to work together to get this legislation through committee as quickly as possible and back for a final vote.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Donna Pasiechnik

Manager, Tobacco Control, Media & Government Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Saskatchewan Division

Phone: 306-790-9871