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Canada's policies on chrysotile asbestos exports

Petition: No. 179

Issue(s): Air quality, human health/environmental health, international cooperation, natural resources, and toxic substances

Petitioner(s): David R. Boyd

Date Received: 30 October 2006

Status: Completed

Summary: This petition raises questions about the practice of exporting Canadian chrysotile asbestos to developing countries. Most uses of asbestos have been banned in Canada, and all uses of all types of asbestos have been banned in Europe and Australia. The petition claims, however, that Canada is one of the world’s largest exporters of chrysotile asbestos, and over 90 percent of these exports are sent to developing countries such as India and the Philippines. The questions posed include ones related to the health effects of chrysotile asbestos, Canada’s export policy, international trade practices, and federal asbestos-related expenditures.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Canada Economic Development Agency for Quebec Regions, Environment Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade - Department of [2006-present], Health Canada, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada

Petition

24 October 2006

Johanne Gelinas
Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
Office of the Auditor General
240 Sparks Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0G6

RE: Canada's policies regarding chrysotile asbestos

Most uses of asbestos have been banned in Canada, and all uses of all types of asbestos have been banned in Europe and Australia. However, Canada is one of the world's largest exporters of chrysotile asbestos, and over 90 percent of these exports are sent to developing countries such as India and the Philippines.

According to the World Health Organization, exposure to chrysotile asbestos causes lung cancer and other diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. These diseases may take 20 to 40 years after exposure to develop. The global authority on carcinogenic substances, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, identified chrysotile asbestos as a known human carcinogen in 1977.

Several years ago, Canada challenged France's decision to ban the use of asbestos, taking the case to the World Trade Organization. The WTO consulted some of the world's leading experts on asbestos and rejected Canada's challenge, based on the following conclusions:

    "Since 1977, chrysotile asbestos fibres have been recognized internationally as a known carcinogen."

    "This carcinogenicity was confirmed by the experts consulted by the Panel, with respect to both lung cancers and mesotheliomas, even though the experts appear to acknowledge that chrysotile is less likely to cause mesotheliomas than amphiboles. We also note that the experts confirmed that the types of cancer concerned had a mortality rate of close to 100 percent. We therefore consider that we have sufficient evidence that there is in fact a serious carcinogenic risk associated with the inhalation of chrysotile fibres."

    "No minimum threshold of level of exposure or duration of exposure has been identified with regard to the risk of pathologies associated with chrysotile."

    European Communities—Measures Affecting Asbestos and Asbestos-Containing Products—Report of the Panel, Doc. # 00-3353, 18 September 2000 www.wto.org

Canada filed an appeal that was also unsuccessful. The WTO's Appellate body confirmed the decision, stating:

    "All four of the scientific experts consulted by the Panel concurred that chrysotile asbestos fibres, and chrysotile-cement products, constitute a risk to human health, and the Panel's conclusions on this point are faithful to the views expressed by the four scientists. In addition, the Panel noted that the carcinogenic nature of chrysotile asbestos fibres has been acknowledged since 1977 by international bodies, such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization. In these circumstances, we find that the Panel remained well within the bounds of its discretion in finding that chrysotile-cement products pose a risk to human life or health.

    European Communities—Measures Affecting Asbestos and Asbestos-Containing Products—Report of the Appellate Body, Doc. # 01-1157, 12 March 2001 www.wto.org

Conclusive evidence that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic has led many industrialized nations (including Australia and all 25 members of the European Union) to ban the use of this hazardous substance. Not only does Canada continue to mine and export chrysotile asbestos, but the federal government actively opposes any restrictions on international trade (particularly pursuant to the Rotterdam Convention), and continues to subsidize an asbestos industry lobby group known as the Chrysotile Institute.

Because of widespread public concern and embarrassment about Canada's continued support for the mining and export of a known human carcinogen, this Petition seeks answers to the following questions:

1. Health Effects

a) Does Canada disagree with the position of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization that chrysotile asbestos is a known human carcinogen for which there is no safe level of exposure?

b) Can the federal government identify any peer reviewed scientific studies not funded by the asbestos industry that indicate chrysotile asbestos does not pose a serious threat to human health? Please provide a list.

c) Does Canada have any data on asbestos-related illnesses in the nations that import Canadian asbestos?

d) What is Health Canada's position on the health effects of chrysotile asbestos?

2. Asbestos exports

a) What volume of asbestos has been exported by Canada in the past five years? Please include a breakdown of volumes according to the importing nations.

b) Why does Canada believe that chrysotile asbestos can be safely used in developing nations for purposes for which it is banned in Canada?

c) With respect to the nations that import chrysotile asbestos from Canada, please provide details of the occupational health and safety laws that protect workers in those nations (since Canada's export policy is based on "safe use").

d) On October 17, 2006, on CBC Radio's program called The Current, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn stated that Canada provides funding to developing nations that import Canadian asbestos to ensure the asbestos is used safely. Please provide details regarding this funding—recipients, programs, and amounts.

e) What other means does Canada rely on for monitoring and ensuring "safe use" of Canadian chrysotile asbestos in importing countries?

f) Are there other products that, like asbestos, are predominantly banned in Canada because of health concerns but continue to be exported from Canada to developing nations? If so, please provide a list.

3. International Trade

a) Does Canada disagree with the rulings of the World Trade Organization that supported France's decision to ban the use of all types of asbestos, including chrysotile asbestos? In other words, does Canada maintain that the WTO wrongly rejected Canada's claims?

b) What is Health Canada's position on the listing of chrysotile asbestos pursuant to the Rotterdam Convention?

c) Why does Canada oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention?

d) Which countries are Canada's allies in opposing the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention? On the CBC radio program mentioned above in question 2(d), Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn claimed there were eleven nations supporting Canada's position (out of more than 100 parties to the Rotterdam Convention).

e) What tactics have been used by Canada in efforts to prevent the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention? For example, has Canada lobbied other nations to support Canada's position?

f) Is Canada the leading nation opposed to the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention? For example, was Canada the first nation to speak against the listing of chrysotile asbestos at the recent meeting of the parties in Geneva (Oct. 9–13, 2006)?

4. Federal Asbestos-related Expenditures

a) How much federal funding has been provided to the Asbestos Institute (now known as the Chrysotile Institute) over the past 25 years? Please provide a breakdown on a year by year basis.

b) How many Canadian officials attend the meetings of the parties to the Rotterdam Convention, and what are the costs associated with these trips since the Convention came into force?

c) How much did Canada spend in its unsuccessful effort to have the WTO overturn the French ban on asbestos (including preparations for the case before both the WTO Panel and the appellate body)?

d) What has been the federal government's share of the annual Canadian health care expenses associated with diseases caused by asbestos (lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma)? Please provide costs for the five most recent years for which data is available.

e) What are the costs of the renovations to buildings on Parliament Hill associated with the health threat posed by asbestos? What are the costs of asbestos removal and/or treatment from all federal buildings?

f) How much does the Government of Canada spend annually on efforts to persuade developing nations that chrysotile asbestos can be used safely?

g) Related to Question 2d, how much does the Government of Canada spend to ensure that chrysotile asbestos is used safely in developing nations?

These questions fall within the jurisdiction of the Minister of Health, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Public Works, and the Minister of International Trade. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you seek clarification or further information regarding this petition.

I look forward to receiving substantive responses to these inquiries within the time limits prescribed by statute. However I would also like to request, for reasons of fiscal prudence and environmental conservation, that no correspondence associated with this petition be sent using courier services. Canada Post's regular mail is preferable.

Respectfully,

[Original signed by David R. Boyd]

David R. Boyd
Trudeau Scholar, University of British Columbia
Adjunct Professor, Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University
Research Associate, POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria

1321 MacKinnon Road, RR1
Pender Island, BC
V0N 2M1

Tel: 250-629-9984
Email: davidrichardboyd@yahoo.com

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Minister's Response: Canada Economic Development Agency for Quebec Regions

March 15, 2007

Mr. David R. Boyd
1321 MacKinnon Road
R.R. 1
Pender Island, British Columbia
V0N 2M1

Dear Mr. Boyd:

I am writing with respect to your Environmental Petition No. 179, to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, regarding Canada's policies on chrysotile asbestos. The petition was received by the Ministers of Health Canada, International Trade, Foreign Affairs, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Environment Canada, Canada Economic Development Agengy (CED), Labour and Natural Resources Canada on November 14, 2006.

The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will provide you a response on behalf of all departments which received the petition.

Sincerely,

[Original signed by Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec]

Jean-Pierre Blackburn, P.C., M.P.

c.c.:

The Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P., Minister of the Environment

The Honourable Tony Clement, P.C., M.P., Minister of Health and the Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

The Honourable David Emerson, P.C., M.P., Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver – Whistler Olympics

The Honourable Michael Fortier, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Works - and Government Services

The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The Honourable Gary Lunn, P.C., M.P., Minister of Natural Resources

Ms. Frances Smith, Petitions Coordinator, Office of the Auditor General of Canada, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable development

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Minister's Response: Environment Canada

2 March 2007

Mr. David R. Boyd
1321 MacKinnon Road
R.R. 1
Pender Island, British Columbia
V0N 2M1

Dear Mr. Boyd:

I am pleased to respond to your Environmental Petition No. 179, to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, regarding Canada's policies on chrysotile asbestos. The petition was received in Environment Canada on November 14, 2006.

Due to the nature of the issues being raised in the petition, Environment Canada has collaborated with the other departments involved to prepare a joint response. My colleague, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will be providing you with the government's response to the petition. This response has been reviewed by my officials, who are in concurrence with its conclusions.

I appreciate your interest in this important matter.

Sincerely,

[Original signed by John Baird, Minister of Environment]

John Baird, P.C., M.P.

c.c.:

The Honourable Tony Clement, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable David Emerson, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Michael Fortier, P.C.
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Gary Lunn, P.C., M.P.
Mr. Ronald C. Thompson, Interim Commissioner of the Environment
and Sustainable Development

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Joint Response: Foreign Affairs and International Trade - Department of [2006-present], Health Canada, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada


Canada, Asbestos Trade - 2001-2003
Canada, Asbestos Trade - 2003-2005


15 March 2007

Mr. David R. Boyd
1321 MacKinnon Road
Rural Route 1
Pender Island, British Columbia
V0N 2M1

Dear Mr. Boyd:

I am writing in response to your environmental petition no. 179 to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development regarding Canada's policies on chrysotile asbestos.

The petition was received by the ministers of Health, International Trade, Foreign Affairs, Public Works and Government Services, Labor, and Natural Resources on November 14, 2006. You will find enclosed a joint response that was coordinated because of the nature and scope of the issues raised in the petition.

I appreciate your interest in this important matter.

Sincerely,

[Original signed by Peter G. MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency]

Peter G. MacKay

Enclosure

c.c.

The Honourable Tony Clement, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable David Emerson, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Michael Fortier, P.C.
The Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Gary Lunn, P.C., M.P.
Mr. Ronald J. Thompson, Interim Commissioner of the Environment and
Sustainable Development


Environment Petition No. 179—Chrysotile asbestos

1. HEALTH EFFECTS

a) Does Canada disagree with the position of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization that chrysotile asbestos is a known human carcinogen for which there is no safe level of exposure?

The Government of Canada recognizes that all forms of asbestos fibres, including chrysotile, are carcinogenic. The main health risks associated with all forms of asbestos are primarily occupational, and relate to the inhalation of fibres that may lodge in the lungs in the course of mining, manufacturing and construction and renovation activities. However, scientific studies show that chrysotile is a less potent carcinogen and less persistent in the lungs than the other forms of asbestos, and consequently poses a lower health risk.

Canada follows a "controlled use" approach to strictly control exposure to chrysotile through federal, provincial and territorial workplace exposure limits and bans on some categories of consumer and workplace products under the Hazardous Products Act.

The Government of Canada is of the view that the occupational health risks of chrysotile can be managed if regulations, programs and practices equivalent to Canada's are in place to limit exposure to airborne fibres and that the risks would be no greater than posed by other occupational activities. Low levels of exposure pose low risks.

b) Can the federal government identify any peer reviewed scientific studies not funded by the asbestos industry that indicate chrysotile asbestos does not pose a serious threat to human health? Please provide a list.

The Government of Canada assesses the value of studies on the basis of scientific merit and peer reviews, rather than the source of funding for the study.

Recent reviews and comprehensive risk assessments using methods such as meta-analyses find that chrysotile fibres are much less potent than amphibole fibres, particularly crocidolite fibres.

The two most recent and comprehensive reviews made public were peer-reviewed and funded by government agencies, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive. They were based on an analysis of many scientific publications. They concluded that chrysotile fibres are some two orders of magnitude (hundreds of times) less carcinogenic for mesothelioma than amphibole asbestos fibres. These studies also concluded that chrysotile posed one order of magnitude (tens of times) less risk for lung cancer than amphiboles fibres do.

References to the US and UK studies, and another recent peer-reviewed study on the biopersistence of Canadian chrysotile follow:

Final Draft: Technical Support Document for a Protocol to Assess Asbestos-related Risk

http://www.epa.gov/oswer/riskassessment/asbestos/pdfs/asbestostech1-5.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/oswer/riskassessment/asbestos/pdfs/asbestostech6-9.pdf

Report on the Peer Consultation Workshop to Discuss a Proposed Protocol to Assess Asbestos-Related Risk. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Washington, DC 20460 EPA Contract No. 68-C-98-148 Work Assignment 2003-05.

http://www.epa.gov/oswer/riskassessment/asbestos/pdfs/asbestos_report.pdf

The Quantitative Risks of Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer in Relation to Asbestos Exposure, John T. Hodgson and Andrew Darnton. Ann. occup. Hyg., Vol. 44, No. 8, pp. 565–601, 2000 (UK Health and Safety Executive).

The paper concludes that the risk of mesothelioma posed by chrysotile asbestos is 1/100 that posed by amosite asbestos and 1/500 that posed by crocidolite asbestos. It also concludes that the risk differential for lung cancer from chrysotile asbestos is 1/10 that posed by amosite asbestos and 1/50 that posed by crocidolite asbestos.

The Biopersistence of Canadian Chrysotile Asbestos Following Inhalation: Final Results Through 1 Year After Cessation of Exposure. David M. Bernstein, Rick Rogers, Paul Smith Inhalation Toxicology, 17:1–14, 2005. The paper reports that chrysotile is much less biopersistant than other forms of asbestos.

c) Does Canada have any data on asbestos-related illnesses in the nations that import Canadian asbestos?

The Government of Canada does not collect such data. However, information on cancer rates is available from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The latest available data is found in IARC Scientific Publication No. 155, Cancer Incidence in Five Continents, Vol. VIII Edited by D.M. Parkin, S.L. Whelan, J. Ferlay, L. Teppo and D.B. Thomas

d) What is Health Canada's position on the health effects of chrysotile asbestos?

Inhalation of chrysotile asbestos fibres, particularly at the high and uncontrolled levels experienced through occupational exposure in the past, can lead to asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and also laryngeal cancer. Chrysotile is a less potent carcinogen than other forms of asbestos (see response to 1b). As well, current lower levels of exposure now experienced in the occupational setting pose a lower risk than experienced in the past. (See response to 1a).

2. ASBESTOS EXPORTS

a) What volume of asbestos has been exported by Canada in the past five years? Please include a breakdown of volumes according to the importing nations?

Please see attached Tables 2 and 3.

b) Why does Canada believe that chrysotile asbestos can be safely used in developing nations for purposes for which it is banned in Canada?

Over 93 percent of chrysotile exports are used for inclusion in cement products, and about 5 percent for friction materials. We are not aware of chrysotile being commonly used in developing countries for applications that are banned in Canada. The severe legacy of disease associated with exposure to "asbestos" in developed countries can be linked to three principal factors: 1) "asbestos" was originally treated as a nuisance dust and no standards existed until the 1960's; 2) the use of "asbestos" in low-density friable insulation, such as sprayed-on, applications; and 3) the mixing of amphibole asbestos fibres with chrysotile in many applications for cost and technical reasons. However, use of "asbestos" in developing countries only started in the 1960's and is predominantly confined to products where the chrysotile fibres are locked into a cement or resin matrix. Today, at least 98 percent of total chrysotile fibres' consumption is for manufactured products in this category.

c) With respect to the nations that import chrysotile asbestos from Canada, please provide details of the occupational health and safety laws that protect workers in those nations (since Canada's policy is based on "Safe use").

Canada exported chrysotile and chrysotile-based products to some 73 countries around the world in 2005. While implementation of domestic measures to ensure workplace health and safety is a sovereign responsibility of importing countries, Canada makes efforts to promote the controlled use of chrysotile. Canada provides information on how to manage the risks associated with chrysotile and supports the work of the Chrysotile Institute which promotes safety in the use of chrysotile internationally. Countries are encouraged to implement measures in compliance with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 162 on Safety in the use of Asbestos.

Asian countries, which include India, Indonesia, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand account for 74 percent of Canadian exports of chrysotile worldwide. For these countries, we refer you to the following as examples of health and safety measures:

  1. India: Ministry of Labour, The Factories Act, 1948 (Amended by Act 20 of 1987)
  2. Indonesia: Ministry of Manpower, Ministerial Decree No. 03, 1985, (addressing health and safety related to the application of asbestos in the workplace) & Director General Decree No. 104, 2006 (a code of practice on the application of asbestos in the workplace referencing ILO guidelines on the safe use of asbestos).
  3. South Korea: Ministry of Labour, Enforcement Regulations for Industrial Safety and Health Act, 1982.
  4. Sri Lanka: The Department of Labour uses the ILO guidelines on the safe use of Asbestos to promote safety measures on a voluntary basis.
  5. Thailand: Ministry of Interior, Safety in Working Environment (Chemicals) Act, 1977.

d) On October 17, 2006, on CBC Radio's program called The Current, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn stated that Canada provides funding to developing nations that import Canadian asbestos to ensure that asbestos is used safely. Please provide details regarding this funding –recipients, programs and amounts.

The Chrysotile Institute, a not for profit organization, is mandated by both the federal and provincial governments as well as by the industry and the unions representing the chrysotile workers, to support the promotion of the controlled use of chrysotile nationally and internationally. For that specific purpose, the Government of Canada contributes 1/3 of the annual budget of the Institute to a level of $250,000 annually to advance the previously mentioned objective.

Between 1984 and 2006, the Chrysotile Institute has organized and conducted information and dust control seminars for trade unions, held medical surveillance training programs, provided technical and financial assistance for launching national fibre associations, and technology transfer in more than 60 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Each initiative has helped developing countries and those with economies in transition meet the worker health and safety requirements of the ILO Convention 162.

e) What other means does Canada rely on for monitoring and ensuring "safe use" of Canadian chrysotile asbestos in importing countries?

While Canada does not have the legal authority to monitor exposures in other countries, the industry has agreed not to export to companies that do not use chrysotile in a manner that is consistent with Canada's controlled-use approach. At the same time, the Chrysotile Institute is helping to build capacity and expertise in countries using chrysotile to better ensure its controlled use. In this regard, the Chrysotile Institute periodically collects data, based on industry input, on a range of workplace exposures in countries producing and using chrysotile.

f) Are there other products that, like asbestos, are predominantly banned in Canada because of health concerns but continue to be exported from Canada to developing nations? If so, please provide a list.

"Asbestos" is not predominantly banned or severely restricted in Canada although some products containing "asbestos" are prohibited. The Hazardous Products Act governs regulated and prohibited products, including asbestos products.

Based on the Export Control List for 2005, pursuant to section 103 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, there is one product, Tributyltetradecylphosphonium chloride (TTPC) banned (for use, processing, sale, offer for sale or import) in Canada that is exported from Canada. According to the Government of Canada's records, there have been no exports of this product to developing countries since 2000. It is manufactured domestically and was exported to Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America in 2002. This product is banned in Canada for environmental reasons.

3. INTERNATIONAL TRADE

a) Does Canada disagree with the rulings of the World Trade Organization that supported France's decision to ban the use of all types of asbestos, including chrysotile asbestos? In other words, does Canada maintain that the WTO wrongly rejected Canada's claims?

The WTO Panel was asked to determine whether France's ban on asbestos violated certain obligations of the TBT Agreement and GATT 1994. It was not asked to determine whether the principle or application of controlled use of chrysotile asbestos was safe or effective per se.

In no way does Canada call into question a country's right to adopt regulations in the public interest, or to set appropriate levels of protection for public health reasons. In Canada, as well as in other countries, the use of chrysotile asbestos is strictly regulated. Canada stands by its position concerning the controlled use of chrysotile asbestos. Canada's policy of controlled use is well founded because it has a sound scientific basis and is a responsible approach.

b) What is Health Canada's position on the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention?

The Government of Canada made clear its position on the listing of chrysotile under the Rotterdam Convention at the third Conference of the Parties held in Geneva October 9-13, 2006. The Conference of the Parties is the decision making body of the Rotterdam Convention. Canada opposed the addition of chrysotile to the list of substances subject to the Rotterdam Convention. Canada joined with all other Parties in deciding to defer consideration of the listing of chrysotile until the fourth Conference of the Parties in 2008.

c) Why does Canada oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention?

Canada opposed listing of chrysotile asbestos at the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention but indicated that it would not prevent consensus in support of a deferral of this agenda item to a subsequent Conference of the Parties. Canada joined with all other Parties in deciding to defer consideration of the listing of chrysotile until the fourth Conference of the Parties in 2008.

d) Which countries are Canada's allies in opposing the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention? On the CBC radio program mentioned above in question 2 (d), Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn claimed there were eleven nations supporting Canada's position (out of more than 100 Parties to the Rotterdam Convention).

In addition to Canada, countries that did not support the listing of chrysotile under Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention at its third Conference of the Parties included: Indonesia, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe.

e) What tactics have been used by Canada in efforts to prevent the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention? For example, has Canada lobbied other nations to support Canada's position?

Canada participated in a working group established by the President of the third Conference of the Parties to discuss key issues related to the proposed listing of chrysotile. Canada worked constructively to develop a decision that was acceptable to all Parties. Canada joined with all other Parties in deciding to defer consideration of the listing of chrysotile until the fourth Conference of the Parties in 2008. The full text of the decision (RC-3/3) can be found on the Rotterdam Convention website, www.pic.int.

f) Is Canada the leading nation opposed to the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention? For example, was Canada the first nation to speak against the listing of chrysotile asbestos at the recent meeting of the parties in Geneva (Oct. 9-13, 2006)?

Canada was the first country to register its views at the third Conference of the Parties in Geneva. In the Conference of the Parties process, decisions are made on the basis of consensus. Given that a number of other countries also opposed listing, the issue did not enjoy consensus. Canada joined with all other Parties in deciding to defer consideration of the listing of chrysotile until the fourth Conference of the Parties in 2008.

4. FEDERAL ASBESTOS-RELATED EXPENDITURES

a) How much federal funding has been provided to the Asbestos Institute (now known as the Chrysotile Institute) over the past 25 years? Please provide a breakdown on a year by year basis?

Please see Table 1 below.

b) How many Canadian officials attend the meetings of the parties to the Rotterdam Convention, and what are the costs associated with these trips since the Convention came into force?

Three Conferences of the Parties have been held to date. Seven Government of Canada officials attended the first two meetings and eight attended the most recent one. The total travel cost for these officials was $111,385.

How much did Canada spend in its unsuccessful effort to have the WTO overturn the French ban on asbestos (including preparations for the case before the WTO Panel and the Appellate body)?

The total cost to the Government of Canada of preparing and presenting the litigation case European Communities—Measures affecting asbestos and asbestos containing products before the WTO Panel and the WTO Appellate Body is estimated to be $575 000. This estimate comprises: legal and other professional services, travel, hospitality, freight, printing, and an estimate of in-house government legal counsel costs incurred in preparing for and presenting the case. The costs of the litigation case were incurred in the fiscal years 1997-1998 through 2000-2001.

d) What has been the federal governments' share of the annual Canadian health care expenses associated with diseases caused by asbestos (lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma)? Please provide costs for the five most recent years for which data is available.

Government of Canada support for health care in Canada is provided to the provinces via the Canada Health Transfer. Canada Health Transfer support is allocated to provinces and territories on an equal per capita basis to ensure equal support for all Canadians regardless of their place of residence. Support for treatment of individual categories of illness is not broken out in the transfer.

e) What are the costs of renovations to buildings on Parliament Hill associated with the health threat posed by asbestos? What are the costs of asbestos removal and/or treatment from all federal buildings?

Up until the 1980's, asbestos was used in construction materials because of its insulating, fire-resistant and reinforcing properties. Generally, asbestos is found in pipe insulation, ceiling tiles, mechanical equipment insulation and drywall compounds. The presence of asbestos-containing materials does not, in itself, constitute a health hazard, provided the material is intact. Undisturbed material in good condition presents little risk. Health hazards occur when these materials become damaged and asbestos fibres become airborne. Due to these health concerns, industry stopped manufacturing and installing materials containing friable (easily crumbled) asbestos. In the 1980's the usage of asbestos in friable construction materials was prohibited under the federal Hazardous Products Act.

The PWGSC Policy on Asbestos Management provides for a code of practice for managing asbestos in PWGSC-owned or -leased buildings. Many of the buildings managed by PWGSC still contain asbestos and, as such, PWGSC manages associated health risks by limiting exposure. This is done within the context of an Asbestos Management Plan, which surveys the buildings for, and provides regular inspection and surveillance of, asbestos-containing materials.

In the event that building renovations or repairs may result in a potential disturbance of asbestos-containing materials, appropriate abatement procedures as defined within the Asbestos Management Plan are undertaken. As a result, the majority of work involving removal and/or treatment of asbestos is done within the context of larger-scale renovation and construction projects. Take for example a boiler replacement project. Prior to replacing the existing boiler, PWGSC would evaluate the potential disturbance of asbestos-containing materials and would undertake the necessary abatement procedures to remove the asbestos from the work area. Once the asbestos is removed, workers would begin replacing the boiler. As a result, the work would be identified within the PWGSC building management system as a "boiler installation" project, not as an "asbestos abatement" project. This means that it is not possible to provide accurate and meaningful data associated with the costs of asbestos removal and/or treatment from federal buildings, including those on Parliament Hill.

f) How much does the Government of Canada spend annually on efforts to persuade developing nations that chrysotile asbestos can be used safely?

Canada, in partnership with the Quebec government, the workers and their unions and the industry, has mandated the Chrysotile Institute to promote the controlled-use of chrysotile abroad.  (see response to 2d)  In addition, some Government of Canada's representatives attend workshops and conferences to support Chrysotile Institute's activities in disseminating the most recent scientific evidence related to the use of chrysotile. This was the case in Indonesia, Thailand and Peru in 2005 and 2006. The total annual average cost to the government is approximately $10,000.

g) Related to question 2d, how much does the Government of Canada spend to ensure that chrysotile asbestos is used safely in developing countries?

In addition to the costs referred to in 4f, the Government of Canada provides $250,000 to the Chrysotile Institute annually. There are no Government of Canada chrysotile asbestos programs that provide direct financial support to developing countries.


TABLE 1

Financial Contribution From the Government of Canada to the Chrysotile Institute since its inception in 1984.

YEAR

TYPE OF AGREEMENT

FEDERAL CONTRIBUTION

1984-1985

First Agreement (1984)

1 200 100

1985-1986

First Agreement (1984)

1 250 000

1986-1987

First Agreement (1984)

1 250 000

Three parties Agreement (December 1986)

500 000

Bilateral Agreement (February 1987)

500 000

2 250 000 Total 1986-87

1987-1988

First Agreement (1984)

1 250 000

Three parties Agreement (December 1986)

500 000

Bilateral Agreement (February 1987)

500 000

R & D Agreement

(March 1987)

490 909

2 740 909 Total 1987-88

1988-1989

First Agreement (1984)

756 694

Bilateral Agreement (February 1987)

500 000

R & D Agreement

733 596

1 990 290 Total 1988-89

1989-1990

Renewal of the first Agreement (March 1989)

1 243 306

Bilateral Agreement

500 000

R & D Agreement

833 232

2 576 538 Total 1989-90

1990-1991

Renewed Agreement

1 514 759

R & D Agreement

984 670

2 499 429 Total 1990-91

1991-1992

Renewed Agreement

1 295 426

R & D Agreement

355 024

1 650 450 Total 1991-92

1992-1993

Renewed Agreement

1 000 000

1993-1997

Quebec-Natural Resources Canada-Chrysotile Industry Agreement 1993-98

0

1997-1998

1993-1998 Agreement

0

Agreement with Federal Government (NRCan)

1997-2000 (Sept. 1997)

48 723

1998-1999

Agreement with Federal Government (NRCan)

1997-2000 (Sept. 1997)

111 016

1999-2000

Agreement with Provincial Government (1999)

N/A

Agreement with Federal Government (NRCan)

1997-2000 (Sept. 1997)

89 074

Agreement with Federal Government (NRCan + DEC)1999-2002 (1999)

164 255

2000-2001

Agreement with Provincial Government (1999)

N/A

Agreement with Federal Government (NRCan + DEC)1999-2002 (1999)

175 698

2001-2002

Agreement with Federal Government (NRCan + DEC)1999-2002 (1999)

185 047

Agreement with Provincial Government (2001-2005) Natural Resources Quebec

N/A

2002-2003

Agreement with Federal Government (NRCan + DEC)2002-2004(2002)

250 000

Agreement with Provincial Government (2001-2005) Natural Resources Quebec

N/A

R & D Agreement 2003-04. Study on biopersistence of chrysotile w/ Quebec, 2003

N/A

2003-2004

Three parties Agreement

250 000

2004-2005

Three parties Agreement

250 000

2005-2006

Three parties Agreement+ R & D contribution

275 000

2007

End of 2004-07 agreement

250 000

Grand Total 1984 to 2007

19 206 529

Attachment

Canada

ASBESTOS Trade 2001-2003

 

2001

2002

 

(tonnes)

($000)

(tonnes)

($000)

EXPORTS

       

25240010 Crude asbestos.

India

-

-

393

175

United States

2 298

542

1 554

317

China

-

-

-

-

Total

2 298

542

1 947

492

25240021 Asbestos milled fibres, group 3 grades.

Mexico

1 214

1 579

1 196

1 551

United Arab Emirates

684

889

840

1 092

India

781

1 022

650

853

Algeria

130

169

250

325

Turkey

90

118

45

59

Indonesia

150

195

105

137

Brazil

155

210

112

153

China

163

220

150

202

Hungary

162

211

138

181

Peru

-

-

18

23

Macedonia

-

-

75

101

Korea, South

70

92

70

90

Bolivia

14

18

28

38

Germany

12

22

-

-

United States

42

7

63

48

Argentina

22

28

2

3

Lebanon

36

47

-

-

Nigeria

36

47

-

-

Spain

54

70

-

-

Taiwan

2

2

-

-

Yugoslavia,The former

19

26

-

-

Cuba

-

-

18

23

Total

3 836

4 972

3 760

4 879

25240022 Asbestos milled fibres, groups 4 and 5 grades.

Thailand

14 147

9 268

33 001

21 037

India

24 334

17 892

30 951

20 038

Indonesia

10 523

7 209

15 959

10 270

Algeria

3 160

2 643

8 130

7 404

Korea, South

2 578

1 756

2 858

2 006

Japan

19 118

18 877

12 452

10 210

Sri Lanka

5 010

4 402

3 032

2 632

Malaysia

3 955

3 199

4 193

3 431

El Salvador

1 552

1 270

1 814

1 542

Mexico

4 909

4 061

2 607

1 900

Pakistan

92

65

1 316

941

Turkey

596

439

1 492

1 000

United Arab Emirates

958

748

2 226

1 672

Bangladesh

726

558

1 414

900

Philippines

1 240

976

1 529

1 168

Angola

200

177

420

262

Senegal

500

481

530

507

Colombia

2 584

2 405

1 267

1 044

Ecuador

1 964

1 820

1 760

1 595

Portugal

2 086

2 034

3 664

3 412

Morocco

320

226

452

341

Taiwan

302

258

976

506

Iran, Islamic Republic of

206

68

500

131

Peru

618

488

400

255

Tunisia

300

368

300

368

Brazil

968

812

30

32

Panama

520

353

230

134

Vietnam

20

11

80

87

Venezuela

188

122

40

31

Nigeria

940

741

-

-

China

72

60

220

248

Germany

32

44

120

117

Myanmar

300

269

600

538

Lebanon

100

123

-

-

Hong Kong

1 331

620

580

252

South Africa

18

16

-

-

Spain

6 542

5 276

1 437

829

France

10

14

-

-

Dominican Republic

129

104

50

42

Chile

40

33

-

-

Australia

511

413

370

297

Argentina

278

272

132

123

United Kingdom

5

4

24

20

United States

42

8

21

4

Egypt

1 500

1 444

-

-

Yugoslavia,The former

2

2

-

-

Cuba

-

-

2 540

2 023

Mali

-

-

40

32

Total

115 526

92 429

139 757

99 381

25240029 Asbestos shorts, groups 6, 7, 8 and 9 grades.

United States

8 137

2 075

4 988

1 792

Korea, South

16 821

5 837

12 426

4 654

India

30 445

11 336

19 824

8 466

Japan

24 079

9 909

11 774

5 634

Thailand

19 388

7 308

7 931

3 386

Malaysia

5 159

1 942

3 051

1 213

Colombia

3 995

1 550

4 702

1 665

Indonesia

11 805

4 292

3 802

1 420

Sri Lanka

1 720

888

1 780

923

Mexico

5 855

1 760

3 497

919

Taiwan

2 464

1 046

1 309

567

Philippines

1 759

932

1 089

616

Algeria

810

381

930

427

Venezuela

1 993

545

1 206

434

Senegal

690

279

852

345

Turkey

1 016

354

385

139

El Salvador

422

220

658

343

China

453

220

3 758

610

Portugal

1 414

503

932

367

Angola

60

22

342

146

United Arab Emirates

320

128

172

60

Vietnam

80

19

440

125

Cuba

85

53

120

87

Pakistan

332

102

214

65

Iran, Islamic Republic of

755

100

1 154

166

Egypt

-

-

110

55

Ecuador

772

388

418

209

Morocco

94

33

224

78

Peru

302

127

40

24

Czech Republic

60

16

100

23

Bolivia

120

26

60

14

Brazil

190

36

36

12

Dominican Republic

124

30

75

12

Germany

88

31

-

-

Hong Kong

2 063

312

380

179

Spain

4 639

1 870

211

60

Bangladesh

486

136

-

-

Australia

142

62

90

46

Argentina

621

163

377

86

Panama

520

217

80

42

Nigeria

300

72

120

35

Chile

20

9

-

-

Kenya

58

13

-

-

United Kingdom

-

-

17

5

Total

150 656

55 342

89 674

35 449

N/A

N/A

Attachment

 

CANADA, ASBESTOS TRADE - ASBESTOS 2003 to 2005

 

2003
(tonnes)

2003
($000)

2004
(tonnes)

2004
($000)

2005
(tonnes)

2005
($000)

DOMESTIC EXPORTS

25240010 Crude asbestos.

India

3 054

1 428

9 041

3 200

11 899

3 766

United States

302

74

254

64

288

69

China

15

7

-

-

-

-

Total

3 371

1 509

9 295

3 264

12 187

3 835

25240021 Asbestos milled fibres, group 3 grades.

Pakistan

-

-

2 424

1 550

3 711

2 373

Mexico

1 647

2 142

1 102

1 431

933

1 209

United Arab Emirates

1 116

1 451

1 743

2 265

726

943

India

525

687

3 435

2 834

206

268

Peru

54

70

288

374

204

266

China

114

154

810

262

150

201

Indonesia

150

195

25

32

100

130

Brazil

135

183

70

95

84

114

Korea, South

42

55

-

-

19

24

Turkey

153

199

82

108

14

18

United States

20

4

20

4

20

4

Algeria

300

390

-

-

-

-

Bolivia

14

19

-

-

-

-

Germany

12

16

-

-

-

-

Hungary

90

117

-

-

-

-

Macedonia (FYROM)

50

67

25

34

-

-

Colombia

-

-

10

13

-

-

Taiwan

-

-

1

1

-

-

Total

4 422

5 749

10 035

9 003

6 167

5 550

25240022 Asbestos milled fibres, groups 4 and 5 grades.

India

17 768

13 935

36 470

24 908

30 200

19 872

Thailand

24 116

15 930

20 573

9 232

17 523

8 355

Indonesia

9 555

5 638

12 803

5 630

16 907

7 429

Sri Lanka

2 270

1 957

5 142

4 459

5 162

4 562

Mexico

2 309

1 629

1 768

1 120

2 695

1 966

Brazil

160

109

2 880

2 057

2 220

1 796

Algeria

6 260

5 470

1 410

1 315

1 910

1 770

United Arab Emirates

880

823

2 200

2 176

1 732

1 655

Malaysia

2 474

1 734

3 326

2 152

2 704

1 601

Pakistan

2 539

1 613

4 360

3 246

1 740

1 544

Colombia

734

605

995

841

1 354

1 199

Nigeria

100

82

-

-

1 230

1 146

Bangladesh

1 402

768

1 600

774

2 600

1 097

Senegal

658

631

467

448

638

612

El Salvador

1 986

1 640

720

601

714

594

Philippines

1 150

711

2 558

1 393

1 080

585

Turkey

1 023

832

575

403

550

522

Vietnam

80

87

272

295

1 018

421

Angola

800

640

502

413

524

420

Ecuador

380

374

760

756

424

380

Korea, South

3 369

2 305

288

321

333

373

China

16

20

524

426

316

350

Peru

218

130

380

219

372

200

Morocco

364

263

346

242

283

197

Jamaica

-

-

300

188

220

191

Taiwan

440

235

715

396

310

171

Venezuela

204

84

428

188

340

146

Portugal

358

364

180

190

116

133

Oman

-

-

-

-

20

25

Germany

7

5

14

10

17

11

Iran

400

146

1 960

1 317

-

-

Japan

2 487

2 249

1 932

1 644

-

-

Panama

300

97

720

210

-

-

Egypt

-

-

600

576

-

-

France

-

-

30

21

-

-

United States

-

-

20

4

-

-

Tunisia

100

123

-

-

-

-

Total

84 907

61 229

107 818

68 171

95 252

59 323

25240029 Asbestos shorts, groups 6, 7, 8 and 9 grades.

India

15 614

6 168

15 125

6 043

16 029

6 423

Thailand

5 040

2 247

5 152

2 184

10 120

4 557

Colombia

3 824

1 308

4 064

1 460

4 690

1 744

Korea, South

18 554

6 777

12 197

4 646

5 783

1 634

Iran

320

50

800

120

4 400

1 351

Indonesia

3 657

1 250

4 544

1 429

3 954

1 160

United States

4 190

8 429

1 968

594

1 927

860

Taiwan

2 272

841

2 179

793

2 296

795

Mexico

3 517

898

2 399

648

2 064

711

United Arab Emirates

416

169

508

218

1 428

686

Malaysia

3 542

1 315

2 970

975

1 748

630

Venezuela

1 200

424

2 012

667

1 816

623

Sri Lanka

1 936

988

1 860

930

918

473

China

1 231

285

2 774

469

2 244

383

Senegal

970

393

740

300

914

370

Turkey

1 356

341

510

131

880

250

Philippines

852

498

452

194

400

151

Angola

564

240

252

107

342

146

Nigeria

-

-

-

-

270

127

Algeria

940

442

410

193

270

127

El Salvador

614

320

240

125

232

121

Vietnam

370

105

320

97

380

114

Pakistan

200

59

625

300

356

113

Ecuador

98

44

140

61

262

111

Peru

100

38

120

50

118

49

Jamaica

-

-

-

-

120

47

Morocco

136

41

108

40

112

43

Cuba

200

101

60

30

76

38

Portugal

534

252

380

154

60

24

Germany

29

5

58

10

67

12

Brazil

46

17

283

104

52

8

Bolivia

120

21

200

35

40

7

Dominican Republic

75

12

25

4

25

4

Bangladesh

-

-

-

-

10

3

Japan

9 347

4 287

2 683

1 225

-

-

Egypt

110

47

-

-

-

-

Czech Republic

100

24

100

23

-

-

France

-

-

10

4

-

-

Kenya

-

-

20

5

-

-

Total

82 074

38 436

66 288

24 368

64 403

23 895

N/A

($000)

N/A

($000)

N/A

($000)