With the federal government committing to ban asbestos by 2018, the Saskatchewan NDP is renewing its call for the Sask. Party to get to work addressing the issues faced by the 500 Saskatchewan schools that are on the asbestos registry, starting with those with crumbling infrastructure.
“Throughout Saskatchewan, there are schools with serious infrastructure issues,” said Education Critic Carla Beck. “When left undisturbed, asbestos in our buildings is not a big deal but, coupled with failing infrastructure such as crumbling roofs and leaky pipes, the possibility of danger becomes a reality.”
Government reports show that nearly 75 per cent of school roofs can fail in the next five years, and $1.5B is needed to address infrastructure needs in schools.
“Having a safe and healthy environment for our kids and their teachers is obviously the very least that can be expected,” Beck said. “But the Sask. Party has sat idly by while the infrastructure issues have mounted and they’ve taken no meaningful action on the asbestos registry since it was established.”
Jesse Todd, the chair of the Saskatchewan Asbestos Awareness Organization, knows firsthand the dangers of asbestos and feels the provincial government needs to make this issue a priority.
“We can no longer ignore the health risks that are associated with asbestos exposure and the mere fact that there are schools with asbestos in Saskatchewan that are currently sitting in a state of disrepair is disturbing to say the least,” Todd said.