April 1-7 is Global Asbestos Awareness Week, bringing attention to an all-too-common hazard found in many buildings and within the workplace.

The naturally occurring fibrous material was regularly used in construction until the late 1990's. When products containing asbestos are disturbed, fibres are released into the air, which when inhaled, can become trapped in the lungs. Over time and exposure these fibres can cause serious health problems.

"Saskatchewan has taken many steps to ensure that workers are protected from the dangers of asbestos," Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don McMorris said. "The online Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings was created to ensure that information about the presence of asbestos is easily accessible. This is just one of many educational tools available to protect workers from asbestos-related harm."

The provincial government, Crown corporations, health regions and all facilities used as public schools are required by The Public Health Act, 1994 to provide and post information regarding the presence of asbestos within those facilities.

Saskatchewan is currently the only province which maintains a publicly available asbestos registry. 

New funding totaling $230,000 was allocated in the 2024-25 budget to replace the current asbestos registry, ensuring that workers are protected when doing renovations or repairs to public buildings that are known to contain asbestos.

Over 3,000 products were manufactured with asbestos before the late 1990's due to the materials ubiquitousness it is advised to have materials which are suspected to contain asbestos tested.  

Learn more about the dangers of asbestos in the workplace, including information about understanding, identifying and handling asbestos. Visit: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/asbestos and WorkSafe Saskatchewan https://www.worksafesask.ca/asbestos/.