Cape Breton housing worker fined for not warning tenants about asbestos

The federal government may still support asbestos exportation but at least some provincial Canadian governments seem to understand the threat it poses and how important asbestos remediation and removal are.

The Nova Scotia government has fined James Della Valle, an employee with the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority, $1,000 for failing to warn tenants about asbestos present in the Whitney Pier apartments.

Della Valle was the health and safety co-ordinator for the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority in 2005. At the time a worker found what looked like asbestos in some ceiling insulation in a Sydney housing unit. Della Valle took the sample for testing and the suspicion was confirmed: the material was asbestos.

The problem wasn’t that Della Valle took no action: he did tell two maintenance supervisors that asbestos removal had to happen. The problem is that he didn’t inform the building’s tenants, nor did he tell the head of the housing authority.

The Tenants and housing authority head, Joan McKeough, didn’t find out about the asbestos until six months later, when an outside asbestos removal company reached out to provincial environmental officials with the news. The good news is that the housing authority took action after that and removed asbestos from as many as 80 units.

The bad news – and the lesson we can learn from Della Valle’s story – is that six months is far too long to live with asbestos. We’ve explained on the GreenStream Environmental blog before that asbestos fibres can start damaging your cells in your lungs and surrounding tissues within days, not months. The tenants living with the asbestos deserved to know about it right away.

Kudos to the Nova Scotia government. It clearly recognizes how crucial it is for asbestos to be dealt with immediately and for anyone living with it to be properly informed.

Should you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – at (416) 818-9414.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.

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