Asbestos-linked Cancer on the Rise in Canada

According to, recently updated figures from Statistics Canada show the number of cases and deaths from mesothelioma have continued to rise and show no signs of abating. There have been thousands of cases and deaths related to occupational asbestos exposure in Canada, the world’s largest producer and exporter of chrysotile asbestos during the last century.

In 2012, there were 560 new cases of mesothelioma, up from 276 cases recorded in 1992, the Statscan website shows. Between 2000 and 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available, deaths from the asbestos-related malignancy jumped 60 percent – to 467 from 292.

Some of the highest case counts of mesothelioma have occurred in Quebec, where the largest and longest-operating asbestos mines in Canada were located. The last of them, in Thetford Mines, Que., closed in 2011 after the then-Parti Quebecois government refused to guarantee a loan that would have kept it operating.

It wasn’t just workers who breathed in asbestos while on the job: women who washed their husbands’ contaminated clothes and children who hugged their fathers on their arrival home from work were also at risk – and many got sick, sometimes decades later.

From 1980 to 2002, there were 1,487 men diagnosed with mesothelioma in Ontario, but the figure is considered an underestimation because the disease was often mistaken as lung cancer by doctors unfamiliar with its clinical hallmarks. Of those cases, less than half registered for compensation with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, often because victims and their families were so devastated by the diagnosis, and death occurred within months.

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-induced cancers and diseases have already cost the county’s health-care system hundreds of millions of dollars and the financial toll will continue to mount as more cases arise.

In the USA and around the world, asbestos exposure has been shown to cause malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and a variety of other cancers. If you or a friend has been diagnosed with asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma, please call us at 1(800)995-6991 for a free consultation.