A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owners of the Holy Cross Centre in Calgary, alleging staff and residents were unknowingly exposed to asbestos.

According to a statement of claim filed in December, several buildings that are a part of the centre and renovated in 2002 contained large quantities of asbestos.

The lawsuit alleges the asbestos was not properly removed and staff and patients were not told about it.

"The basis of the claim is that a number of individuals, probably hundreds, would have been exposed to asbestos and potentially are facing a health risk as a result of that exposure," said Clint Docken, the lead lawyer in the case.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral used for many industrial purposes, and can be found in ceilings, walls and pipes.

It becomes a health hazard when the asbestos fibres are inhaled and become lodged in the body, increasing the chance of developing diseases, such as mesothelioma, a deadly cancer of the lungs.

The Holy Cross Centre, a privately run complex that includes assisted-living units and medical offices, is owned by three Calgary doctors under the company name Enterprise Universal.

Company spokesman Stephen Carter said he has not seen the statement of claim, but said the allegations are baseless.

"We can't see a claim like that being successful in any way shape or form, especially regarding to discharge of asbestos," said Carter.

"There's no evidence whatsoever that there's been discharge of asbestos at the Holy Cross Centre."

The lawsuit, which is seeking an undetermined amount of damages, has yet to be certified by a judge.

Last March, more than 40 seniors were temporarily moved out of the Holy Cross Manor, run by Enterprise Universal, after it did not meet staff requirements and patient needs in a timely fashion in standards set out by the Calgary Health Region.

It was also cited for fire code violations, including concerns about fire alarms, sprinkler systems and back-up power provisions.